Samantha advises students to focus on “Israel being committed to the peace process and the democratic values that it stands for.” A simple message is often the most effective, “framed in the context, conveyed calmly and articulately,” in a way that makes it hard to paint the speaker as anything but a calm, rational and educated person.
Another vital lesson Samantha learned is that you can’t win them all. “I learned early on that you’re not going to change anyone in SJPs minds, and you’re not going to impact the minds of the unaffiliated campus community by looking extreme and intolerant. It was important to educate and explain and make sure that accurate information was being given,” in order to make sure resources are spent wisely.
Successful organization is vital. “We also had an ongoing campaign that we called Operation Blizzard, in which we distributed information about Israel in every classroom on campus, going to them at night and in the mornings to put info cards on every desk and wrote facts about Israel on the blackboards with the hope of infusing the campus with pro-Israel messages.” There are many organizations like Standwithus, CAMERA and David Project who have these ideas broken down into manageable steps, and are but an e-mail away.
Samantha’s final message was so poignant, I felt I should reproduce it full. “Be strong and confident in your beliefs. Know that even though you may face controversy or be met with opposing points of view in direct contradiction to what you know to be true that your work is important. You standing up gives a voice to the entire pro-Israel community, and the Jewish community, including those who may not be comfortable being an outspoken voice for Israel on campus. Utilize all of the resources available to you-teachers, campus allies, Hillel, national pro-Israel organizations, etc. There are a lot of people out there who want to help you succeed in representing Israel on campus.”
Not to be cliché, but you go, girl!Elke Weiss
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