Advocacy in Australia

‘StandWithUs comes to Australia

'We will complement, not duplicate, existing work'

Australian students at a StandWithUs workshop in Israel.
 Photo: Courtesy StandWithUs Australia
Australian students at a StandWithUs workshop in Israel. Photo: Courtesy StandWithUs Australia

INTERNATIONAL advocacy organisation StandWithUs will make all its resources available to the Australian community when it commences local operations, its Israel executive director Michael Dickson says.

The organisation – which provides education about Israel, challenges misinformation and fights antisemitism, and was involved with organising letters of support for the Sydney Festival board in January amidst the boycott – announced last month that it intends to set up an Australian office.

“We are excited to be investing in this new operation in Australia,” CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein said. “Our work will involve both the Jewish and non-Jewish community as well as allies in the Indigenous community who understand the importance of the indigeneity of Israel to the Jewish story – and this will also be a key focus for our educational efforts.”

Dickson said, “We are making the full resources of our organisation available to our partners, to young people and to the community at large in Australia, including educational curricula, research, fact sheets and booklets, best practices, our vast social media presence, Holocaust Education department and Centre for Combating Antisemitism.

“I am thrilled we will be able to complement, not duplicate, existing work in order to collectively grow in effectiveness through partnerships.”

Long-time former Zionist Council of NSW president Richard Balkin said, “I have long admired the inspirational work of StandWithUs and I am sure that bringing all that the organisation offers closer to the Australian community will be of great benefit.”

Liora Hayman, from Sydney, said StandWithUs gave her the confidence to advocate for Israel when at university.

“Now, as a Jewish educator, I use the StandWithUs materials to inform my teaching,” she said.

The organisation has been running programs for Australian students and partnering in various ways with local organisations for over a decade and has run presentations for schools and school trips to Israel from both Melbourne and Sydney. Many Australians have visited the StandWithUs Israel Education Centre in Jerusalem to participate in workshops.

Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, recalled meeting students in Israel at StandWithUs programs.

“I hugely value their efforts to educate people about the facts, especially when there is so much misinformation out there,” he said.

“Their growth on the ground in Australia is an exciting opportunity to open the eyes of many about the history, diversity and culture of the wonderful country to which I was proud to represent Australia.”

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