Tricia Miller, Ph.D., Comes to Augsburg College!

July 31, 2015

On November 24th, 2014, Students Supporting Israel (SSI), an EMET for Israel group at Augsburg College, hosted Tricia Miller, Ph.D. Tricia Miller is a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). SSI partnered with the Christian Student Organization Campus Ministries to  educate Augsburg Community about Christianity in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories.  The discussion after Tricia’s presentation was the most impactful aspect of this event; she was informative and knowledgeable about the subjects that were discussed.

Stop Apologizing: Israel’s Right to Defend Itself

July 30, 2015

By CAMERA fellow Avital Zenilman

Israel tends to apologize for actions that she is not at fault for doing. A country has the right to defend itself, including Israel, and therefore should not be apologetic when it chooses to exercise that right. Just as any nation has the right to act against terrorism and violence within its boundaries, Israel has the right to do so without fear of being reprimanded by other countries.

On February 26, 2015, The Students for Justice in Palestine held a panel regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and drew on some alleged claims of similarities between the US and overseas in regards to militarism. During the question and answer segment of the conflict, a student began his question by apologizing for the one of the panelist’s unpleasant experience on a trip to Israel. He then continued by asking what steps should be taken to bring peace to the conflict.

The response from one of the panelists was to the question was to put pressure on Israel, due to the fact that the “Palestinians have been open for a real peace negotiation.” To further this false point, a member of SJP falsely stated that Israel is an apartheid state, claiming that Palestinians are not allowed to cross borders or the ocean or even see it due to a wall. This is false. The sole purpose of the security fence is in the name itself- security, and security only. It is not a means of oppression. The security fence protects both Israelis and Palestinians as it makes it possible to prevent and stops the occurrence of any possible future terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, and Israel has shown willingness to ease restrictions if terrorism and violence decreases.

Israel protects all people. As the only democratic state in the Middle East, it has become a sanctuary for anyone who is deprived of basic and civil rights or fleeing persecution. It is a state that welcomes any type of person, regardless of religion, and extends rights to them. Palestinians are not denied rights; they have more rights in Israel than they do in any of the surrounding countries.

On March 5th, Sayed Kashua, an Arab citizen of Israel, stated that there was complete separation and segregation between citizens in Israel. He stated that he felt unsafe as an Arab living in the country. This statement, though it may hold to be true, deflects from the point that Israelis are targeted and terrorized for being Jewish. Terrorist attacks are carried out against Israeli Jew, regardless of the age, on the sole basis of their religious practices. Terrorists are encouraged to kill as many Jews as possible, as earlier this year people were encouraged to use cars to kill Jews, and ruthless stabbings of Jews were praised.

The fact that there is no peace settlement in the Middle East is not Israel’s fault, though often portrayed as such in the media. Israel has shown willingness to negotiate; however, Palestinians constantly refuse offers of peace. While the Jews in Israel and in the United States apologize and accept blame, this in fact worsens the situation since it does not provide a broader picture of the situation nor does it provide a means of fixing it.

Israel is a legitimate country with legal rights, as any other country. She can and must defend herself when necessary. Her citizens have the right to be guarded and safe. No apologies.

‘Aroma Cafe’ Event at Queens College!

July 29, 2015

Contributed by CAMERA intern Lilia Gaufberg

On November 17th, 2014, the Israel Student Association at Queens College hosted ‘Aroma Cafe’. The goal of this event was to reach out to the broader college community at to show them something Israeli that they could relate to (i.e., coffee!) Many people who have never attended any of ISA’s events in the past came to enjoy Aroma and to learn about Israel. Everyone who was involved in planning this event did their part, and it was well-advertised. Over the course of the three hours that the event took place, about 200 people came and all seemed to love it! For future events, ISA hopes to create an environment in which ISA members and the student body have more opportunity to interact and to share knowledge with each other.

 

Israeli Music Fest at UCSB!

July 28, 2015

Contributed by CAMERA intern Lilia Gaufberg

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On March 10th, 2015, Slugs for Israel, an EMET for Israel group, hosted an Israeli Music Fest at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The goal of this event was to create a fun environment for students to come, listen and dance to Israeli-style music.  Slugs for Israel hoped to introduce students and community members to Israeli culture and music with authentic Israeli songs sung in Hebrew. The choice of music and musicians was great, and there was a huge turnout, with about 300 people coming to dance and to listen to the music!

 

Project Puente at the University of Houston!

July 27, 2015

By CAMERA fellow David Enav

Last week, Houston Hillel and Cougars for Israel, an EMET for Israel group, teamed up with the Latin Fraternities Sigma Lambda Beta, Alpha Psi Lambda, and the Mexican American Studies Student Organization to screen the movie Project Puente. The movie is a documentary following the formation of a Latin-Jewish student coalition at the University of Texas at Austin. The coalition was formed due to commonalities in histories between the two groups and in the mutual interests in the cultures of the other. Latin and Jewish students, as well as politicians and professionals, were interviewed for this movie.

At the formation of the coalition, both Jews and Latinos did not know very much about each other. Many of these students grew up in separate communities with little contact with each other. Through the coalition, however, they joined together to stand up for common causes that they believe in. Today at UT, the two groups who barely knew each other at first share a very strong bond.

Both Jews and Latinos come from immigrant communities seeking a better life in the USA. Many Latinos came to the USA seeking refuge as well as better educational and economic opportunities. Many Latin Americans are emigrating due to worsening conditions stemming from drug cartel violence. Many Jews came to the United States fleeing anti-Semitic discrimination and violence in Europe and the Middle East. Both groups see their new home in the United States as a place of freedom and tolerance: a nation of opportunities and mobility.

The Latin-Jewish coalition served as a base of support for the issues each group finds important. For Latinos, they were concerned about immigration reform and harmful legislation against minority communities. Legislation such as Arizona SB 1070 was one that many Latinos found to be discriminatory. This legislation enabled police officers to check someone’s immigration papers as long as there was “reasonable suspicion” that they were not there legally. Racist legislation like this alienates Latinos, whether they live in the US legally or not.

Jewish students were concerned about the BDS movement and the anti-Semitism that accompanies it. The BDS movement is short for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, and it seeks to delegitimize and demonize the state of Israel. As this movement spreads through many college campuses, many Jews find this to be not only counterproductive to the peace process, but very alienating to them as Jewish students. BDS campaigns have resulted in anti-Semitic acts against Jews on campus as well as a general contempt for Jewish students.

The screening event was a huge success. After the movie ended, many students stayed and talked about the issues they found to be important, and the misconceptions they had about the other side. Walter Garcia, Assistant Associate Member Educator of the Alpha Psi Lambda Latin Fraternity, said that Project Puente was “a good opportunity for Latino and Jewish UH students to communicate concerns of the Houston community and a great way to network. It also has the potential to integrate future generations with more diverse cultures.” The event brought two once-unfamiliar communities into a setting where both group’s history and cultures were embraced.

With Latinos and Jews working side-by-side, they promote the values of diversity that the University of Houston holds dear. As one of the most diverse schools in the nation, UH is a hotbed of unity among various ethnic groups. Project Puente fosters a strong Latin-Jewish connection, which looks to grow even further at the University of Houston.

 

David Enav is a sophomore studying Marketing. He is also a campus fellow with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Project Puente Trailer from Tracy Frydberg on Vimeo.

Less Hamas, More Hummus at FSU

July 24, 2015

Contributed to by CAMERA intern Shoshana Kranish 

Noles for Israel, an EMET for Israel group at Florida State University, presented on March 25th a lecture by IDF Sergeant Benjamin Anthony in conjunction with the Less Hamas, More Hummus program. Hosted by CAMERA liaison Marc Faust, the lecture brought together a sizable crowd to learn about the experiences of an IDF soldier.

Sergeant Anthony is the founder of “Our Soldiers Speak,” an organization that travels to college campuses and communities in the English-speaking world, bringing IDF soldiers to share their experiences serving in the army. Anthony spoke about his time in the army – of which he is still a member as a reservist – as well as his views on Israel and the threats against the country. As part of the OSS foundation, he lectures both pro- and anti-Israel groups, as well as groups who have yet to form a fully-fledged opinion on Israel and the conflict.

Liaison Faust reported that the attendees of the lecture were very interested in Anthony’s talk, and especially the stories he told about his brother Jonathan.

Sgt Anthony at FSU

Kasim Hafeez Comes to Boston College!

July 23, 2015

Contributed by CAMERA intern Lilia Gaufberg

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On February 17th, 2015, Eagles for Israel, an EMET for Israel group at Boston college, hosted Kasim Hafeez on their campus. Kasim’s story about how he went from being an anti-Israel radical Muslim to a staunch Israel supporter was intended to bring awareness to the power of propaganda, and how Kasim’s decision to open his mind to an alternative narrative allowed him to see the truth about Israel. There was  a good turnout, and the lecture was engaging, interesting, and educational. About 30 people attended the event. Kasim’s story of change was inspiring and profound!

 

Ethiopian-Israeli Zion Uness Comes to the University of Delaware

July 22, 2015

Contributed by CAMERA intern Shoshana Kranish

On May 5th, Israel U at the University of Delaware presented a speech by Zion Uness, a notable Ethiopian-born Israeli, who spoke about his experience making aliyah. The event was hosted by CAMERA liaison Ori Zaff, and was meant to expand campus knowledge of Israeli culture.

Zion Uness

Zion Uness is an Ethiopian Jew who walked from his native country to Sudan on foot, where he lived in a refugee camp until he was airlifted to Israel in 1984. After Operation Moses, he made aliyah to Israel, eventually serving in an infantry unit in the IDF and attending university in Haifa. Today, he works to try and improve education and community life for Ethiopians in Israel. During his talk, he spoke about his personal experiences before, during, and after Operation Moses, and about the Ethiopian community in Israel today. Liasion Zaff said the audience was “highly interested” and some members were even able to relate some of Uness’s stories to parts of their own lives.

Kasim Hafeez comes to San Francisco State University!

July 21, 2015

On April 16th, Kasim Hafeez made an impactful and impressionable appearance at SFSU where he was hosted by the campus’s Israel group. Kasim told students the history of his own anti-Semitic past and how he became a pro-Israel advocate through education and self-questioning. As a Muslim, Kasim talks about the Muslim world’s negative bias towards Israel and Jews as he explains how kids and people are subjected to false propaganda demonizing the Jewish people.

He talked about his own experience being subjected to demonization of the Jews and how his father taught him that Hitler is a hero for killing Jews. Now a self-proclaimed Zionist, Hafeez shares his journey with students and people across the country and Canada to inspire them to challenge their cultural biases and seek out the truth.

Kasim Hafeez at SFSU

Kasim Hafeez at SFSU

This event was covered by the campus paper at SFSU.

Celebrating Yom Ha’Atzmaut at SUNY Rockland!

July 20, 2015

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To celebrate Israel’s 67th birthday, Friends of Israel, an EMET for Israel group at SUNY Rockland Community College hosted a festival with a BBQ and various Israel-related activities. Though the weather wasn’t as nice as it was in Israel and the event had to be moved indoors due to the cold, the several dozen people who went enjoyed the festivities. CAMERA liaison Hadassa Raice was excited to educate the community about Israel in such a fun, relaxed type of environment.