For the second year, JPPI has undertaken a structured dialogue with Diaspora communities. In 2014, at the request of the then Minister of Justice, JPPI convened consultations in 43 communities throughout North America and in other countries on the subject of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. In 2015, a similar effort was undertaken to consider questions of Jewish ethics in armed conflict. Following Operation Protective Edge, and in light of growing concern about gaps between Israeli and Diaspora Jews, JPPI conducted a structured dialogue process with more than 40 Jewish communities around the world. These discussions, within the broader framework of our Pluralism and Democracy project, delivered a number of important insights about how world Jewry understands Israel’s security policies, and how Diaspora Jews characterize its impact on their lives and on their relationship with Israel.
World Jewry understands and affirms Israel’s need to use force in asymmetric wars, and the manner in which it applies such force. It is crucial that this perception be preserved, through the meticulous maintenance of proper conduct in war (independent of Diaspora Jewry’s position(s)); and through upgraded public diplomacy (hasbara) for the Jewish communities, including exposure to dilemmas in the use of force and an ongoing discussion on these issues within the framework of Jewish reflection.
The faith of many Jews around the world that Israel is interested in peace with its neighbors has eroded, and affects their acceptance of Israel’s need to use force when necessary. Israel should invest a significant effort in convincing Diaspora Jews of its intent to find a peaceful and agreed-upon solution to the conflict.
Diaspora Jews fear that Israel does not take their positions well enough into account when it makes decisions that have the potential to affect them. In this regard, we recommend dedicating separate and focused examination of the effects of Israel’s use of force on the relationship between Diaspora Jews and the non-Jewish world. This is especially relevant where Jews are most integrated in their societies and unique problems arise in connection to the need to explain Israel and its policies to non-Jews (especially to non-Jewish family members of Jews).