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Graffiti scrawled in a bathroom in a Yale University science building threatened an arson attack on the Slifka Center for Jewish Life on the...
A report recommended that UC consider banning all hate speech from its nine campuses.
Many campus Israel groups have brought Israeli soldiers to speak at their schools in recent years because they value the insights and perspectives IDF veterans bring to the campus Israel dialogue. But some people who have had life-changing experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces later earn their college degree in the United States. These students offer a unique view on Israel, based on their experience, and their advocacy on campus conveys that.
In past years, students turned to the people they knew for advice or strived to build creative plans on their own. While these approaches can yield strong results, imagine what could be achieved with a nationally networked resource that provides the best of all worlds -- tested, proven programming ideas and step-by-step details of best practices for impacting the campus environment.
The American Jewish community is rightly concerned about Israel’s standing among college students, especially among college students who identify as Jews. Community leaders reason that the attitudes towards Israel that develop among college students today will shape the way America and the American Jewish community relate to Israel tomorrow.
David Brog, CUFI's executive director, shared with the audience recent data that found 71% of all Americans say that they are pro-Israel, but noted that the figure drops to just 32% among college students. This statistic was repeated throughout the night to draw attention to the need for action on college campuses.
A careful look at the BDS movement shows not legitimate criticism but a movement that is racist and anti-Semitic. Why? BDS clearly targets Israel. Its stated goals vary but all include the "right of return" for Palestinian "refugees." The effort is cloaked to give the impression that ending specific Israeli policies would also end efforts to ostracize Israel. Yet their maximalist demand -- a flood of refugees, which would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state -- is carefully hidden.
Though still a minority, many women are changing the landscape and breaking new ground for future female leaders. Pro-Israel organizations StandWithUs and The Israel Project both were established by females.
As they look back at the recently completed academic year, many campus Israel activists can point to examples of apartheid walls and walkouts, but these instances do little to ruffle their optimism. As they look ahead to the upcoming academic year, they focus on improving the campus Israel environment and building a stronger community commitment to peace and coexistence.
During their summer breaks away from lecture halls and libraries, many undergraduate students assume leadership roles as counselors and mentors to a younger generation in camps across the country. Camps across the Jewish spectrum feature programming, discussions and classes aimed at developing staff members into pro-Israel campus activists.
Dov Lerner, former ZOA president at the University of Maryland and current Lone Soldier in the IDF: “It is very different making the case for Israel on campuses than actually sitting on the border with a gun guarding the country," Lerner said. "Having done both, I know that they are both extremely necessary.”
You might not expect it, but the pro-Israel group at the University of California, Santa Cruz -- a school with a decidedly liberal reputation -- drew impressive numbers of attendees to its events throughout the past academic year. Approximately 150 people attended the Santa Cruz Israel Action Committee’s big fall quarter event, a screening of the documentary film, U.N. Me.
About a dozen college campuses, including Brown University, Queens College, New York University, Columbia University, Yeshiva University and Cornell University, were represented by student delegations in the parade, which has been an annual fixture for the past 48 years.
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.
Oren stressed the importance of treating every question with respect, noting that there is only one question that he refuses to respect. “I won't respect any question that draws a comparison between Israel and the Nazis," he said. "I won't respond to that, at least not respectfully."
Shagririm caters to the large population of Israeli–Americans in Southern California and their American born children. The program connects these individuals in order to effectively generate pro-Israel programs and initiatives. Shagririm is the only program of its kind that currently functions solely on a local, multi-campus level, rather than nationwide.
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