A group of event professionals has united to address the conflict and provide guidance to the events industry on what steps it should take.
The terrorist attacks that took place in Israel and the ongoing events in the region have had a global impact on Jewish communities, and this situation is also directly affecting our friends and colleagues in the event industry, both in Israel and around the world.
The response from event associations and bodies within the industry has been slow and limited and as we write this many have still not released statements. As the situation continues to develop and uncertainty remains, it has been reported by multiple sources that events in Israel have already been cancelled, including events not scheduled until 2024.
The impact is not limited to events in Israel. The situation has sparked demonstrations in cities worldwide, which may have consequences for your event and its attendees.
The events industry is about fostering connections, building a sense of community, promoting inclusion and understanding. Throughout its history, the industry has faced numerous crises, and in the past, event organisations have been slow to respond, often requiring pressure to issue statements. Many event professionals find it hard to comprehend the lack of support within the industry on the unfolding events in Israel.
This conflict is fundamentally different from other crises that the event industry has faced in the past, such as COVID pandemic. In this case, the focus is not on getting business or funding; it’s about coming together to support people who share a common identity and addressing the divisive impact of terrorism.
The number one message your event must communicate is how you prioritise the safety of your attendees.
This is about making people feel safe in the physical environment and creating a space where they can express their thoughts and feelings openly and without fear.
Your event is a place where people feel a sense of belonging and are part of your community, where they don’t feel alone.
Right now people are scared. They are scared of coming to your event city where rallies take place. The event industry must step up inclusivity and take care of each other. Send the message to your staff, colleagues, event attendees, that people who are affected by the situation can continue to be part of our industry. Tell them that they are safe in your environment.
If people are suppressed in your environment, they will come to believe this is the norm, and we must take action to prevent this from happening.
What to do if you need to postpone or cancel an event in Israel
Unfortunately it is inevitable that conferences scheduled in the near future in Israel will be postponed or cancelled.
It was shared that a medical conference in Israel in May 2024 was cancelled without prior talking with the local partners who were supporting its planning. Organisers didn’t even ask how the local partners are doing, they just cancelled by sending an email to their association members and that is how the local partners found out.
Such actions must not be repeated.
Before postponing or cancelling your event, reach out to your local partners, inquire about their well-being, and discuss with them the necessary steps for cancelling the event.
Event associations and bodies must be quick to respond in times of crisis
The major critique from events industry figures was that the industry was slow to respond to the unfolding situation in Israel. Associations must take proactive steps and not delay or hesitate in their actions.
To prevent this from happening in the future there must be industry-wide standards or code of conduct for all event industry associations, ensuring they respond within a specified time frame.
The events industry must have a unified message and know what to do when such events happen.
Event professionals who support this message are listed below, and if you would like to offer support and help in anyway please contact Dan Assor firstname.lastname@example.org or Irina Graf email@example.com
Dr. Joe Goldblatt