BICOM

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The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre or BICOM is a lobby and political action group for the benefit of Israel. The lobby group is bankrolled by its Chairman Poju Zabludowicz[1]. According to the Jewish Chronicle, it has been 'reinvigorated' under the leadership of Lorna Fitzsimons.[2] Its primary activity is to provide daily and weekly briefings on media coverage of Israel -- including MEMRI publications. BICOM plans to concentrate on long-term measures to cultivate relationships and influence decision-makers and media leaders in Europe. BICOM is associated with AIPAC and former Director Daniel Shek stated: "AIPAC is assisting BICOM with developing grassroots networks in Britain and with organizing pro-Israel events similar to AIPAC’s conference, but on a much smaller scale." Furthermore, "There is stronger motivation now than ever for communities to stand up for Israel and stand up for their own,” Shek said. "We want to invest today in things that will matter in five to 10 years."[3]

BICOM's chief executive, until July 2006, was Danny Shek, a high-level official of the Israeli foreign ministry on a two year leave of absence. He was previously the chief spokesman and director of the press division of Israel’s foreign ministry.[4] He left to become the Israeli ambassador to France.[5]

Conservative Friends of Israel/BICOM Links

According to Peter Oborne:

Despite the Conservative Friends of Israel and BICOM not formally merging there is a huge amount of co-ordination. Many of BICOM’s key figures also play roles in the CFI: Trevor Pears, Michael Lewis and Poju Zabludowicz are driving forces behind both lobbies. David Cameron also accepted £20,000 from Trevor Pears in his leadership election[6].

Principals

In 2006, Michael Lewis is reported to be depute Chairman. At the time Lewis was also Chairman of UJIA and is described as 'a South African emigré whose business interests run from retail and restaurants to biotechnology'[8].

Gerald Ronson (Community Security Trust chairman) was also on the Board in 2006, alongside Trevor Chinn (UJIA president), Lord Janner, Brian Kerner (former UJIA chairman), Isaac Kaye (who is described as 'a veteran supporter of Israel'), Jonathan Kestenbaum (former UJIA chief executive) and Henry Grunwald (Board of Deputies president)[9].

Supporters of Bicom in 2006 included, Michael Sherwood - co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International (Sherwood took part in Bicom's 'fundraising mission' to Israel the previous year), Ron Beller and Jennifer Moses (husband and wife who also have previous links with Goldman Sachs), Richard Harrington (Conservative Friends of Israel chairman), Edward Atkin and Celia Atkin[11]. According to the report, 'Another name to watch is the vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism, Trevor Pears, whose family foundation has become a major funder of Jewish causes'.

Affiliations

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

Website: www.bicom.org.uk/news
Tel: +44 (0)20 7636 5500
Fax: +44 (0)20 7636 5600
Email: info AT bicom.org.uk

Resources

External Resources

References

  1. Peter Oborne & James Jones, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, 13-November-2009, Accessed 03-January-2009
  2. Trading places, Leader, Jewish Chronicle, 17 August 2007
  3. Denyse Tannenbaum, "European media is questioning Israel’s right to exist", European Jewish Press, 10 March 2006.
  4. European Jewish Press, BICOM chief to become next Israeli ambassador in Paris, European Jewish Press, 2-July-2006, Accessed 17-December-2009
  5. Main Headlines, Israeli Press Review of 30/6/06, European Jewish Congress, 30-June-2006, Accessed 17-December-2009
  6. Peter Oborne & James Jones, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, 13-November-2009, Accessed 03-January-2009
  7. Frazer, J. (2006) His mission: to sell Israel’s story to the UK The Jewish Chronicle. 23rd June 2006. Accessed 2nd July 2008
  8. Rocker, S. (2006) 'Bicom: the rich and powerful'. The Jewish Chronicle. 22nd June 2006
  9. Rocker, S. (2006) 'Bicom: the rich and powerful'. The Jewish Chronicle. 22nd June 2006
  10. The Jewish Chronicle JC Power 100: Sacks stays on top, as new names emerge. 9th May 2008. Accessed 16th August 2008
  11. Rocker, S. (2006) 'Bicom: the rich and powerful'. The Jewish Chronicle. 22nd June 2006
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