6. CCAP brought Lt.Col. (Res.) Anat Berko to speak at the University of Florida, Gainesville this past October. Berko was slated to present important information about her years-long research based on direct interviews with Palestinian Arab women and children who had been involved in with suicide terrorism in Israel. Berko is the author of several books about suicide bombers, the most recent of which is The Smarter Bomb. When Berko was interrupted by activists chanting “Israel is the real problem, not Hamas” from Students for Justice in Palestine – a gimmick long endured by so many Israeli and pro-Israel presenters on campus – everyone was surprised by Berko’s response.
First, Berko told the students to sit down and listen to her, that they could raise any questions they wanted during the question and answer session. When the protesters would not stop interrupting, Berko launched into an animated lecture on why the protesters should be in Syria, protesting the gassing murders of babies by the Syrian regime, if human rights is their concern. The protesters actually shut up, and left the room. With that, Berko continued her lecture on the motivations for women and children (that’s the “smarter bomb” Berko means) to want to kill themselves. The audience was finally able to hear Berko’s hand observations and watch video clips of many who attempted to be smart bombs.
7. Another on-campus pro-Israel group which got its sea legs from CCAP is Future Leaders of Israel. This group started out as the brainchild of a few pro-Israel students in Florida. They realized there was a dearth of student-driven pro-Israel organizations and decided to create one, initially called Florida Loves Israel. The two pro-Israel conferences FLI held in Florida for in-state students was so popular and because requests came in from schools outside of Florida asking to be included in their next conference, the student organizers, Ron Krudo and Daniel Ackerman, realized they were sitting on something bigger than just Florida. The organization’s name was changed to more accurately reflect the nationwide distribution of pro-Israel student leadership across the U.S.
FLI will hold two conferences this March, one at Florida Atlantic University, and the other, FLI’s first conference outside of Florida, at the University of Pittsburgh. FLI’s approach to pro-Israel campus activism is unique. An in-depth article about FLI will appear in The Jewish Press before those conferences.
There are five more pro-Israel highlights from 2013. They will be described in the second in this series of articles in The Jewish Press.
The next part in this series will include: legal action undertaken by pro-Israel students who were wronged by official action and a flawed investigation by a university; a faculty-led effort to fight anti-Semitism on California campuses; a successful campaign to name, shame and remove virulent anti-Israel activity by faculty and other campus leadership; the efforts of a faculty member to protect pro-Israel students from malevolent protests on campus; and another new student-led organization to combat anti-Israel misinformation on campus.