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a glimmer of good tidings for Israel from U.S. campuses

Guess What: 2013 Was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

There were many gloriously bright pro-Israel lights to celebrate on U.S. campuses in 2013.
Future Leaders of Israel is one of 2013's pro-Israel highlights on U.S. campuses

Future Leaders of Israel is one of 2013's pro-Israel highlights on U.S. campuses

Fingerhut sent a calm, but unequivocal response.

Hillel recognizes, of course, that ‘organizations, groups or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice’ violate these guidelines may well be welcomed on campus, according to the policies of the particular college or university. The Hillel on campus, however, may not partner with or host such groups or speakers. This is entirely within our discretion as an organization, and we have clearly stated our intention to make these important decisions to protect our values and our critically important mission. Just as the university decides who will teach classes, and what organizations it will allow on campus, so Hillel will decide who will lead discussions in programs it sponsors and with whom it will partner.

Wow. A Hillel head who sets limits regarding support for Israel, demands compliance with those limits and sticks to the limits he set. A miracle happened in 2013.

Joining Fingerhut on the 2013 hit parade is Fred Lawrence, the newpresident of Brandeis University. For years Brandeis has partnered with Al-Quds University, a Palestinian Arab school in eastern Jerusalem.

Brandeis was founded by Jews to counter the heavy quota restrictions on Jews in elite American universities in the late 1940′s. Yet recently it has reveled in holding hands with an Arab Muslim university, especially one with a president – Sari Nusseibeh – who is a well-known Arab intellectual with academic degrees from fancy American schools.  The fact that Al-Quds University also harbored terrorist supporters and officially glorified mass murderers of Jews and Americans had no impact on the Brandeis administration’s relationship with Al-Quds.

But two years ago Lawrence was installed as Brandeis’s president.  Lawrence, like his predecessor Yehuda Reinharz, is a distinguished academic.  But Lawrence responded in a way that surprised many Brandeis watchers when Al-Quds University was publicly outed as hosting a demonstration on its campus on Nov. 5 that glorified the murderers of civilians and supported terrorism against the Jewish state.

Lawrence requested an explanation from Nusseibeh for the Nov. 5 demonstration.  The response, which blamed “Jewish extremists” for inciting a campaign of vilification against Al-Quds, was in Lawrence’s words: “unacceptable and inflammatory.” Lawrence suspended – at least temporarily – the relationship between the two schools.  Within a few days, Lawrence also removed Nusseibeh from the board of advisers of the Brandeis Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

It wasn’t only new leadership of national Jewish organizations or universities that exhibited pro-Israel leadership in 2013.

In fact, one bright star on the American pro-Israel campus scene is not even Jewish.

4. Before entering the University of New Orleans, Chloé Simone Valdary read the book, Exodus.  The book moved Chloé to do extensive research into the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and the treatment of Jews and Israel.  What she learned remained with her. As a sophomore, Valdary founded UNO’s Allies for Israel and their kickoff event, with Daniel Pipes as their keynote speaker, was held January 28, 2013.  Chloé has become something of an international sensation since first hitting the spotlight earlier this year.  She’s already been to Israel several times, attended an AICPAC conference, been lauded by several pro-Israel organizations, and has published opinion pieces in multiple pro-Israel media outlets.  Go Chloé!

5. One of the organizations on campus that helped Chloé found and run UNO’s Allies for Israel is the CAMERA Campus Activist Project. CCAP has been instrumental in working with several of this past year’s pro-Israel campus activists.  CCAP’s mission is to help students create pro-Israel student organizations on college campuses across the country, and enables them to present speakers and host pro-Israel events, as well as to organize in response to anti-Israel activities on their campuses.

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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2 Responses to “Guess What: 2013 Was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!”

  1. Great article highlighting amazing young adults fighting for the truth and for Jews worldwide. I have seen FLI in action and this group is right on target, energized and has it's pulse on what works with college students and Israel advocacy. Congratulations and thank you, to all who stand up for Israel.

  2. Raphael Fils says:

    Uh oh… You missed a big one! Campuses For Israel! A new student run organization that provides an online social network for pro-Israel clubs on college campuses. Over 40 campuses have signed on with more signing on for the spring semester!

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