Ansprache von Laura Kam
Laura Kam ist Executive Director, Global Affairs von The Israel Project
Ansprache von Laura Kam
anlässlich des 2. Deutschen Israelkongress in Frankfurt am Main am 23. Oktober 2011
I come to you today from my home in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Israel.
It is so moving for me to be here today before this large gathering of Israel supporters. My mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all born here in Germany. That is why your support for Israel is for me, so personally heartwarming.
Your work—your passion—is vital for Israel. You are making a difference.
You heard that The Israel Project gets facts about Israel to the press, policymakers and the public. But there are so many facts, how do we choose what to focus on? The simple answer is that we do public opinion research. We do focus groups and massive amounts of polling here in Germany with Germany’s top research companies to learn what Germans know about Israel—and where there are critical gaps. We do this because we care about Germany and want you to continue to be one of our closest democratic allies today and in the future. We do this to make the connection between our countries and people even stronger and deeper.
What we’ve learned from this exhaustive research may surprise you. Because what you –friends who love Israel—might think works to make the German public support Israel and what ACTUALLY does work are two very, very different things.
Let me just give you two examples…and I want you to bear in mind I am not speaking about this audience who already cares deeply about the fate of Israel and the Jewish people. I am now talking about those Germans who don’t necessarily care about Israel because they don’t know yet know the right facts. After all, there are many facts about Israel but only some facts will resonate with people who have no special link to the country, particularly people under the age of 50.
Example number 1. If you were to try to win over someone living in Berlin or Munich, or Dortmund, where my family is from, to our side by emphasizing that Israel is the birthplace of their Christian religion and that Israel and the Jewish people are the caretakers of this amazing Christian legacy in the Holy Land, this would be a very effective way of convincing them, right? Wrong! According to our polling, and we have been researching these trends for years now, that kind of message is not going to resonate with uncommitted Germans. It is not what they are interested in when the subject of Israel comes up.
Example number 2. Most Israelis and Germans believe that we have a “special relationship” based on the past and we do. Many also believe that constantly reminding Germans of that “special relationship” serves only to deepen those relations. But according to our research it is not that people are not mindful of the past, it is that using it to force the relationship is a turnoff. The German people are far more concerned about what the relationship is and what the relationship can be. We need to base our relationship today on shared values and a shared future.
So… I’ve told you about what doesn’t work, but what does work? What…does…work?
What works can be summed up in one word… PEACE!
Talking about the honest and basic fact that Israelis yearn for peace is what increases goodwill of Germans towards Israel. Tell your neighbors you met me. I have three children and my oldest is in the army. Do you think I want him to fight? Of course not! I want peace between Israel and our neighbors. Do I want to “occupy” Palestinians? No, of course not. Like most Israelis, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, I want negotiations so there can be a Palestinian-state living side by side with us in peaceful, neighborly relations.
And yet, many Germans still believe that somehow we want to occupy the Palestinians. We don’t. And if Germans don’t believe that Israel wants peace they are going to write us off…period. So get the facts out there—we want peace and a Palestinian state through negotiations. We want a better future for all sides…for all our children.
Now, having said that–that peace, and the promotion of peaceful relations is almost the only message that matters…I want to add that there is one more thing that works and that thing is the following:
When speaking with Germans who are not sure what they think about Israel, what matters to them is not our “special relationship” or the past, it is about our mutually beneficial relationship moving forward. I am sure you know for example that Germany is Israel’s largest trading partner after the US providing Germans thousands of jobs? Do you also know that Israel is one of the largest suppliers of clean energy solutions including cutting-edge solar energy technology helping to keep Germans off of nuclear energy?
Today, as we were sitting here there was a major earthquake in Turkey. Despite all that has happened between Turkey and Israel diplomatically in the recent past, Israel has offered to send rescue teams to help. Let’s make sure millions of Germans know this information!
The Israel Project is very proud to have several Germans on our team. I want to take a moment to introduce one of them—Christoph Heil. Christoph please stand up so everyone can see you. Christoph is from a small town near Frankfurt. He is not Jewish and yet he moved to Israel to help Germany and Israel have closer relations. He is exceptionally talented—so talented that he now runs our all of our work throughout Europe. At this conference I hope you will meet him and that you will give us your business cards and e-mails so we could be in touch with you.
You are so important to Israel and I want you to see The Israel Project as your partner. We have a German website and on a regular basis we send out information on important and breaking events like the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel, the moving return of Gilad Shalit and German-Israel economic relations. The language of this website is German. All of it is free. Get us your contact information so we can get you involved.
Thank you for all you do for Israel, for Germany and to make the world a better place.
Bless you, and as we say in Hebrew, yeshar koach, may you go from strength to strength. Shalom!
Und hier das Video der Ansprache:
Laura Kam ist Executive Director,
Global Affairs von
The Israel Project
Laura Kam, Executive Director, Global Affairs
TIP’s Executive Director, Global Affairs, Laura Kam, works with top press, politicians, diplomats and think-tanks from across the globe. She and her team work in ten languages and in 53 countries. A dynamic speaker and innovator, Kam is an expert on Israel-related issues and threats facing the nation. As supervisor of TIP’s Iran, European and Hispanic projects, Laura managed the delivery of information to more than 76,000 journalists, 30,000 leaders and opinion-makers. Kam is leading TIP’s expansion into key nations of increasing importance to Israel including China, Russia and India.
Prior to joining TIP, Kam worked for the Anti-Defamation League for 17 years, including as co-director of the ADL’s Israel office, and was responsible for all areas of media relations for the League’s Jerusalem office. She was also responsible for organizing missions that brought key U.S. and state legislators, law enforcement officials, journalists and others to Israel.
Kam previously worked as a press officer at the Israeli Consulate in New York.
Kam has a B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, an M.A. in Social Work (Community Organization) from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work and has completed all course work towards a doctorate in Social Welfare Administration from the Hunter College School of Social Work.
The Israel Project is a non-profit educational organization that provides factual information about Israel and the Middle East to the press, policy makers and the public.