Media Centre

BICOM: Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre
Media team: +44 (0)20 3745 3348

The BICOM media team – what we can do for you

The BICOM media team works closely with journalists to provide a range of services. These include:

  • Arranging interviews with Israeli politicians, former and serving diplomats, academics and analysts at leading think-tanks.
  • Suggesting experts for media interviews or background briefings for articles on a wide range of subjects related to Israel and the Middle East.
  • Suggesting potential op-ed writers.
  • Providing the latest polling data from Israel and the Palestinian Authority
  • Organising media delegations to Israel both for those who have never visited Israel, and for those who are already experts on the region.
  • Hosting conferences, seminars and briefings in the UK with Israel and Middle East experts.
  • Offering briefings, analysis and background information on issues relating to Israel and the Middle East in the news agenda. This includes providing weekly analysis emails, a daily press review and bespoke briefings from BICOM’s Research Team.

For enquiries, please contact:

For out of hours enquiries, please call the media team on 07879 644 099 or email mediateam@bicom.org.uk.

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12 July 2016

 

BICOM PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release

Ten years ago, Israel fought the terrorist group Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War. A new strategic assessment from Israel and the Middle East think tank BICOM outlines that, a decade on, Hezbollah is continuing to rearm and another war with Hezbollah is the biggest military threat to Israel.

Key points of the report:

  • On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, a future war with Hezbollah is considered the most threatening scenario for the IDF due to the organisation’s significant military capability.
  • In light of the failure of an ‘enhanced’ UN force to prevent Hezbollah rearming, Israel is sceptical of relying on international forces to defend its borders, a policy that has consequences for the security component of negotiations over the establishment of a Palestinian state.
  • The IDF’s new security doctrine reflects a focus on non-state actors and asymmetric warfare, and establishes new military and strategic approaches as well as redefined standards of what victory means.
  • Israel’s political leadership has failed to fully implement recommendations for improving the national security decision-making

ENDS

Contact

Charlotte Henry
Senior Press Officer
020 3745 3348
charlotteh@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors:

BICOM Strategic Assessment: The Second Lebanon War can be downloaded here.

BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an independent British think tank producing research and analysis to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

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04 July 2016

BICOM statement on Tzipi Livni incident

James Sorene, BICOM CEO, said:

“This incident reveals an urgent need to clarify the muddle that is Universal Jurisdiction laws. These powers should be deployed properly and precisely to bring war criminals to justice, they must never be misused as show tactics for political campaigners and brought into disrepute.

“The Metropolitan Police need to explain why they departed from established protocol. The Home Office and the FCO should now work together on new guidance to police to ensure that the correct procedures are followed and this kind of incident is avoided in future.’

ENDS

Contact

Thais Portilho, Head of Communications
020 3745 3348
07879 644099
thaisp@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors

BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an independent British think tank producing research and analysis to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK

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30 June 2016

BICOM responds to the Chakrabarti Inquiry

Responding to the release of Shami Chakrabarti’s report into antisemitism in the Labour Party, BICOM CEO James Sorene said:

“We regret that the inquiry has failed to recognise the dangerous, systematic demonisation of Israel by those Labour Party members who cross the line into antisemitism and attempt to disguise it as anti-Zionism. There are sadly no recommendations for new measures to allow them to be removed as members and the inquiry effectively offers an amnesty, which it calls a moratorium, to those who have used antisemitic language in the past.

“The report is vague and indecisive on action against members who indulge in antisemitic anti-Zionism, and dismisses a culture of systematic demonisation of Israel as a ‘series of unhappy incidents’.

“If you portray the existence of Israel as a crime and indulge dangerous fantasies about the country no longer existing, that that is antisemitic and deeply offensive. There is a constructive debate in the UK about how to reach a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the UK of which we are part, and this is not it.

“Criticising the Government of Israel is of course entirely legitimate as it is for any Government. But when that criticism is expressed in violent language, directed at its people in racist terms or uses references to Hitler and Nazism, it is antisemitic and deeply offensive. As such we are encouraged that the inquiry recommends references to Hitler and Nazism should be resisted in this context.

“We acknowledge recommendations that the use of antisemitic language by some Labour Party members towards Jews, namely the word ‘Zio’ is ugly and hurtful and hope that, as and when they are implemented, students supporting Zionism involved in Labour societies in universities across the country will feel emboldened to publicly express their views without being bullied or harassed.”

ENDS

Contact

Charlotte Henry
Senior Press Office
020 3745 3348
charlotte@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors:

BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an independent British think tank producing research and analysis to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

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29 June 2016

New agreement between Israel and Turkey set to improve conditions in the Gaza Strip

The newly signed agreement between Israel and Turkey marks a significant change in the role played by Turkey in the Gaza Strip, where they now plan to build a hospital, a power plant and desalination facility.

Middle East think tank BICOM has today published a strategic assessment of the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal, agreed today by Israel’s Security Cabinet, and the compromises made on both sides in order to come to an agreement. These compromises include Turkey withdrawing its demands related to access to Gaza and Israel agreeing to facilitate the delivery of Turkish aid to Gaza. Turkey also agreed to stop Hamas using the country as a base from which to plan and implement terror attacks on Israel.

Today’s deal signifies a reset in relations between Israel and a leading Sunni Muslim state after relations collapsed in the aftermath of the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, a ship that was part of the flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

The briefing also outlines that:

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the agreement as part of an Israeli strategy to “create centres of stability in the stormy Middle East”
  • The two countries will resume military and intelligence cooperation
  • Turkey has ended its veto which prevented Israel upgrading its ties with NATO, with Israel having opened a permanent mission at its Brussels headquarters at the end of May
  • Building on already strong tourism ties, and the doubling of trade between the two countries from 2010 to 2015, the deal will give Turkey the opportunity to diversify its energy supply after the announcement of a gas pipeline to Israel

BICOM CEO, James Sorene, said: “Today’s deal is a hugely significant diplomatic breakthrough for both the Israeli and Turkish Government. Closer relations now mean progress can be made on many issues. It opens the door to a deeper Israeli engagement with NATO and provides a route for Israel and Hamas to deescalate tensions in times of crisis. Turkey’s commitment to provide more aid to Gaza will also provide welcome assistance to an area long neglected by the region and the international community.”

ENDS

Contact

Charlotte Henry
Senior Press Office
020 3745 3348
charlotte@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors:

BICOM Strategic Assessment: Israeli-Turkish Reconciliation can be downloaded here.

BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an independent British think tank producing research and analysis to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

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28 April 2016

BICOM’s statement on antisemitic anti-Zionism in the Labour Party

James Sorene, BICOM CEO said:

“Recent comments about Israel and Zionists by members of the Labour party, and the way some have defended them, show a fundamental misunderstanding of what Zionism is. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. It is a movement driven by a desire for the Jewish people to live in an independent state, to shape their own destiny free from centuries of horrific persecution.

“Anti-Zionists deny the Jewish people their right to national self-determination, seek to portray the very existence of Israel as a crime and indulge dangerous fantasies about the country no longer existing. Criticism of the Israeli government is of course entirely legitimate, as it is against any government. But when that criticism is expressed in violent language, directed at its people in racist terms or uses references to Hitler and Nazism, it is antisemitic and deeply offensive. If the only country in the world that you want to disappear is the Jewish one then you are in very bad company, on the wrong side of history.”

ENDS

For further information and interview requests please contact:

Charlotte Henry, Senior Press Officer
T: 0207 636 5500
M: 07796043925
Out of hours: 07879 644099
charlotteh@bicom.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

BICOM is an independent British research centre producing analysis, insight and commentary to promote a greater understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

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6 April 2016

Hezbollah using Syrian conflict to prepare for war against Israel, according to new BICOM research

According to the paper Hezbollah in 2016: damaged goods or dangerous war machine? published today, Lebanese armed, radical militia Hezbollah is already in possession of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles, many of which are hidden amongst the civilian population of South Lebanon.

The research shows Hezbollah continues to take advantage of the civil war in Syria, a key conduit for arms from Iran, in an attempt to improve its military capacity for a future conflict with Israel.

The radical group entered the Syrian civil war with the aim of maintaining Assad’s regime and creating a “state within a state in Syria” as an insurance policy to protect Iranian interests, in case the regime were to fall. Hezbollah fighters were also directly involved in combat operations in key battlefields, as well as the siege of Madaya, where a reported 40,000 Syrians have been struggling for food.

While Hezbollah is looking to avoid an all-out conflict with Israel for now, it already has a sophisticated military capability that poses serious policy problems for the country it describes as a “cancerous Zionist enemy”. It has recently threatened to strike cities and strategic sites throughout Israel, including an ammonia factory in Haifa, offshore gas fields, and Ben Gurion Airport.

James Sorene, BICOM CEO, said: “Hezbollah have been patiently growing their military capability with the purpose of intimidating and threatening Israel, the country it wants to see removed from the map. It continues to try and establish military infrastructure on the Golan and to improve its already significant rocket arsenal, a strategy that the current Syrian ceasefire is unlikely to alter. An all-out Israel-Hezbollah conflict, although unlikely for the time being, would have devastating consequences for Israel and Lebanon.”

Other key points:

  • In March 2016, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) formally categorised Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, describing it as a “militia” and arguing that “Hezbollah’s incitement and terrorist acts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq are contrary to morality and human values”.
  • Hezbollah’s military wing was designated as a terrorist group by the UK in 2008, and by the European Union in 2013.
  • Hezbollah decision to become heavily involved in the Syrian civil war alongside the Assad regime has further polarised an already fractured domestic political arena in Lebanon, as well as generated retaliatory attacks against Hezbollah from within the country.
  • A future war between Israel and Hezbollah would likely be devastating. Thousands of Hezbollah missiles have a range and accuracy to strike cities and strategic sites throughout Israel.
  • In February 2016, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel’s ammonia factory in Haifa, warning that the damage caused would be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

ENDS

CONTACT

Charlotte Henry, Senior Press Officer
T: 0207 636 5500
M: 07796043925
Out of hours: 07879 644099
charlotteh@bicom.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

Hezbollah in 2016: damaged goods or dangerous war machine? can be downloaded here http://www.bicom.org.uk/analysis-article/29101/

BICOM is an independent British research centre producing analysis, insight and commentary to promote a greater understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

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24 March 2016

BICOM’s statement in response to the incident in Hebron earlier today

“The alleged shooting of an injured terror suspect in Hebron by an Israel Defence Forces soldier, as seen in a video recorded at the scene, is unacceptable and falls dramatically short of the high standards expected from and routinely displayed by the Israel Defence Forces. It is fitting that all soldiers at the scene are currently being investigated by the Military Police, the Chief of Staff has ordered a thorough investigation, and the Minister of Defence and Prime Minister have swiftly condemned the incident in the strongest terms.

“This incident, coupled with the relentless terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, police and soldiers since October last year, only serves to highlight the need for all parties to work together to de-escalate tensions and start a fresh dialogue that will hopefully lead to the peaceful establishment of two states for two peoples.”

ENDS

CONTACT

Thais Portilho, Head of Communications
T: 020 7636 5500
M: 07879644099
thaisp@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors:

BICOM is an independent British research centre producing analysis, insight and commentary to promote a greater understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.

 

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15 March 2016

Statement in response to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria

James Sorene, BICOM CEO, said:

“This is an unexpected move that shakes up an already dangerous and complex situation but weakens the Assad regime, which was reliant on Russian air superiority.  It is an indication that Russia believes that gains so far can be now locked in for the foreseeable future and that the regime will survive.

“Russia’s departure will strengthen Iran’s grip on Syria and Lebanon, which is of great concern for the wider region. Israel had developed a functional relationship with Russia during its military involvement in Syria and Russia represented a ‘moderating’ influence on Iranian-Hezbollah ambitions. Russia’s withdrawal will create a vacuum that may be filled by Iranian or Hezbollah troops, strengthening their foothold in the country. It will likely allow the Iranian led axis to transfer sophisticated game-changing weapons to Hezbollah and establish an operational foothold on the Golan – both red lines for Israel.

“There were concerns from Israel that Hezbollah’s proximity to Russian military forces would ultimately enhance the group’s development of a more offensive-minded strategy, with significant implications for the planning and conduct of any future conflicts against Israel. Russia’s withdrawal seems to have diminished this threat and will also likely grant Israel greater military freedom of action to protect its interests in Syria.”

CONTACT
Charlotte Henry, Senior Press Officer

T: 020 7636 5500
M: 07796043925
charlotteh@bicom.org.uk

Notes to editors:

BICOM is an independent British research centre producing analysis, insight and commentary to promote a greater understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK.