Tag Archives: campus advocacy

Hebrew U Students Join the Fight for Accuracy on Israel

 

LeEl Hayun

Lee-El Hayun

For Israelis, daily life can be intense. Most of us have served in the IDF during one operation or another. When driving, we stay clear of the areas where there is a high chance of having rocks thrown at our cars. Here in Jerusalem, we avoid walking around with two headphones in, to ensure that we are not caught off-guard in the event of a terrorist attack.

At the same time, students around the world who support Israel are facing a different battle.

Israeli students are largely unaware of what it’s like to be a Pro-Israel student on a college campus in the U.S., Canada or the UK. Nor are most of us tuned in to the difficult fight for accurate Israel-related coverage in media outlets around the world, and the subsequent effects biased coverage have on the public’s perception of the Jewish state.

This is why we opened the first CAMERA on Campus group at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Our goals are three-fold. First, we aim to educate ourselves about Israeli history and the competing political narratives about the conflict. We also want to increase students’ awareness of the challenges faced by Pro-Israel groups on campuses worldwide. And third, we hope to create ties with students from all over the world. These relationships will allow us to share our experiences, and will disseminate the truth about our country.

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For our first event, we focused on familiarizing our students with the challenges of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) facing Pro-Israel students on campuses.

We started off the evening with a basic overview of the BDS movement by Jerusalem U’s Campus Director Yoni Mann, who shared with us the powerful short film “Crossing the Line 2.” Becky Sebo, featured in the film, then expanded on her personal experience as a student activist at Ohio University, where she was arrested on campus while speaking out against BDS. Lia Lands, Communications Associate for CAMERA on Campus, shed some light on students’ Pro-Israel activity and addressed the intimidating atmosphere they can experience. We wrapped up the evening with a panel of international students, who shared their experiences as Pro-Israel students on campus.

Becky Sebo is arrested at Ohio University.

Becky Sebo is arrested at Ohio University.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the 50 students in attendance. Many were shocked to discover the scary atmosphere that exists on campuses for many students, and were quick to inquire about how they can help.

We come from all sides of the political spectrum, but we are united when it comes to sharing our beautiful homeland with the world. We look forward to working with all CAMERA Fellows and Interns at all universities as your boots on the ground. Together, we will make an impact.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow Lee-El Haune of CAMERA at HUJI.

Apply for the 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship here.

Neil Lazarus Visits Queens College

Neil Lazarus came to speak at Queens College on October 28, 2015 about current events in the Middle East.

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Lazarus gave a lecture to members of Emet for Israel supported group Queens College’s Israel Student Association for about an hour throughout which he discussed the conflict and issues Israel is facing now. This event was intended to be educational and board members hoped to give students a better and deeper understanding of Middle Eastern affairs.

StandWithUs and the ZOA were sponsors of this event in addition to CAMERA.

Neil Lazarus was definitely a great resource to provide them with such a clear perspective on the matters at hand. Students expressed that they enjoyed Neil’s wit and easy-to-understand breakdown of current events in the region. He also brought great visual aids that really helped unravel the nuanced and complex situation. Toward the end, Lazarus was very open to questions, which created a comfortable atmosphere for the attendees and clarified many of the common misconceptions regarding Israel.

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Afterward, pizza was served and this gave students the opportunity to interact with one another and talk about the lecture. Once members and other students really understood the topic and had enough confidence to bring up these issue with their peers, only then would they be able to properly advocate for the club and its goals. Board members are ecstatic that this is the case, and are looking forward to the group’s growth and effectiveness on campus in the near future.

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Since the lecture, the clubs has received many new “LIKES” on Facebook and messages from members reaching out about ideas for events. QCISA has also been working on more cooperative events with other clubs to help gain more recognition. Everyone is looking forward to other events on campus that will strengthen their ability to advocate for Israel.

Shabbat With Sgt. Benjamin Anthony

On November 20th, 2015 Binghamton University Zionist Organization (BUZO), SUNY Binghamton’s Emet for Israel supported group, hosted Sgt. Benjamin Anthony for Shabbat dinner together with Chabad. This was not the first time that Anthony had been invited to speak by BUZO and CAMERA at Binghamton, but it was still an honor to have him present his experiences in such an engaging manner. In the past, Anthony’s words left students feeling inspired so it was only a matter of time before he came back to Binghamton to share with a new group of undergraduates.

Sgt. Benjamin Anthony is originally from the UK, but is now a reservist for the Israel Defense Forces and the founder of Our Soldiers Speak. Anthony captured the attention of all 400 students in the room as he shared his personal journey. He spoke about the dangers of growing up in the UK as a Jew, and a brutal anti-Semitic attack that he and his brothers endured on their way home from school.

Shortly after this traumatizing occurrence, he decided to move to Israel. He made it a point to make the move when he was young and while embracing his Judaism, rather than later on when it may have been in spite of his Jewishness. Sgt. Benjamin Anthony also discussed his experiences in the army and the importance of defending the Jewish state, both on the front lines and from abroad.

Often, Americans supporters of Israel feel discouraged on college campuses, but Anthony reiterated the importance such advocacy. His strong attitude toward defending Israel gave many students the confidence to go forward in their pro-Israel efforts.

Pictures from BUZO's ZED talks, a TED Talk-style discussion about Israel.

Pictures from BUZO’s ZED Talks, a TED Talk-style discussion about Israel.

Anthony went on to point out that fellow Binghamton students may turn out to be future politicians or individuals forced to make critical decisions regarding Israel. The work that BUZO does to support Israel and demonstrate the country’s importance to the US will impact these potential leaders, and leave a lasting impression. Therefore, it is crucial that Israel advocates continue educating their peers with truth, history, and an unbiased facts when it comes to the Jewish state.

The Board of BUZO wearing their Israeli made t-shirts thanks to CAMERA funding and the NU Campaign.

The Board of BUZO wearing their Israeli made t-shirts thanks to CAMERA funding and the NU Campaign.

Hunter Zionist Alliance Taking A Strong Pro-Israel Stance on Campus Through Informative Events

This semester, CAMERA Fellow Jacob Kessler and CCAP Representative Rina Schiller teamed up with The Hunter Zionist Alliance to host multiple successful pro-IsrScreen Shot 2014-12-15 at 6.43.45 PMael events at Hunter College. On October 20th, the student group invited Anat Berko, author of The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, to speak and show a thought provoking powerpoint about the motivations of suicide bombers, especially women and children, and those who recruit them.

Over 35 students attended this unique and informative event. According to CCAP representative Rina Schiller, “Anat was a fantastic speaker who successfully engaged a large group of students with her unique insights on terrorism, which provided for a great event!”

10421308_592603384178656_777493089777147660_nAdditionally, in early November The Hunter Zionist Alliance teamed up with the Hillel on campus to host Kasim Hafeez, who told his story about how he changed from being very anti-Israel to a proud Zionist. Current CAMERA Fellow and member of Hunter Zionist Alliance, Jacob Kessler, recalled that “all the attendees thought he was a fascinating person and were really grateful that we brought him to speak!”

The Hunter Zionist Alliance is off to a great start hosting some incredible pro-Israel events this fall semester!

 

Binghamton University Zionist Organization (BUZO) Hosts Gil Cohen-Magen

Binghamton University Zionist Organization (BUZO), the pro-Israel student group at Binghamton University, united with multiple student groups– including the Arts Club– to host Gil Cohen-Magen, an Israeli photojournalist who has documented key occurrences in Israel. Cohen-Magen discussed the difficulties of living in Israel during a war. Since the event was co-sponsored with multiple different campus organizations, it attracted a diverse audience which provided for vibrant discussion.

During the presentation, Cohen-Magen shared moving and impactful photos that he took of a military funeral in Israel and explained the way photos are chosen and published by publications and the bias that can potentially be involved.Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.34.16 PM

CCAP representative, Haley Silverstein, explained that “it was very exciting to have Gil come to campus…it was great to have a perspective from someone who was on the front lines because real evidence is the best form of Israel advocacy we could have wished for.”

Later in the semester, BUZO organized a stand-up comedy show titled “Because the Middle East is Funny” in an effort to create a light-hearted cultural event that would attract people from all walks of life.The event was a great success and provided the audience with a truly enjoyable experience!

We look forward to hearing about BUZO’s next successful pro-Israel event on campus!

Owls For Israel at FAU Host Ted Deutch and Izzy Ezagui!

Owls For Israel, the Emet for Israel pro-Israel student group at Florida Atlantic University, organized a student leadership dinner to kick off the year in a strong way. Student leaders united for the event to hear from Congressman Ted Deutch about the importance of the US-Israel relationship.

CCAP representative, Zachary Pastor, explained that the “event was very effective as it provided a way to reach out to many other student groups on campus to help them realize how Israel pertains to their specific causes.” The successful event attracted members of over 30 different student groups and the speaker provided new insight into the importance of the strong political alliance.Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 3.22.59 PM

Later in the semester, Owls for Israel organized an event entitled “Lunch & Learn” with Izzy Ezagui. During the “L&L,” he shared his positive experience as an IDF soldier with a disability, and how he overcame the often associated adversity. The event attracted and engaged over 25 students from various interests and backgrounds.

Owls For Israel hosted multiple successful events over the past fall semester. We look forward to hearing about their upcoming pro-Israel events this spring!

Eagles For Israel Hosts Anat Berko

Eagles For Israel, the Emet for Israel student group at Boston College, organized a successful event where Anat Berko, author of The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, was invited to speak about her personal conversations withScreen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.48.08 PM women and children who have attempted to become suicide bombers.

Berko was able to connect with a diverse audience of about 40 students by discussing the sociological and psychological issues associated with terrorism. CCAP representative, Sonia Iosim, stated that “Dr. Berko gave a very interesting presentation on the psychological and cultural influences on women and children who become suicide Anat Berko Collage 4Dbombers. There was a great turnout and I think that everyone who attended was able to learn something new and shocking about the inner workings of terrorism.”

The student group managed to establish connections with other groups on campus as well as provide an evening of insightful conversation for all those who attended.

Later in the semester, the student group organized a Krav Maga event to teach students the Israeli martial art and attract a broad audience. Great job, Eagles For Israel!

Shooting Under Fire: Great Danes For Israel Host Gil Cohen-Magen

During the autumn semester, CAMERA’s Emet for Israel group at the University of Albany, Great Danes For Israel (GDFI),  recently hosted an event entitled Shooting Under Fire in an effort to engage and inform a diverse audience about current events in Israel from an unbiased perspective. Gil Cohen-Magen, a photojournalist who has documented key occurrences in Israel, was invited to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict  and the difficulties of living in Israel during a war.

Tal Cohen, a member of Great Danes For Israel, told CAMERA that “Cohen-Magen was very Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 8.10.45 PMhumble when discussing where his photos were published and by the end people were very impressed with Gil.”

The group worked hard to promote their event along with the Communications Department, the Journalism Department, and the Documentary Studies Department, in order to encourage an open dialogue on campus.  As a result of this event, the group has founded and enriched partnerships with other organizations on campus, and in doing so, exposed previously uninvolved students to new ideas and Israel-related concepts.

Madison Israel Club Promoting Israel Through Discussion-Based Events

This past semester, Madison Israel Club (MIC), the pro-Israel Emet for Israel student group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, orchestrated an event titled Less Hamas, More Hummus in an effort to educate students about Operation Protective Edge and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges that Israel faces. The discussion-based event helped students to feel become engaged in the pro-Israel conversation.

10337720_774067672666959_5832514027789711774_nLater in the semester, MIC hosted an event titled Terrorism Financing and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which was cosponsored by Jewish and Political Science organizations. The event, featuring Avi Jorisch, was intended to complicate students’ current understanding of the Middle East by providing a new perspective. Emet for Israel representative, Alexandra Zimmern, stated that “students were extremely interested in Jorisch’s talk on terrorism finance, as the event engaged dozens of students who are now joining the fight against Israel bias in Madison.”

MIC’s successful events generated awareness and attracted new members to the student group! Nicely done, MIC! We are proud of you!

 

CCAP’s Anteaters For Israel Spreading the Word at UC Irvine

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.22.58 PMAnteaters For Israel (AFI), our CCAP  group at UC Irvine, has been conducting successful events throughout the Fall 2014 semester. The group started the year off by tabling on campus to attract potential new AFI members while promoting a positive image of Israel after an extremely tumultuous summer.

The group took a creative approach to promoting a positive image of Israel by running a photo campaign where students passing by could fill out a poster with the words “I love Israel because…”

The tabling was a hit with approximately 65 new students who chose to sign up to learn more about AFI! The group proceeded to organize an interactive trivia event at a pub to welcome their new members.

Later in the semester, AFI attracted new and old members to a tabling event, which was held to build awareness and raise money for the Israeli charity, Save a Child’s Heart. That same night, AFI also held a vigil for the victims of the terrorist attack in the Israeli town of Har Nof and their families. CCAP representative and AFI president, Sharon Shaoulian, explained that, “AFI is doing our best to attract new members using a healthy balance of politics and culture to make supporting Israel feel like a privilege rather than a burden.”