Monthly Archives: October 2017

Nobody Can Take My Progressive Zionism Away From Me

October 29, 2017

CAMERA Fellow Fay Yanofsky.

When I studied the history of Jews and African-Americans in America, I saw many photos of our ancestors marching together for civil rights. It was evident that they were on the right side of history. Martin Luther King, courageous civil rights leader, spoke at synagogues, believed in the self-determination of the Jewish people, and marched alongside Jews at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement.

After recent events in Charlottesville, I felt a personal obligation as a member of the Jewish minority, which makes up .02% of the population worldwide, to march for racial justice and to stand against the white supremacy and discrimination that is engrained in society. My grandfather was one of the Nazis’s victims when white supremacists committed a gruesome genocide against the Jews. My grandmother was born and raised in a black and Jewish neighborhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

A Zioness Movement graphic.

When Nazis and Confederates recently chanted “Jews will not replace us”, this symbolized the evils of white supremacy trying to eradicate my grandfather’s personal identity, heritage, and values during the Holocaust, along with 12 million other victims. It was also a direct dismissal and attack on my grandmother’s neighborhood, kin, and childhood experiences. For these reasons, I attended the Post-Yom Kippur March for Racial Justice on October 1st, as well as Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson’s campaign “Stand Against Hate” which addressed the interconnectedness between racism against African Americans and anti-Semitism against Jews on October 19th.

Justice means standing with minorities struggling for equal opportunities to pursue happiness and to no longer be systematically and institutionally targeted for demise. Additionally, standing up for Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement for self-determination in Israel and preventing another anti-Semitic genocide. TaNahesi Coates’s Between the World and Me opened my eyes to the institutionalized racism against African-Americans in the United States and to the difficulty of growing up in a black body living in a white world.

In another of Coates’s books, The Case for Reparations, he referred to Israel as the model for reparations. As a Jew, I resonated even more with national black liberation movements because of the institutionalized and systemic anti-Semitism against Jews perpetrated throughout history.

My friend Natalie, who is a CAMERA Fellow herself at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and I marched with Zioness: a movement that stands for justice and fights against all forms of oppression. We stood against the marginalization, disempowerment, and demonization of Jews, people of color and other minorities. However, being both a progressive and an advocate of Zionism, the self-determination of the Jewish people, I felt my intersectional identities collide.

A male marshal wearing orange traffic control stripes came out from the tent to demand that my sign be removed. Shortly after that, a woman approached me with the marshal to demand that I put down my Zioness sign. My sign represented the movement against oppression as it had an intersection of an African-American woman wearing a Jewish Star. As a result, my hands clamped, chills rolled down my spine and my heart raced.

Other marchers try to cover up Zioness signs. [Photo: Zioness Movement Facebook page]

According to the marshals, there were too many Zioness signs in the same area and they did not want them appearing in photographs. However, as we collectively marched together against hate, there were many groups holding up other signs with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Intersectional Feminism.” The act of holding Jews to a different standard than other minority groups is anti-Semitic. For me, the experience of being singled out reaffirmed the need for a strong Zionist movement. Jews should never be targeted again and subjected to anti-Semitic double standards.

However, I stood resisting racism with my fist in the air, my jacket representing the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, along with my Zioness sign protesting racial injustice
alongside my African American brothers and sisters. I did this because who were the March for
Racial Justice Organizers to question my identity? Who is anyone to question my identity? I
identify as progressive Zionist and nobody can take that away from me!

On October 19th, Reform Rabbi Michael Lerner spoke at Brooklyn College to Stand Against Hate with President Michelle Anderson. During the talk, Rabbi Lerner said that a flaw in liberalism is viewing people who hold different opinions from one’s own through an “Us vs. Them” lens. I still have hope that Zionism, kindness, and the truth will prevail.

Contributed by Brooklyn College CAMERA Fellow and Treasurer of CAMERA-supported group Bulldogs for Israel, Fay Yanofsky.

This article was originally published in Night Call News, Brooklyn College’s student paper.

UK Students Vow to Fight Campus Anti-Semitism

October 26, 2017

Students Spoke at Official CAMERA on Campus UK Launch Reception

More than 50 students and professionals from around the United Kingdom gathered at the Centre for Jewish Life in London on Tuesday, meeting for the official launch of CAMERA on Campus UK, an international student organisation that counters misinformation about Israel on college campuses.

 The room was packed with students and CAMERA staff sharing their campus experiences, with topics ranging from Judeophobia to Israel’s peace offers to the Arab world.

International Campus Director Aviva Slomich.

CAMERA inspires students to speak up, and that’s exactly what is needed in the UK right now,” said Daniel Kosky, a student at Nottingham University. “Too often students are intimidated, because anti-Israel activists are so loud and hostile.”

Last year, a CAMERA event made international headlines when riot police were called to University College London to protect Jewish attendees surrounded by a violent anti-Israel mob.

Nottingham CAMERA Fellow Daniel Kosky (right).

 “For British students facing a constant stream of misinformation about the Middle East and Israel, it’s invaluable to have an organisation like CAMERA to provide the necessary educational tools,” said Shlomo Roiter, a student at Cambridge University. “CAMERA provides students with a sense of solidarity.”

Khulan Davaajav, a CAMERA on Campus UK Associate and SOAS student, agrees. She says the organisation, which connects thousands of pro-Israel students and activists around the globe, is vital for both student confidence and the spread of truthful information about Israel.  

CAMERA on Campus UK brings educational opportunities to British campuses that just haven’t been here before,” Davaajav said. “CAMERA will play a crucial role assisting students in the years to come, providing workshops, conferences, lectures, films, and educational material.”

From left to right: CAMERA Fellow Daniel Kosky (Nottingham), International Campus Director Aviva Slomich, Joelle Reid (former Fellow at KCL), UK Associate Tamara Berens, Hadar Langerman (KCL), Shlomo Roiter (Cambridge) and UK Associate Khulan Davaajav.

 Aviva Slomich, international director for CAMERA on Campus, says that British students will now have access to resources and factual information in variety of languages: Hebrew, Arabic, English, Spanish and French. Students will also have access to the latest research from CAMERA’s two popular British media departments: UK Media Watch and BBC Watch.  

 “Because CAMERA is an international organization, we have staff from all over the world with a wide range of experience and scholarly expertise,” Slomich said. “Our global network, which CAMERA on Campus UK students will now enjoy, is a tremendous resource.”  

 “Campus culture in the UK is about to radically change,” CAMERA on Campus UK Associate and Kings College London student Tamara Berens said. “Jewish students in general, and pro-Israel students in particular, aren’t going to be bullied any longer. We intend to stand up and tell the truth about Israel.”

 “There is a genuine appetite for CAMERA,” Slomich added. She pointed out that CAMERA on Campus UK is already on eight campuses: Kings College London, SOAS, University College London, University of Strathclyde, Maynooth University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University of Nottingham.

 “The number of schools will only grow from here,” Slomich said. “We’re very glad to be able to assist so many wonderful, courageous students.”

A Palestinian Flag Gave This Zionist Hope

Photo: Oshra Bitton.

That’s not a headline I had ever anticipated writing. And at a time when progressives seem increasingly dominated by an anti-Israel air, I expect every run-in with that crowd to produce the same pattern of animosity and mistrust. Initially, during my coverage of the recent Sister March for Racial Justice in Brooklyn, I felt my prediction confirmed.

Addressing the crowd from a podium at the Jay Street Plaza, Muslim-American activist, Linda Sarsour, spoke of “right-wing Zionists” in the same breath as white supremacists, creating a vile conflation between Jewish liberation and well, bigotry. One had an aery sense that the targeting was intentional –– an effort to ostracize Pro-Israel Jews and push them out of progressive spaces. And as marchers made their way towards the Brooklyn Bridge, I caught sight of what felt like another irrelevant political injection into the discussion of racial justice in America: a Palestinian flag. It waved to me from the top of a baseball cap of a petite elderly woman and seemed firmly placed above her head.

“From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” the 77-year-old woman chanted. That’s a Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) line I easily recognized. But aside from the gross fusion of two separate regional and political issues, the word ‘peace’ in JVPs acronym is actually misleading. While their mission statement claims to support “security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians,” JVP operates as an anti-Israel organization, supporting movements like BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions), which aims to destroy the Jewish state economically.

The woman explained that she’d recently become a member of theirs. I quieted my inner reservations and aimed to understand why. Maybe it was the soft lines in her face or her warm outstretched arms –– pulling me closer from time to time so that I could hear her better –– that made me want to stay and talk to Jane Orendain.

After revealing her native Filipino roots and Catalonian lineage, Orendain drew what felt like an associative approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her ethnic background –– a mixture of peoples seeking autonomy and independence –– must have guided her in the direction of sticking-up-for-the-little-guy just as my own identity helped inform my own views. Even though her chant sounded like veiled slander against my people, I suddenly understood why her free-Palestine stance seemed like a natural spot for her to reside in.

But then, when asked to get more specific about Israeli policy, Orendain revealed that she envisions “a Two-State Solution”––for Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace. Surprised and impressed by her position, I informed Orendain that the Israeli government actually supports an independent Palestinian state based on secure borders for both peoples. I told her that most Zionists I’ve met uphold that as well. “What? They do? Really?” Orendain responded, positively stunned.

As she ingested my words, it occurred to me that I might have been the first person to ever reveal that bit of news to her. And I thought: perhaps our ideological opponents aren’t as unreachable as we think. It’s much easier, though, to scan a banner and feel like an enemy has been successfully identified. It’s a lot harder to remember that a human stands behind the picket –– their sensitivities real, their ideas changeable.

After parting from Orendain, I carried on with a brightened sense of hope that I’d again find conversation and commonality in an unexpected place. It was as if the anti-Zionist rhetoric heard earlier in the march suddenly evaporated. I saw a much larger goal ahead. I recognized the value of engaging with those whom I might have initially written-off.

Now, this doesn’t mean that JVP members and other anti-Israeli folks will suddenly drop their ideological armor and embrace a Zionist’s perspective. But it does mean that somewhere in a seemingly hostile crowd, one might find a marcher with a pair of wide ears and open eyes that’ll walk beside them and in good faith, engage.

Contributed by City College of New York CAMERA Fellow Oshra Bitton.

This article was originally published in Harlem Focus.

Statement on Rutgers Professor Michael Chikindas’s Anti-Semitic Posts

CAMERA on Campus is horrified by Rutgers Department of Food Science Professor Michael Chikindas’s anti-Semitic Facebook posts, discovered this week. The university is “reviewing this matter to determine if actions taken in the context of his role as a faculty member at Rutgers may have violated that policy.” 
In response, International Campus Director for CAMERA Aviva Slomich released the following statement:
 
“Professor Chikindas’s posts depict scheming, controlling and evil Jews, evoking Der Stürmer-style antisemitic imagery which is shared widely by hate and extremist groups on social media.
 
We are working with our CAMERA Fellow and CAMERA-supported group Scarlet Knights for Israel at Rutgers to formulate an appropriate on-campus response.
 
CAMERA on Campus calls on the Rutgers administration to take the necessary actions to ensure that university policy is upheld.” 

Campus Coordinator Ben Suster met with CAMERA-supported group Scarlet Knights for Israel and CAMERA Fellow Miriam Waghalter to provide moral and practical support on the evening of Thursday, October 26th at Rutgers.

Screenshots obtained by pro-Israel blog Israellycool of the professor’s posts are seen below.

Facebook posts from Professor Chikindas’s profile.

Facebook posts from Professor Chikindas’s profile.

Facebook posts from Professor Chikindas’s profile.

Facebook posts from Professor Chikindas’s profile.

 
Hat tip – Israellycool

Statement on Anti-Semitic Cartoon in Berkeley Campus Paper

October 24, 2017

In a horrifying editorial cartoon published online and in print in The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student-run campus paper, Alan Dershowitz, a Jewish American supporter of Israel, was vilified using classic anti-Semitic tropes and imagery. The cartoon was published in the paper just days after Alan Dershowitz spoke to an audience of students in the Boalt Auditorium on campus.

In response, Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director for CAMERA issued the following statement:

“The editorial cartoon published in The Daily Californian portrays Alan Dershowitz, a Jewish American, as a grotesque, conniving and sinister creature who crushes a person holding a Palestinian flag while hiding his complicity with the Israeli murder of an innocent man.  Such imagery evokes toxic narratives about Jewish malevolence and, by suggesting that non-Israeli Jews are morally responsible for the alleged actions of Israel, arguably falls within the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the US State Department.

We call upon the The Daily Californian to retract the cartoon, immediately issue an apology, and re-evaluate their editorial and professional standards.”

A print version of the cartoon that appeared in The Daily Californian [Photo: Bears for Israel Facebook page].

Responding to the incident, Bears for Israel at UC Berkeley published the following statement on their Facebook page:

“This cartoon was published in the Daily Californian, a few days after Alan Dershowitz spoke to an audience of students in the Boalt Auditorium. It uses classic anti-Semitic tropes and imagery. This rhetoric and imagery is nowhere more common than in Nazi propaganda used by the Third Reich.

We are strong supporters of productive political discourse through campus media, but this is not productive. To a Jewish student on this campus, seeing this cartoon in the DailyCal is a reminder that we are not always welcome in the spaces we call home. It is terrifying that the cartoonist and the editors did not do their due diligence and research to know about the pervasive use of this rhetoric by the Nazi propaganda machine.

The editorial team should ask themselves why they felt it was acceptable to portray a Jewish person – who is not even Israeli – with an arachnoid body. This should have rung some alarm bells in someone’s mind, but it apparently did not. The fact that our campus newspaper printed this cartoon is deeply disturbing, traumatizing, and disrespectful to the Jewish students at this school.

We will be addressing this cartoon in a longer statement and taking steps to work with the administration and the Daily Cal to remedy this.”

CAMERA on Campus staff are working to assist the students on the ground at UC Berkeley.

Update: Co-Presidents and External Outreach Director of CAMERA-supported group Bears for Israel published this Op-Ed in The Daily Californian in response to the cartoon.

Contributed by Lia Lands.

At March for Racial Justice, I Stood Taller and Raised my Zionist Hands Higher

October 23, 2017

CAMERA Fellow Natalie Segev.

On Sunday, October 1st, the March for Racial Justice held a sister march in Brooklyn, New York, with the mission to stand in solidarity against racial injustices while commemorating the Elaine Massacre. The massacre occurred 98 years ago when White mobs murdered an estimated 100 to 240 Black-Americans who advocated for equal pay and equal treatment on white plantations. Yet on the 98th anniversary of the Elaine Massacre, one of the deadliest racial confrontations in America, issues regarding discrimination of people of color still exist.

After spending the day prior to this event praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur, I was ready to pray with my feet and march against systemic racism. The energy was contagious. During the commencement, while being addressed by powerful speakers, the crowd was snapping, cheering, and chanting. Individuals shared their stories about the forms of discrimination they have encountered from institutions, such as the public education system and law enforcement, all while shedding advice on how to tackle racism.

A theme throughout the march was “We are not truly free until we are all free.” As the granddaughter of a Syrian refugee, the words being spoken resonated with me. The prejudice of Syrian society against Jews that my grandmother experienced resembled other injustices being protested at the march. The anti-Semitism my grandmother endured, how she was jailed in unimaginable conditions, and then forced to escape Syria because she is Jewish, fuels me to stand up against bigotry. While presented in different forms, the hatred against minorities stems from the same dark place of ignorance. My family’s history of being discriminated against and the obstacles I face for being Jewish and a Zionist encourage my involvement in activism.

As I listened to the speeches, a man tugged on my arm and said: “It’s good that you’re listening to this.” Even though I was caught off guard by his comment, I was unsure to what this man was implying. He then pointed to the name of the Zionist organization on my jacket and said: “I wouldn’t expect someone from CAMERA to be here.”

A group of Zioness Movement marchers. [Photo: Zioness Movement Facebook page]

I chose to march with Zioness Movement, a progressive organization that is rooted in Jewish values, which stands for justice and opposes all forms of oppression. Throughout the march, I noticed glares directed at me and my Zioness poster. Not only were people staring at me, but they were taking pictures of me. There were instances where I had other marchers telling me to be careful because others were recording me. I felt as if I was a zoo animal on display simply because I am a Zionist. The attention I received was ill-intended and left me feeling unsafe and disappointed.

The march was supposed to be about uniting together against oppression, but others were trying to force me out of the conversation. I was ostracized from a movement I strongly believe in because I was a Zionist at a march that had nothing to do with Israel. Others brought their own political agenda to the table. Instead of focusing their energy on actual racial injustices, they were focused on me. Marchers should have been using their voice to call out gentrification or the pipeline from schools to prison but some were too busy using their voice against me. I was being discriminated against at an event that was supposed to be countering discrimination.

Other marchers try to cover up Zioness signs. [Photo: Zioness Movement Facebook page]

So despite how I was treated at the march, I did not feel deterred, nor out of place, because I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I chose to attend the march because I firmly believe that I have a moral obligation to use my voice and any form of privilege I may have to call out injustices.  So when a group stood in front of me with a tie-dyed sheet blocking my Zioness poster, I stood taller and raised my Zionist hands higher. I will not step aside and allow the oppression of people because of their race, class, immigration status or religion.

Contributed by John Jay College of Criminal Justice CAMERA Fellow Natalie Segev.

Meet Hannah Grossman, Brooklyn College CAMERA Fellow

October 20, 2017

CAMERA Fellow Hannah Grossman.

Hannah Grossman is a Junior studying Journalism and English Literature at Brooklyn College. She has studied Israeli and Hebrew literature in depth to enhance her understanding of Israeli culture and the origins of Zionism. Hannah views journalism as an avenue to use her passion for writing as a positive force in the world. As a CAMERA Fellow, Hannah is able to combine her love of Israel, writing, and engagement, to paint a positive and more welcoming picture of Israel on her campus. Her outside interests include meditation, reading the morning paper, talking to random people on the street, and heated debates about politics.

Young Israeli Man and Irish Local Come Together to Bring Israel Education

October 19, 2017

18-year-old Tal Hagin never imagined that gaming online from his home in Haifa, Israel would bring him to Ireland to speak about his country.

From October 23rd to October 27th, Hagin will travel to Ireland with the hopes of reaching the hearts and minds of students across the country.

Alan Lyne, a second year student at the University of Maynooth, met Hagin through an online game, where they began chatting and quickly discovered their mutual passion for educating others about Israel.

After a brief crowdfunding campaign online to raise funds for Hagin to fly to Ireland to speak, CAMERA on Campus UK caught wind and quickly stepped in to fully sponsor the tour and support Lyne’s Israel society, “Maynooth University Israel Society.”

“When I saw that the only Israel Society in Ireland was in need of support, it was an obvious initiative for us to get behind. The mission of CAMERA on Campus UK’s ‘EMET for Israel’ program is to provide educational and financial resources for independent Israel societies,” tells Aviva Slomich, CAMERA’s International Campus Director.

“My trip to Ireland is a chance for the people of Ireland to hear how a young Israeli perceives his country and the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hagin says.

Though he’s only 18, Hagin has volunteered extensively, including as a counselor for terror victims and disabled children, and in the logistics department of the Israel Defense Forces. Since the age of 14 he has participated in diplomacy and advocacy courses for Israel. “These courses opened my eyes to the complexity of the region,” he says.

“Tal is an excellent speaker and I think he will connect well with people here in Ireland,” tells Lyne.  “This is a great opportunity for students to truly discuss what is happening in Israel. While usually not directly affecting them, it is a topic that many in Ireland are profoundly passionate about. Tal’s trip provides a unique opportunity for creating the means for a better understanding and relationship between Ireland and Israel.”

In regards to impact, Hagin wants to open minds. “I want to give people hope and show them that there can be a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Because most have given up on peace. The majority of the world sees the conflict as only ending violently and I refuse to think that way.”

Hagin will be speaking at Maynooth University on October 23rd and University College Dublin on October 25th.

For more information about the tour, please email israelsociety@nuimsu.com or lia@camera.org. You may also visit the Maynooth University Israel Society Facebook page.

Eight New Schools Join EMET for Israel

Israel groups from eight campuses have recently become CAMERA-supported groups through the EMET for Israel program. CAMERA now works with over 80 campuses through the EMET for Israel and CAMERA Fellowship programs.

1. Dartmouth Students for Israel (Dartmouth College)

While Dartmouth Students for Israel (DSI) became a CAMERA-supported group this fall, we’ve been working with and providing support to students there since last year. During the 2016-17 school year, Dartmouth CAMERA Fellow Josh Kauderer worked hard on a variety of issues, including exposing a BDS-supporting member of faculty, Bruce Duthu, in May. After Kauderer and DSI wrote an open letter, Duthu resigned.

Shortly after Duthu’s resignation, Linda Sarsour was scheduled to speak at Dartmouth. CAMERA quickly helped prepare Kauderer and DSI with talking points and questions for Sarsour, who is a highly controversial activist. During a Q&A period at Sarsour’s event, DSI filmed member Zack Port as he took her to task over her a hypocritical statement she had made about activist Ayan Hirsi Ali. Sarsour was unable to answer the question, and lied, attempting to deny she had ever made such a statement. We are very happy that this year Zack is the CAMERA Fellow at Dartmouth.

It isn’t easy for students at Dartmouth to put on Israel events on campus. “The students get a lot of push back from academic departments on campus when they want to hold events,” tells Campus Coordinator Ben Suster. “As the only organization working with Zionist students at Dartmouth this year, we’re working to bring more speakers to the campus,” he says. On November 6th, DSI is bringing Israeli photojournalist Gil Cohen Magen to Dartmouth in an event sponsored by CAMERA.

2. Clarkies for Israel (Clark University)

Ziva Wernick, President of Clarkies for Israel tabling at the beginning of the semester.

Clark University is known for being an unpleasant campus for Zionist students. There are issues with SJP and JStreet. In 2016, Clark CAMERA Fellow Patrick Fox appealed to his students in an Op-Ed titled “Where is the Outcry?” where he called out his peers for acknowledging terror victims in Paris with a candlelight vigil, while ignoring terror victims in Israel. Former member of Clarkies for Israel and Clark alumna Lilia Gaufberg also made reference to the difficult times she experienced as a Zionist student at Clark in a blog entry called “Tough Love“.

CAMERA is the only Zionist organization at Clark University helping students who want to celebrate and educate about Israel. Starting off with an all new board, Clarkies for Israel is looking forward to bringing more to the conversation about Israel to campus, and we can’t wait to see what they will accomplish.

3. Tufts Friends of Israel (Tufts University)

CAMERA Fellow and Tufts FOI Co-Director of Advocacy Ben Shapiro and Co-Director of Advocacy Spencer Zeff meet with the Consul General of Israel to New England.

Last month, students at Tufts University distributed a “Disorientation Guide” for incoming freshmen which accused Israel of “white supremacy” and promoted “Israeli Apartheid Week”, and accosted Jewish groups at Tufts who had sponsored a talk by the parents of Trayvon Martin (an African-American teenager shot and killed in Floriday in 2012) for “exploiting black voices for their own pro-Israel agenda.” Last year, BDS passed in vote that was announced 48 hours in advance on Passover eve.

This is just a taste of the atmosphere on the Tufts campus for Jewish and Zionist students.

Tufts Friends of Israel  plans to hold events that take a proactive and unapologetic stance on supporting and celebrating Israel. Meanwhile Ben Shapiro, Co-Director of Advocacy of Tufts FOI, will respond to inaccuracies about Israel on campus and proactively spread the truth about Israel through the Op-Ed writing he does as the Tufts CAMERA Fellow.

On October 22nd, Tufts FOI will be hosting Noam Bedein, renowned Israeli photojournalist and environmental activist who will present to students at Tufts about his Dead Sea story using photography art.

4. Harvard Israel Initiative (Harvard College)

As the only Israel group on Harvard’s campus, CAMERA-supported group Harvard Israel Initiative has lots of room to grow. The Initiative is a recently formed group, and will play a critical role in shaping dialogue around Israel at other universities in the area.

“Harvard educates many students who will have the privilege of being leaders in our common future. If we want those future leaders to understand and be able to support a pro-Israel future, then a positive Israel presence is essential at Harvard,” says Harvard CAMERA Fellow and member of the Initiative, Ilan Goldberg.

Anti-Israel groups, including the Harvard College Palestinian Solidarity Committee, are present on campus, and Harvard Israel Initiative’s role in countering this year’s “Israeli Apartheid Week” will be critical.

5. Smith Israel Alliance (Smith College)

President of Smith Israel Alliance Kalila Courban.

After all of the Smith Israel Alliance‘s executive board graduated, there was no one left to continue the group’s presence as a source of Israel education on the campus. But luckily, a group of students has come together, including Kalila Courban, who has assumed the role of President of the group.

The campus is known for being difficult for Zionist students, and Smith Israel Alliance has plans to hold events and provide Israel education on campus in a way that will reach the students there the most effectively.

On November 13th, Israeli photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen, brought to Smith’s campus by CAMERA, will speak to students about Israeli society and coexistence.

6. Bobcats for Israel (Ohio University)

Bobcats for Israel members during a Birthright trip to Israel last summer.

At Ohio University, there isn’t an anti-Israel student following to speak of. The biggest challenge for Bobcats for Israel will be fighting apathy, and this CAMERA-supported group plans to address it through a series of proactive initiatives, including tabling and educational events designed to pique students’ interest in Israel.

On November 8th, the group will be hosting Gil Cohen Magen, and has many other exciting events planned for the future. We’re looking forward to working the students at Ohio U to ensure the campus becomes more actively engaged.

7. Matadors for Israel (California State University, Northridge)

A recent event held by Matadors for Israel.

Similarly to Ohio University, the biggest challenge at Cal State Northridge will be fighting student apathy towards Israel.

On October 16th, Matadors for Israel held a free lunch event for the group to talk to students about their programming and recruit more board members. The group plans to use a proactive approach and to educate their peers in order to promote a more thorough understanding of the Jewish state.

8. Scarlet Knights for Israel (Rutgers University New Brunswick)

CAMERA Fellow and President of Scarlet Knights for Israel Miriam Waghalter.

Rutgers has a significant Jewish population, but little Israel-related events or activities. But now CAMERA Fellow Miriam Waghalter has stepped in, and things are about to change. Waghalter reinvigorated Scarlet Knights for Israel, which had become unknown on campus, and is now making the group known to students.

The group is in a great position to do amazing things on campus, and the absence of anti-Israel activity gives Scarlet Knights for Israel lots of room to focus on fostering a strong Zionist and Jewish student community. “They simply have to meet the demand,” says Campus Coordinator Ben Suster. “There is an amazing Hillel on campus with a big following, and Scarlet Knights for Israel can promote their own events to this group of students.”

 

New UN Secretary General, Israel Work to Turn the Page

October 17, 2017

As blossoming intellectuals at ASU, it’s important for us to have a critical eye of large institutions such as the federal government, multinational businesses and even the United Nations. The UN’s purpose appears altruistic at first glance. However, upon further examination of its actions over the last decade, the UN has focused too much of its efforts on attacking Israel both in speeches and through resolutions while it fumbles with the Arab-Israeli conflict and other worldwide crises.

With an aim to turn the page and serve as a messenger of peace, António Guterres became the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations last January. He began the process of working to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict on his first visit to Israel and the Gaza Strip in late August.

Guterres’ itinerary in Israel included meetings and public remarks with Israeli leaders, touring an Israeli innovation showcase of humanitarian enterprises and a speech on the dangers of modern Anti-Semitism at the Yad Vashem Museum.

Guterres with Netanyahu during a press briefing at his office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Guterres’ visit saying,

“You have clearly demonstrated the desire since you have taken office to turn a new page in the relations between Israel and the UN. This is something I want too, and I look forward to working with you towards that joint mission.”

In the background of General-Secretary Guterres’ mission is the strained relationship between the United Nations and Israel due to the UN’s constant attacks against the democratic nation.

According to the UN Watch, “From 2012 through 2015, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 97 resolutions criticizing countries; 83 out of those 97 have been against Israel (86%).” These resolutions have come down despite terrible human rights violations in nations such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria which have received little attention in the UN Headquarters.

It’s important for us as college students to be critical of the UN. Its unwarranted attacks on Israel negatively affect how we view Israel and could lead to anti-Israel groups gaining strength by further defaming Israel’s name. Understanding the good deeds the Israeli government and private enterprises perform is important to how we view the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For example, the UN World Health Organization ratifies resolutions painting Israel as a health rights violator, but neglects the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli charitable organizations provide medicine, food and clothing to thousands of Syrians fleeing the Syrian Civil War. Additionally, On September 20th, the IDF dispatched a team of 75 engineers, medics and soldiers to Mexico to aid in the relief efforts and examine structural damage after two devastating earthquakes hit Mexico’s capital.

During Guterres’ visit to Israel, he was introduced to several humanitarian start-up companies at the Innovation Showcase including Innovation: Africa — an Israeli association that brings solar, water and agricultural technologies from Israel to struggling rural communities in Africa.

By understanding the humanitarian causes Israel stands for, and its successes as a robust democracy, UN Secretary-General Guterres — and ASU students alike — can gain a different perspective regarding Israel that effectively discredits the biased and unwarranted attacks Israel sustains in the meetings of UN leaders.

Contributed by Arizona State University CAMERA Fellow Graham Paul.