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Posts Tagged ‘Hasbara Fellowships’

Campus Activists Give Ahmadinejad an #UNwelcome Reception

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Israel advocates have made it clear that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations will not go unnoticed.

In response to Ahmadinejad’s presence at this week’s General Assembly meeting in New York, more than 15 campuses across the country have joined an awareness campaign sponsored by Hasbara Fellowships. The most prominent events are being planned by students at New York University, SUNY Albany, SUNY Binghamton, Emory University, the University of Texas and UC Berkeley and will be held through Monday, September 24.

The effort comprises three key features: tabling, social media and petitioning. Campus displays include #UNwelcome t-shirts and information about past Iranian actions as well as the current status of the country’s nuclear program. Pro-Israel representatives will be available to answer questions and engage with students. Hasbara Fellowships has provided talking points to student organizers addressing Ahmadinejad as a threat to America, Israel and world peace, and as a detriment to his own people.

According to Daniel Cohen, Midwest regional coordinator for Hasbara Fellowships, the target audience is comprised of “college students who don’t wake up and read the news every day. We want everyone to be informed about the threat that Iran poses to the world, and to care enough to do something about it.”

Caroline Mendelsohn, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, who serves as both a Hasbara Fellow and co-president of Texans for Israel, stressed that opposition to Iran’s policies is not strictly a Jewish issue or Israel issue, and noted that all organizations are invited to support the awareness campaign. “This includes Jewish organizations like Hillel, Chabad, AEPI and AEPhi, but also included many non-Jewish student organizations because, at the end of the day, this is not simply a Jewish issue or Israeli issue; it’s an American issue.

“In an election year, Iran is one bipartisan issue where both sides can come together and agree: A nuclear Iran is simply not an option,” Mendelsohn added.

Using a variety of social media platforms, the campaign expresses disapproval of Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York. Ahmadinejad Memes takes the meme phenomenon to a new level and uses it as an interactive portrayal of the Iranian president. Op-eds are being written for newspapers at more than 10 campuses to educate students about Ahmadinejad’s presence at the United Nations.

“Ahmadinejad is trending on social media right now,” said Hasbara Fellowships managing director Alan Levine. “We’re not trying to shut down his message; we are trying to expose his message.”

petition launched by Iran 180, with support from Hasbara Fellowships, will circulate online and on campus through Wednesday’s speech.

The organization launched its #UNwelcome initiative to coincide with the Iranian president’s arrival in New York on Monday using blunt messages such as, “New York to Ahmadinejad: You’re UNwelcome.”

Levine stressed the importance of petitions in engaging students and creating a positive dialogue about the issues. “The important thing about the campaign and this petition is that it allows students to engage their peers on campus,” he concluded.

Maya Kraidman, Israel Campus Beat

Summer of Endless Opportunities

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Summer break brings countless ways to become a more skilled advocate for Israel. Many organizations, including The David Project, StandWithUs, Hasbara Fellowships, the Israel on Campus Coalition and others offer students opportunities to learn how to strengthen their skills on campus. Offerings include digital media and social media awareness, trips to Israel and seminars in North America.

Hasbara Fellowships brings students to Israel on a three-week trip that provides them with the background, knowledge and tools to become campus advocates. Since 2001, 2,000 students from 250 campuses have participated in the program. The first groups of summer 2012 are leaving later this month, and applications are still being accepted.

Participants in the Hasbara trips become Hasbara Fellows who take an active role in planning Israel-related activity on campus. Current fellow Sam Strasser, from the University of Western Ontario, is featured in a Hasbara video saying, “Seeing firsthand the Jewish connection to the land was a really big motivating factor when I went back [to campus] because I knew that what I was standing up for was right.”

For those who want to stay closer to home, opportunities are available across the country.

The David Project offers a variety of workshops and training seminars over the summer including Israel On Demand and their Israel Video Advocacy Seminar. Each focuses on a different set of skills for campus advocates. Past Israel On Demand seminars have incorporated tips on using comedy as a means for heightened communication and listening skills as well as hearing from major journalist and policy makers.

AEPi, the Israel on Campus Coalition, the David Project, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jewish National Fund and Hasbara Fellowships are joining forces to offer Israel Amplified a unique seminar for students involved in Greek life. Between August 6 and 8, Greek students from across the country will gather in Arizona to network and learn how to build support for Israel on their campuses.

ICC’s MZ-Grinspoon Internship program kicks off with a training seminar in August that prepares students to take leadership roles on their campuses. Past interns have organized programs, mounted information campaigns, published campus Israel magazines and more.

While many summer programs already are full, there always are opportunities for students who want to learn more and do more on campus. Be sure to check with your campus Hillel, as well as CAMERA, the World Zionist Organization, and other groups to see what they have to offer.

Many more opportunities are available on the ICC website, including travel/study to Israel, programs, conferences, and jobs & internships are available to students and professionals.

Do you know of other summer training and travel opportunities? Are you participating in a workshop or skills-building session? Send us a note at comments@israelcampusbeat.org and we’ll check it out and spread the word!

Rachel Henderson, Israel Campus Beat

Disturbing, But Not Hopeless

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Misinformation and hate are spreading thick at American colleges. We’d like to think that it’s not the type of thing that’s happening on our very own campuses, but it’s certainly occurring.

Here are some recent highlights: At UC Irvine Malik Ali screamed, “You Jews y’all the new Nazis!” At UC San Diego an active member of the Muslim Student Association, at its annual Hitler Youth Week, publicly declared his unashamed support of a genocidal statement by Hizbullah’s leader. At Brooklyn College Norman Finkelstein was invited by the Palestinian Club, who organized an Israeli Apartheid Week for the first time ever last semester.

Remember, it seems to be in vogue in academic circles to be unjustifiably critical of Israel. If not Jewish students, who will respond to the professor who repeatedly trashes Israel while dismissing its struggles against terrorism – while shaping the opinion of impressionable future professionals and leaders? If not Jewish students, who will arrange counter-events when Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Union, Muslim Student Association, and the assorted Palestinian clubs stage their propaganda, influencing unsuspecting college students?

Engaged and vocal students comprise a mere 10 percent of general student bodies. So in terms of pro-Israel active students, it’s disheartening to think that 90 percent are less than helpful. But in terms of the broader student body, it presents a prime opportunity. These figures mean that the enormous majority of students do not yet have strong opinions on issues concerning Israel (or they’d be rallying for or against Israel already), and that they can still be educated about Israel’s positions.

Who can most effectively educate them? Jewish students need to start passionately teaching and leading. They need to join hands, get inspired, share ideas, and take action to inform the 90 percent, who are the future public opinion shapers and decision makers.

It starts with individual, grassroots efforts. If you are the student, it isn’t enough to be an emotional supporter of Israel. Rather, step up your activism. If you’re the friend, parent or relative, do your part by encouraging students to get involved by offering support and guiding them to the right resources so they can be more vigorous in the face of increasing hostility.

Here are some worthwhile resources: JerusalemOnlineUniversity.com offers a stimulating, comprehensive online course titled, “Israel Inside/Out.” You can learn the facts and are equipped to counter the misinformation and hate. Participating students may be eligible for college credits or a stipend upon completion. StandWithUs.com and standwithusCampus.com provide a plethora of material already researched, event support to promote pro-Israel activism, and professional brochures and flyers to pass out to fellow classmates. Hasbara Fellowships, launched in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, brings students to Israel for an exclusive opportunity to master pro-Israel advocacy. The DavidProject.org is another excellent avenue for advocacy material, featured seminars, and workshops.

We must stand up to anti-Israel and closely linked anti-Semitic attitudes on campuses. How are you going to help? You can begin to raise awareness by passing on this column to a Jewish student.


Student Action Alerts

Julie Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/disturbing-but-not-hopeless/2010/10/13/

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