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January 25, 2015 / 5 Shevat, 5775
 
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Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus

The students gathered at Tulane University proudly declared they are Zionists, and that Zionism is the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.
Declare Your Freedom poster for Tulane Univ. pro-Israel event, March 30, 2014

Declare Your Freedom poster for Tulane Univ. pro-Israel event, March 30, 2014
Photo Credit: Lauren Clarice Cross

With the help of many friends, on Sunday, March 30, that African American Christian Zionist college student the pro-Israel world has been marveling over for more than a year, Chloé Simone Valdary, pulled off another huge student-led pro-Israel event in New Orleans.

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Chloé Simone Valdary, pres. and founder of Allies of Israel and creator of Declare Your Freedom

Declare Your Freedom 2.0 was held at Tulane University, with over 400 in attendance. Last year, Valdary organized the first DYF, and held it at her school, the University of New Orleans.

The purpose of DYF, Valdary told The Jewish Press, was “to continue to say without compunction or regret that we are Zionists, and also to celebrate Zionism – the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”

Valdary is a dynamo, but she also had lots of help from fellow Zionists Maor Shapira, Becca Leifer and Nicki Etseckson, all three of whom are students at Tulane.

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

Simon Deng, human rights activist, former child slave in the Sudan, at DYF 2.0

The four Zionist college students put together a program which included speakers such as Brooke Goldstein, director of The Lawfare Project; Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng; Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian American, founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy  and CAMERA on campus’s Samantha Rose Mandeles and Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society.

The day-long event interspersed music and serious speakers. The music included a beautiful jazz rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah performed by Assaf Kehati. Other performers were Los Rakas, Pep Love, Zion I, Shi 360 and the Ori Naftaly Band.

As a victim of the true horrors of genocide in his native Sudan where he was a child slave, Deng spoke powerfully about the grotesque irony of people who claim to be human rights activists and focus their ire on Israel, yet completely ignore real genocide in places like the Sudan.

Jasser spoke about the need for reform in the Muslim world, while Mendoza also addressed the hypocrisy of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine who pay not attention to the complete deprivation of civil and human rights for so many in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

Zach Stern of ZOA and Samantha Rose Mandeles of CAMERA at DYF 2.0

 

CAMERA on Campus coordinator Samantha Rose Mandeles talked about the great work CAMERA does with pro-Israel students on campuses all across the country. In particular, Mandeles was full of praise for the DYF festival in carrying on the torch for freedom.

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

DYF 2.0 March 30, 2014

The student organizations which helped make DYF 2.0 happen were Allies of Israel (Valdary’s group), Tulane United for Israel and McNeese State’s Israel Alliance.

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Declare Your Freedom 2.0, Tulane University, March 30, 2014

Sponsors of Declare Your Freedom 2.0 included CAMERA, the Zionist Organization of America, Standwithus, The Israel-American Council and the Leadership Institute.

The murals were created by Artists 4 Israel.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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13 Responses to “Pro-Israel Event on New Orleans Campus”

  1. Sam Cohen says:

    bravo to the organizers of the pro Israel event .would like to see some of the other universities showing support for Israel and show some jewish pride. am chai yisrael.

  2. Bravo to The Jewish Press for publishing this fine piece of reporting by Lori Lowenthal Marcus about African American Christian college students speaking truth to power, standing with Israel, teaching a lesson about human dignity, freedom, and civil rights for Jews — incredibly, all of this played out on an American college campus. These voices, such as that of Simon Deng who was enslaved as a child in the Sudan, don't just talk the talk — they are spoken by those who walked the walk and, thank God, survived the journey.

  3. Wonderful, Chloe. G-d bless you and your organization.

  4. Red Coat says:

    Israel an Oasis in a land devoid of humanity!

  5. Lani Lowell says:

    Thanks for highlighting DYF 2.0 as the festival for celebrating Jewish Civil Rights on campuses!So proud of Chloe for her innovation and determination, and also many thanks for the stellar speakers and musical groups who came to celebrate our renewal in the USA

  6. Chloe you r a Star well done lol

  7. Anonymous says:

    as someone who grew up in New Orleans, I am elated to see my hometown supporting Israel. I even attended Tulane.

  8. Millie Kashuk says:

    How amazing the event of Jewish Civil Rights at Tulane are…..May they all be BLESSED for their genuine interest in helping Israel.

  9. Dawn Yonah says:

    I've been waiting for young Jews to start a "Liberation" movement, and here we have a Christian black student!! YASHER KOACH and may she inspire many, many others to DECLARE OUR FREEDOM.

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