last updated: May 1, 2013
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Mission (as of 2010)
“The ultimate goal of Jerusalem Summit is to create an alliance of all individuals and organizations from different nations and faiths who realize the grave danger our democratic civilization faces from the new Totalitarianism, represented by radical Islam, and the moral relativism which erodes our resolve to fight and destroy these evil forces.”
The Jerusalem Summit is an Israel-based advocacy outfit that has brought together Evangelical Christians, neoconservatives, and hardline pro-Israel figures from across the globe in an effort to shape the debate over the status of Palestine, radical Islam, and what its members view as the "relativism" of the West. “The ultimate goal of Jerusalem Summit,” according to a statement on the group’s website, “is to create an alliance of all individuals and organizations from different nations and faiths who realize the grave danger our democratic civilization faces from the new Totalitarianism, represented by radical Islam, and the moral relativism which erodes our resolve to fight and destroy these evil forces.” It adds, “We believe that the center of such an alliance has to be in Jerusalem. Not for nothing these forces of Evil chose Israel as the focus of their attack: here lies the front line of that new battle. If Jerusalem falls, so shall the entire free world.”
As of 2013, the group appeared to be largely dormant, with most of the materials available on its website several years old. The group’s Facebook page, however, was still active, with an administrator posting updates about Israel alongside shareable images mocking Palestinian statehood, promoting IDF talking points, and calling the “1.4 million Muslims living in Israel” an “obstacle to peace.”
According to its June/July 2007 newsletter—one of the last newsletters it issued—among the Summit's core agenda items is cultivating a strategic relationship with Evangelical Christians, a long-standing political strategy of U.S. neoconservatives. According to the newsletter, the Summit endeavors to cultivate "awareness of fact that the Evangelical Christian community is both a strategic ally and a strategic asset for Israel. This is a community which has not only demonstrated its staunch and unflinching support for the State of Israel and the People of Israel, but is also the only segment of humanity which has (a) the spiritual energy, (b) the numerical mass, and (c) the moral resolve to effectively confront the phenomenon of global Islamism."
Other "major strategic avenues," according to the newsletter, are "reframing the paradigm for the resolution of the Palestinian Issue in humanitarian rather than political terms" and "exposing and underscoring the heinous aspects of Gender and Creed Apartheid which characterize this radical [Islamic] theocratic doctrine."
Among the Jerusalem Summit's various agenda items, the status of Palestine gets top billing. Arguing that the desire for statehood among Palestinians is driven "less by the aspiration to establish a Palestinian state and more by the aspiration to dismantle a Jewish state," the Summit opines that "if the accepted version of the Palestinian narrative—i.e. a desire for Palestinian self-determination and the aspiration for Palestinian statehood—cannot be reconciled with the history of Palestinian behavior, this narrative also must be branded as devoid of any legitimacy." Declaring that the “establishment of a Palestinian State must removed from the international agenda," it concludes, “the de-legitimization of the Palestinian narrative becomes a vital prerequisite to any comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue."
Regarding the war on terror, the Summit reprints on its website a May 2007 analysis by Ted Belman, titled "America's Limited Options," that suggests a number of steps the United States must take to "win." These include nurturing "moderate Islam"; "imprisoning or deporting" anyone who advocates "political Islam"; abandoning "the idea of getting the [Iranian] regime to change and instead getting Iranians to change the regime"; and strengthening Israel, in part by abandoning efforts to establish a Palestinian state.
One of the Jerusalem Summit's core activities has been holding conferences in cities across the globe, during which members meet with mainly Christian support groups to discuss issues relevant to Israeli security. Since the group's founding in 2003, such summits have been held in London, Rome, Singapore, Cape Town, Jerusalem, Seoul, and Manila.
Like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Summit also awards a Henry "Scoop" Jackson Award, named after the Democratic senator from Washington State whose hawkish, pro-Israel politics drew a number of early neoconservative figures to his staff in the 1970s. Recipients of the award have included Richard Perle, who received the first-ever Jerusalem Summit Jackson Award in 2003, and Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords who received the award in 2004.
Leadership and Funding
The Summit’s international advisory board chairman is Gary Bauer, a prominent Christian Zionist in the United States and former presidential candidate. Its director is Dmitry Radyshevsky, a Moscow-born journalist.
The Summit claims to be supported by a "presidium” that includes former Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and neoconservative writer Daniel Pipes. Its advisory board includes such U.S.-based neoconservatives as Rachel Ehrenfeld, Hillel Fradkin, Meyrav Wurmser, Morris Amitay, and Dennis Prager, among many others.
In 2010, the Summit reported a little over $100,000 in revenues, including nearly $85,000 from “foreign grants.”
According to its website, the Summit is sponsored by the Michael Cherney Foundation and the National Unity Coalition for Israel. The Cherney Foundation is headed by Michael Cherney, a Russian industrialist who, according to the foundation, is one of Russia's "largest manufacturers and exporters of coal, copper, coke, and ferrous metals." The foundation views its "main overall objective as helping democratic nations in their war on terrorism as well as realization of the intellectual potential of the post-Soviet émigrés to Israel and their integration into the Israeli society."
The Unity Coalition for Israel is a U.S.-based group founded in 1991 by Esther Levens, a rightist pro-Israel activist who has served on the boards of a number of hardline and neoconservative policy and lobbying outfits, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Republican Jewish Coalition. According to its website, the Unity Coalition is "an alliance of Christian and Jewish organizations actively working together to generate support for the State of Israel. With more than 200 autonomous partners, representing more than 40 million Americans, we are the largest network of Pro-Israel groups in the world. Through this grassroots coalition, we deliver a much-needed message to the media and Congress."