Despite a wave of protest from anti-Zionist activists, the JNF-USA (Jewish National Fund USA) National Conference will take place as scheduled in Boston from November 4-6, 2022.
The conference aims to bring together over 1,300 leading philanthropists, high school/college students and prominent thought leaders within the Zionist space to spark a new conversation about the future of Zionism and Israel as a whole.
“The time to stand proudly as Zionists and Jews is now,” said National Conference Co-Chair Michael Blank. “Every day, more people register for our conference so they too can be part of our ‘positive protest’ for making the world a better place.”
Protests against the conference
In anticipation of the planned anti-Israel protests, National Conference Co-chair Risa Aronson confirmed that security would be tight around the venue. “We continue to work with relevant law enforcement agencies to minimize disruptions and naturally, we will not be engaging with the protestors,” she declared.
Aronson also pointed out that amid the protests – indicative of a cultural shift among American youth to sympathize with the Palestinian cause and demonize Zionism – the Jewish National Fund-USA’s positive message about Zionism has never been more relevant.
“These protesters spread hate and disinformation and, put candidly, seem to despise Jews. Earlier this year, subscribers to their movement started to ‘map’ the location of Jewish and Israeli institutions in Boston. Now, they will gather on Shabbat outside our conference to say that one Jewish State is one too many,” said Aronson.
“These protesters talk about hate and destruction, yet we talk about life, coexistence, and the future,” Blank added. “Jewish National Fund-USA proudly builds the Negev and Galilee for all its residents – Muslims, Jews, Christians, and everyone (else). We empower Israel to support farmers in developing nations in Africa and Asia – some that don’t even have relations with Israel, to become more sustainable and prosperous.”
“A positive future”
Featured speakers at this year’s National Conference include Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog, JNF-USA’s Chair Emeritus and WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, Israeli writer, speaker and activist Hen Mazzig and many other Zionist thought leaders.
The conference will also feature a musical performance by members of “Special in Uniform,” an organization that empowers young people with cognitive and physical disabilities to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
While the planned protests may seem like an unwanted distraction, Aronson and Blank remain positive. “People can decide whether they want to be part of building the future, and at Jewish National Fund-USA, we have made our choice clear. The best disinfectant for hate is sunlight, and make no mistake; our light will shine brighter than ever before as we build a positive future for the land and people of Israel.”