Monthly Archives: March 2016

From Sudan to Israel: The Story of an Escaped Slave

March 31, 2016

On March 3, the Great Danes for Israel, co-sponsored with the Community for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), hosted speaker Simon Deng, who escaped from slavery in North Sudan.

“Wrong is wrong, no matter how small it is,” Simon Deng said.

Deng began by clarifying that, even before the United Nations acknowledged it, Sudan was two countries, North and South. Overall, Sudan was overtaken by radicals who attempted to impose religious views on the African tribes. It took years for the people of South Sudan to gain recognition as an independent state, and preserve their culture in the face of an invading force.

Great Danes for Israel students with Simon Deng.

Great Danes for Israel students with Simon Deng.

Deng was 9 years old when he was abducted from his home village by his own neighbor and forced into slavery as a “gift” to the man’s cousin. At the time, Deng didn’t understand the meaning of slavery. He was beaten, humiliated, and forced to do hard labor. He could not “even say a word because [he] was owned by another human being.”

“For three and a half years, it was hell. I was not considered a human being.” We, as free citizens, cannot image how he felt. Slavery is still a serious issue, and as Deng spoke, we should be concerned about it.

Fortune smiled upon Deng when he was nearly 13 years old. He ran into two men with tribal markings when the sons of his owners attended high school in a more populated city. These two men connected him to someone from his village, who secreted him away from captivity and back to his home, where he reunited with his family. Deng learned that his father had offered 10 cows, a substantial reward, for anyone who could provide information or help find his missing son. The family was overjoyed to be whole again once more.

The first thing Deng did when he returned home, was to have his tribe’s markings placed upon his face. Deng recalled how his slave master would tell him that unless he gave up his identity as a member of an African tribe, and joined his master’s religion, Deng would continue to be less than human. Deng took the markings to give himself an identity, something he considers just as important, if not more so, than freedom.

Deng has spent much of his life since, traveling parts of the world and speaking to anyone who will listen, about the horrors he lived through, and the steps we need to take to fix these issues. He has organized Sudan Walks across the USA and in the Netherlands, to build support for his people. He thanks and supports Israel, as the only country in the world how gives freedoms and rights to immigrants and refugees. Israel was the first country to recognize South Sudan as an independent country, and South Sudan remains allies with Israel.

 

Originally published in Albany Student Press.

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UWindsor JSA Hosts Annual Shabbat Dinner

March 30, 2016

University of Windsor Emet for Israel group Jewish Students Association (JSA) hosted its Annual Shabbat Dinner event in February, and it was a huge success.

JSA ordered kosher food, wine and other alcohol to give participants a taste of Jewish culture in a fun and social setting. Both Jewish and non-Jewish students took part in the dinner. The group was also proud to announce that it was their biggest event thus far, with 70 attendees! What was interesting was that many of the people who came to the dinner happened to be supportive of the JSA, support Israel, or were at least against disproportionate criticism and condemnation of the Jewish state.

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The best part of the event was that it informally educated students about Judaism and Israel, simply by holding the shabbat dinner.

Throughout the night, members made a point of engaging attendees in discussions about the difficulties that Jewish students face on campus, including BDS, SJP, and other anti-Israel rhetoric. Students were understanding and wanted to listen and share their perspectives on these issues.

One interesting conversation in particular that took place was with a Middle Eastern Christian. She noted that most students are not aware of the oppression non-Muslim minorities face in the Middle East, and this was based on person experience at Windsor. Other students engaged in a variety of discussions ranging from the BDS threat to how delicious Israeli wine is!

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The point of the event was not only to educate in a casual and exciting way, but to also create a comfortable environment for dialogue. There were both new and old faces, and it was clear that the participants genuinely enjoyed their time. Ultimately, this event succeeded in getting newcomers and those who are already members of JSA to think critically about Israel, Judaism, and the group’s positive role on campus.

University of Windsor’s Jewish Student Association thanks CAMERA for all its help, support, and for making the Annual Shabbat Dinner a reality!

To apply for our 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship, click here!

Student Activists Fight for Accuracy on Israel

March 29, 2016

A CBS News headline from February, reporting on a series of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis, reads, “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on.”

For the past six months, a wave of Palestinian terrorism has shaken Israel, and while some reporters and editors have been accurately reporting events, many are failing miserably.

The twisting of headlines and news stories to fit the “hip” narrative of the oppressed Palestinians often casts terrorists as victims. This is one small example of how the media fails to report on attacks against Israelis with any semblance of accuracy. CAMERA researchers are vigilant in prompting corrections to reports published in media outlets around the world, but significant damage to Israel’s reputation has already been done as these false and misleading headlines and news reports are immediately plastered across social media and television screens.

Initial headline by CBS News.

Initial headline by CBS News.

The constant spreading of misinformation about terrorism in Israel is upsetting as much as it is dangerous. Sadly, the example given here is a mere drop in an ocean of inaccuracy on Israel-related news. Add into the mix anti-Israel groups – many with a significant presence on college campuses – and students are left vulnerable to accepting such false accusations against Israel as factual realities.

Every year, 35 students are selected by CAMERA to lead in the fight against misinformation and media inaccuracies on their campuses. Responding to the defamatory and discriminatory anti-Israel movement, CAMERA Fellows are provided hands on training from CAMERA experts, high level instruction from leading Middle-East specialists, global networking with published writers and activists, live seminars and workshops, and assistance with event planning. These resources aid Fellows in confidently and effectively adding a desperately needed voice on the Israel-Arab conflict for students.

The CAMERA Fellowship stands out for its unique opportunity for college students to channel their Pro-Israel advocacy into journalist activism. As Fellows, students write in their local campus papers to expose anti-Israel media bias and activities, that would otherwise go unchallenged. CAMERA Fellows are the first to respond to anti-Israel slander and to fact check students’ inaccurate perceptions of the state.

Fellow Joelle Reid spoke in the British Parliament about media bias issues within UK publications together with how to combat aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks on campus.

Speaking in the British Parliament, Fellow Joelle Reid addressed media bias issues in UK media outlets and how to combat aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Semitic attacks on campus.

“The tools offered to students at the initial conference as well as the ongoing support and guidance throughout the year have assisted me greatly in highlighting the constant misinformation and inaccuracies in today’s media coverage of Israel and the Middle East,” says CAMERA Fellow Joshua Seed (Binghamton University). “CAMERA has empowered him to effectively engage on campus. “The Fellowship has sharpened my writing skills, guiding me in correcting falsifications through strong well-written arguments in campus media outlets,” he says.

Students engage at the 2015 CAMERA Conference.

Students engage at the 2015 CAMERA Conference.

With the help of CAMERA, Fellows host events on campus inspiring countless students to learn about and advocate for Israel.

“CAMERA has given my campus group, Judges for Israel, the tools necessary to organize successful Israel events at Brandeis. It has empowered me to combat Israel apathy head-on, and has led to numerous students actively engaging in Israel activism,” says Misha Vilenchuk.

“I am now a journalist and writer, and I believe my career was made possible by the training and support I received from CAMERA,” affirms Eliana Rudee, a former CAMERA Fellow.

Summing up her experience she says, “Most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, I found that the work that I began as a fellow has given my life and work deep meaning, as I feel I am involved in a cause much greater than myself.”

Empower yourself. Join our team of experts and gain the tools for effective activism.

To learn more/apply for the 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship, click here.

Dialogue Sparked at Judges for Israel-Hosted Event

March 28, 2016

Brandeis University’s Emet for Israel supported group Judges for Israel (JFI) recently hosted a panel of speakers from The Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) who discussed the topic of peace and how it can be achieved. The three panelists arrived early to introduce themselves to the JFI board and to explain in further detail what SPME does nationwide.12744392_1703578556521330_8716107337069065759_n

Asaf Romirowsky, the executive director of SPME presented the many intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history of the peace process, and the outlooks for peace today. He went into great detail regarding how complex the situation remains and the amount of work that must be put into fixing it, even if only slightly.

Alexander Joffe, the second panelist, then discussed the problems experienced in the Middle East at large and the regional politics on a case by case basis. Some of these included the US-Israel relationship and the various military threats Israel faces on its borders.

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Finally, Gabriel Brahm presented statistics associated with Israeli-Arab and Palestinian society based on objective studies done to assess Palestinian attitudes toward peace. Most of the figures presented seemed to indicate that the Palestinians with religious affiliations were more opposed to the peace process than those who are secular.

The program then opened up for questions, and there were definitely some difficult ones posed for the speakers, including “What is the single biggest obstacle to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians?” “In light of the Arab Peace Initiative, is it really fair to say that the biggest obstacle to peace is Arab Rejectionism?” “How do you feel about the temporary banning of Israeli MKs from parliament in light of their meetings with the families of slain Palestinian terrorists?” A passionate conversation between a left leaning student and the panelists broke out when talking about the occupation. The student’s position held that in order to attain peace, that particular issue must be seriously addressed and dealt with.

In contrast to other Israel-related events held on campus, JFI was able to provide an environment that brought meaningful and constructive dialogue on Israel.

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Thank You for Condemning Anti-Semitism, UC

March 25, 2016

After numerous instances of anti-Semitism on University of California campuses, the UC Board of Regents formally adopted a statement condemning such behavior. This is the first public statement of its kind, which resulted in large part due to numerous instances of students committing acts of antisemitism on campus, often under the guise of anti-Zionism and the BDS movement.

(From left to right): Hadi Makarechian, Charlene Zettel, and University of California President Janet Napolitano listen to public comments during a Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, March 23, 2016. (AP/Eric Risberg)

(From left to right): Hadi Makarechian, Charlene Zettel, and University of California President Janet Napolitano listen to public comments during a Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, March 23, 2016. (AP/Eric Risberg)

The Board of Regents also published a report urging university administrators to condemn anti-Semitism immediately after students bring such instances to light. They went on to add that denying Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish state falls under the same category and should be addressed.

As would be expected, the report came with some criticism. Those who are opposed claim the statement will interfere with free speech and student life. Another issue people found was that it specified anti-Semitism alone and didn’t address Islamophobia.

However, according to a recent study, Jewish students are three times more likely to experience an anti-Semitic attack or violent rhetoric than any other group. There is a strong need to tackle this head on. No Jewish student, regardless of their relationship to Israel, political viewpoints, or religious affiliation should undergo this kind of abhorrent treatment.

“For far too long, Jewish students have become victims in the often profoundly contentious anti-Zionist movement on campus,” stated Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who is a Hebrew lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who was involved in leading the campaign. The 10 -paragraph declaration differentiates between healthy intellectual debates and acts of hatred that campus leaders have been trying to oppose.

Students hold up protest signs at the end of a public comment period during a University of California Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, March 23, 2016. (AP/Eric Risberg)

Students hold up protest signs at the end of a public comment period during a University of California Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco, March 23, 2016. (AP/Eric Risberg)

The UC administration saw a problem come up time and again, and the Board of Regents finally took a formal approach to combatting it. This move will not compromise  freedom of expression, rather it will promote it. Prior to this ruling, Jewish students felt threatened to voice their positions regarding the Middle East, but even more disturbingly, their Jewish roots in general. A toxic feeling of intolerance was strongly felt by students prior to this decision. Hopefully this is the first step to dissipating the dangerous environment felt by some students at University of California campuses.

I thank the University of California Board of Regents for condemning anti-Semitism and working to combat this ever prevalent threat.

Contributed by Bar-Ilan University CAMERA intern, Jasmine Esulin.

Letter: BDS – A Reality Check

March 24, 2016

Emet group Cornellians for Israel (CFI).

Emet group Cornellians for Israel (CFI).

In the guest column “On Divestment and Hypocrisy,” the authors described an idealistic moral calling to divest from companies supporting Israel’s so-called apartheid actions. The truth is not so simple. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extraordinarily complex, and portraying it as they did is inaccurate. Furthermore, their claim that boycotting companies is an action that will lead to meaningful change is fabricated.

To state that the living situation for residents of the West Bank is not ideal is correct. To claim that Palestinians deserve better treatment than what they currently receive is also absolutely right. But to compare what is happening in Israel with apartheid in South Africa represents a severe misunderstanding of the current conflict. Even South African Judge Richard Goldstone, whose U.N. Report on Israeli war crimes was reviled by Israelis and celebrated by Palestinians, has claimed “in Israel, there is no apartheid,” and “the charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.”

Amarbneil, Emad and Hadiyah discuss five factors that they believe indicate the existence of Israeli apartheid: racist statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, segregated roads, inaccessible land, inhumane working conditions and Palestinians deaths, especially in Gaza. None of these factors actually represent apartheid.

Netanyahu’s statements were reprehensible; they were instantly condemned by Israeli leaders. However, this is not a sign of apartheid. It’s the sign of a politician saying something stupid. Furthermore, Netanyahu apologized for his statements, a fact that escapes mention in their article.

In South Africa, segregation existed because of racism. In Israel, this is not the case. There are few roads in Israel that are segregated, and those ones are made that way exclusively for security reasons. The same is true with regard to inaccessible land. Ideally, there would be no checkpoints and everyone would travel freely around the West Bank. Unfortunately, there are serious security issues that need to be taken into account. Just since September 2015 there have been 206 stabbing attacks, 83 shootings and 42 vehicular ramming attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Palestinians in the West Bank are occasionally subject to inhumane working conditions and low wages. Yet this is not Israel’s fault. Palestinians in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens. They have their own government, the Palestinian Authority. Granted, their government hasn’t held an election since 2006 and is more concerned with criticizing Israel than with helping its own citizens. Nevertheless, people wouldn’t call America apartheid if their citizens weren’t paid the minimum wage of Australia. So how is Israel apartheid because Palestinians are not paid Israeli minimum wage?

Their final issue involves a great distortion of the current situation. Yes, many Palestinian civilians have been killed, especially in Gaza, and this is tremendously sad and distressing. But to argue that Israel is fully responsible for these deaths is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. Between 2005, when Israel unilaterally left Gaza and gave it to the Palestinians, and 2015, over 11,000 weaponized rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza with the purposeful intent of damaging Israel and killing Israelis. Israel had the right to respond to these acts of war. Furthermore, it is well documented that Hamas uses civilians as shields and purposely operates their military in civilian areas, both in clear violation of international law. This also contributes to civilian deaths.

In addition to their arguments about Israeli apartheid being tenuous, their claims that BDS is an appropriate solution to the problem are incorrect. In fact, it hurts those it purports to help. While the Israeli economy remains unaffected by such movements, Palestinian beneficiaries are hurt. The Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper published that Israeli companies offer higher wages to Palestinian employees than Palestinian companies and also provide benefits like medical insurance and transportation stipends.

Furthermore, it does not address the main underlying causes of the current conflict. Very recently, the Pew research group did a study on Israelis and Palestinians, and found that one of the major issues preventing peace in the region is a lack of trust. Less than half of Israelis and Palestinians believe peaceful co-existence is possible. This lack of trust must be repaired if there will ever be a solution to the conflict. And BDS does not repair distrust — it exacerbates it. Even Norman Finkelstein, who was once called by Al-Jazeera a “rock star of the Pro-Palestinian movement,” has come out against BDS. He claims the movement is filled with “disingenuousness — they don’t want Israel to exist.”

The article is right on one issue, though. Debate is needed. Sadly, in the past, BDS activists on campus have not been in favor of debate. In 2014, the Student Assembly voted down a BDS motion because they felt it was not their place to be making decisions on such topics. Yet, they strongly encouraged everyone to stay behind to debate the issues at the meeting. This debate did not occur. The supporters of BDS angrily stormed out of the room screaming and shouting.

More than debate being needed, conversation is needed. Debates have winners and losers, but no one gains new insight. Conversations don’t have winners and losers, but everybody learns something new. People in Cornell, whether “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestinian,” need to talk to each other. Learn the other side. Try to increase trust. Peace will be made through understanding, not boycotts.

Originally published in the Cornell Daily Sun.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern and Co-President of Emet for Israel group Cornellians for Israel Reut Baer, Co-President Yonatan Krakow, and Vice President Tamar Kahan.

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The Jewish Emissary of Tulsa Speaks at ORU

March 23, 2016

Early last November Shiri West, the Jewish Emissary of Tulsa, spoke for the United for Israel club at Oral Roberts University. Having lived in Israel and represented Israel for many years, she delivered a unique perspective about Israel to the ORU community. Some of the topics Shiri covered included Jewish life, the difference between diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews, how Shabbat is observed in Israel, how it relates to the Diaspora and non-Jewish community, and how everyone can advocate for Israel.

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Shiri West.

The discussion between the participants and Shiri served as a tool to effectively increase awareness of the Jewish community in Tulsa, and how it relates to supporting Israel in a tangible way. The goals of the event were to foster the establishment of a heartfelt, emotional, and personal connection to the Jewish community and Israel by hosting a Jewish woman who is currently an active member of the ORU community as well.

Many of the students in the club wanted to learn more about Judaism and Israeli culture, and hearing Shiri speak achieved this. Students who attended felt comfortable asking her questions regarding all of her experiences as the Jewish Emissary of Tulsa and as someone who grew up in the Jewish state.

Another exciting aspect was that Shiri asked the students questions about their cooperation and work with CAMERA. She was thankful for CAMERA’s support in helping to build United for Israel.  Towards the end of the speaking engagement, Shiri announced, “There is much more to learn about these topics, but my time is up!” Immediately after one of the students pleaded her to stay, “We want to learn more from you,” the student said. It was clear that the dynamic between Shiri and the students was positive and effective. Some are even coordinating a visit to her office to find out more ways to get involved!

With contributions by Bar Ilan University CAMERA Intern Jasmine Esulin.

IsraelFest Impacts Students at UMiami

March 22, 2016

In early February IsraelFest was held by campus group Emet Israel at the University of Miami.  Approximately 150 students turned out to the annual celebration, showcasing Israeli food, a falafel eating contest, and a Krav Maga class. Attendance was high, but more importantly, the students engaging and asking questions were not Jewish or already affiliated with Israel.  They were intrigued by the activities organized, and many walked away with a deepened understanding of Israel.

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A Krav Maga instructor gave demonstrations and taught students how to defend themselves in various dangerous scenarios. The workshops were open to all students, and provided a rare opportunity for them to learn personal protection strategies. The falafel eating contest was a big hit – each contestant represented a different club on campus, which was instrumental in Emet-Israel creating bridges with other student groups.

Connections were made between the UCatholic Club, the Student Government Club, the Ping Pong Club, and other sororities and fraternities, as participants ate falafel in record-breaking times. Giving out free shirts at the event also helped Emet Israel spread awareness of its existence.  Across campus, students are still seen wearing these shirts weeks after the event took place.

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“Ultimately, IsraelFest is an initiative that UMiami intends to host annually, because it was incredibly successful in bringing acknowledgment and recognition to Israel advocacy on campus. It is important to further this recognition, so that everyone knows the goals of Emet-Israel and all that the group works toward,” said organizer and President of Emet Israel, Tal Tahori.

Taking note of IsraelFest’s success in getting the general student population involved, Emet Israel has future events featuring interactive programs in mind.  Based on the event’s positive turnout, it is clear to organizers that students are interested in learning more about Israel on campus.

Hate Language Rampant Abroad

March 21, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Joshua Seed.

CAMERA Fellow Joshua Seed.

A walk around the Binghamton University campus reveals the diversity of our student population. The University’s global approach as well as its emphasis on inclusivity promotes learning beyond the formal walls of a classroom. Conversation between BU students, individuals of varying ethnic and faith backgrounds, fosters tolerance and prepares students for an increasingly interconnected world which demands understanding for those who are different.

Due to the accepting nature of our community, we have formed an environment where students feel comfortable displaying their religious clothing in public. For instance, this month’s Interfaith Shabbat, an annual program with Hillel and the Muslim Student Association, saw females in the traditional Muslim hijab eating dinner beside their kippah-clad Jewish classmates as they discussed similarities as religious college students. Though my payot, the long sidelocks of some observant Jewish males, a sight more common in Brooklyn than in Binghamton, are sometimes the source of looks by passing students, my visible Jewish identity is more frequently a conversation starter and a powerful opportunity to discuss religion and how I negotiate a secular college campus with such comfort. Unfortunately, these freedoms that I and so many others cherish dearly are actively being threatened in other parts of the world.

Binghamton University campus. (binghamton.edu photo)

Binghamton University campus. (binghamton.edu photo)

In recent years, an increasing number of violent anti-Semitic incidents in France including the murder of four Jews in a kosher supermarket during the Charlie Hebdo shootings have tainted the country’s image as a safe and welcoming liberal democracy for its 475,000 Jewish residents. Last year, journalist Zvika Klein decided to put allegations of the deteriorating situation for French Jews to the test, wandering the streets of the capital wearing a kippah and tzitzit, ritual fringes.

Klein’s kippah quickly catches the attention of nearby residents as the verbal assaults begin to flow. “Jew!” shouts a number of Parisians while others spit at Klein as he passes. A boy can be heard asking, “what is he doing here, Mommy? Doesn’t he know he will be killed?” The experiment captures an unfortunate conversation currently taking place among French Jews and Jews of other European nations.

This past January, a 15-year-old stabbed a Jewish teacher in Marseilles as he walked to synagogue for morning prayers. As the teacher was wearing a kippah at the time of the attack, the incident reignited the debate whether one should conceal external signs of their Judaism in public to guarantee safety. The head of Marseilles’ Jewish community responded by recommending a removal of the kippah “for the time being,” while France’s chief rabbi suggested that such defeatist moves would only give the impression that “Jews bear some responsibility for being attacked.”

Antisemitism in Europe. (Photo: AP)

Antisemitism in Europe. (Photo: AP)

Regardless of one’s stance on the matter, the mere existence of this debate is troubling. The notion that my coreligionists must choose between faith and safety is unnerving. Jewish institutions in France and elsewhere throughout Europe operate like fortresses, guarded round-the-clock by heavily armed soldiers as if an attack is imminent. A significant Jewish emigration from Europe to Israel in recent years further highlights the demand for a secure Jewish future that many now believe can be assured only in the safety of a sovereign Jewish state.

Knowledge of the hardships currently facing Jews, but more importantly of the resilience of many despite the danger, leaves me with a newfound appreciation for the ease in which I can proudly practice my faith here at BU. The case of European Jewry is but one example of the difficulties facing religious communities around the world today, and these realities must serve as a crucial reminder of the need to protect and strengthen our oasis of coexistence, for it can never be taken for granted.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow Joshua Seed at Binghamton University.

Originally published in the Pipe Dream.

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Jonathan Elkhoury and the Power of Dialogue

March 18, 2016

On January 28th, Jonathan Elkhoury embarked on his North American campus tour in partnership with CAMERA.  “I lost one country, I won’t lose the other one. Today I’m starting one of my most important journeys – a journey in the United States about the truth,” he remarked on his Facebook page.

Jonathan Elkhoury at Ben Gurion Airport

Jonathan is a gay Christian Arab spokesman for the Christian Empowerment Council (CEC) in Israel. His father was an officer in the South Lebanon Army (SLA). When Israel evacuated its forces from Lebanon in 2001, Elkhoury’s family was endangered due to the IDF’s support of the SLA. His father was forced to flee to Israel in 2000, leaving his family behind – Jonathan, his mother and brother only managed to join his father in Israel a year later.

Elkhoury addresses the issues pertaining to Christians and minorities in the Middle East and works closely with Father Gabriel Naddaf.

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In total, Elkhoury visited ten campuses in February 2016, and attended a number of other events. He spoke for Emet for Israel supported groups at Stanford University, Ohio State University, Case Western University, Cornell University, SUNY Albany, SUNY Binghamton, MIT, Boston University, and CUNY Hunter.

Elkhoury Speaking at SUNY Binghamton

Elkhoury Speaking at SUNY Binghamton

Students have remarked on how refreshing it was to hear stories about minorities in Israel from such a unique source. Elkhoury also makes a point of being open to answering all questions by his student audiences, which proved very effective. CAMERA Fellow Suri Bandler only had praise for the speaker, “Jonathan was clearly relaying his own perspective and experiences, and he did so openly and honestly. He was engaging and encouraged people to ask questions. He brought a new perspective on Israel and its minorities – one that not many people had heard before or even knew existed.”

The ease with which Jonathan Elkhoury shares his experiences growing up in Lebanon and Israel as a gay Christian Arab, and as a human rights activist, brings students a nuanced and distinct outlook on Israel-Arab relations.

Contributed by Bar-Ilan University CAMERA intern, Jasmine Esulin.