Israel Advocacy News March 8, 2013: Loving Israel, The AIPAC Way — AIPAC Policy Conference 2013

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Loving Israel, The AIPAC Way

Source: The Jewish Week, 3-8-13

It’s been almost forty years since the Yom Kippur war, and advocating Israel’s cause has only become more difficult with the passage of time….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 19, 2013: Creating A New Vision For Israel On Campus at Brandeis University’s Visions for Israel in an Evolving World (bVIEW)

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Creating A New Vision For Israel On Campus

On Jan. 27, Aaron David Miller, a Middle East analyst and an adviser to six secretaries of state, spoke to arguably the most important people in the American Jewish community. They were not lay leaders, rabbis or presidents of Jewish organizations.

Miller spoke to 250 students from more than 15 universities who were gathered at Brandeis University for the first Brandeis Visions for Israel in an Evolving World (bVIEW) conference. Those who came to Brandeis were not ordinary students; they were leaders of organizations, many of which were pro-Israel groups, at their universities….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News January 30, 2013: Dialogue 101: Campus groups seek fresh conversations on Israel

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Dialogue 101: Campus groups seek fresh conversations on Israel

Source: Haaretz, 1-30-13

At Brandeis University, students from every political background are coming together not just to talk about Israel, but also to listen to each other….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News April 19, 2012: Israeli Harvard University students take to ‘Hasbara’ Israel Conference

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Israeli Harvard students take to ‘Hasbara’

After Harvard hosts controversial “One-State Solution” conference, Israelis try to change students’ perceptions on home country.

Source: Jerusalem Post, 4-19-12

Harvard University Photo: Thinkstock

Israeli students at Harvard University have long felt that many aspects of their country get overlooked in the campus dialogue. This week, they hope that will change.

Last month, Harvard students hosted the controversial ‘One-State Solution’ conference. But long before that meeting took place, a group of Israeli Harvard students has been hard at work planning a two-day inaugural Israel Conference at Harvard to shine a light on the reality of Israel.

On April 19 and 20, a group of non-partisan Israeli Harvard students will gather to feature a confab of top leaders in Israeli discourse and innovation to promote another face of Israel.

The conference will feature panels that focus on innovations in technology, medicine, humanitarian aid, culture and peace. Featured speakers in the conference include Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Dennis Ross, who worked under multiple US presidents to advance the peace process.

Israeli and Palestinian pundits will examine the status of economic development initiatives in Israel and the Palestinian territories. In addition to these experts, Harvard professors and Israeli academics will give their input on the topic.

Aside from the entrepreneurial focus, the conference will feature the results of the Avi Schaefer Peace Innovation Challenge, in which Harvard students developed ideas aimed at bridging the gap between Israeli and Palestinian societies. The author of the winning idea will be awarded a prize of $1,000. The idea of the initiative is to propel the conversation further instead of remaining in the deadlock in which most campuses find themselves.

The winner will be announced on Friday….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 6, 2012: One-state conference at Harvard signifies possible new front in campus Israel wars

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

One-state conference at Harvard signifies possible new front in campus Israel wars

Source: JTA, 3-6-12

To critics, the one-state conference held at Harvard University was a thinly veiled assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

To organizers, the condemnations and calls on Harvard to cancel the conference amounted to thinly veiled attempts to silence any criticism of Israel.

In the end, “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution” — arranged by a group of graduate students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and held at the university — held few surprises.

Activists and academics came together over the weekend to talk about how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a colonizer-settler relationship. A handful of pro-Israel activists stood outside the Kennedy School bearing signs that read “Shame on Harvard, Haven for Jewish Hatred.” Organizers declared the conference a success, while critics denounced it as a sham.

“The reality is, no matter what the conversation, if it’s critical of Israel, the response is the same,” Israel-born Elisha Baskin, one of the conference organizers, said of criticism of the event. Baskin is a research fellow at the Kennedy School and a graduate student at Brandeis University.

The fact that the conference took place at all — and at Harvard, of all places — may have signified a possible new front developing in the campus wars over Israel.

Until now, most of the campus agitation over Israel has centered on the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel known as BDS. But the Harvard conference, and the intensity with which opponents fought to derail it, suggests a great anxiety among pro-Israel groups about the one-state solution turning into a new anti-Israel rallying cry on U.S. campuses.

“To the extent that the idea of a one-state solution is gaining currency, it is important to fight this line of thinking,” said Rob Leikind, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Boston office.

In the weeks leading up the event, pro-Israel groups sought to discredit the conference as an exercise in delegitimizing Israel, and Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called on Harvard to cancel the forum….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 2, 2012: Harvard Kennedy School of Government “One-State Conference” on Israeli-Palestinian conflict draws fire

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Harvard conference draws fire

Source: Boston Globe, 3-2-12

An upcoming conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on the “one-state solution’’ to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is drawing ire from organizations who believe it promotes the elimination of Israel.

The “One-State Conference,’’ which will take place this weekend at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, is meant to investigate the feasibility of a creating a unified Israeli-Palestinian political state as a potential solution to war in the region.

But the event has caused some to criticize the Kennedy School for failing to adequately distance itself from the conference’s controversial subject matter….

Officials from the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization, have lambasted the event, saying that it has dangerous implications for the Middle East’s lone Jewish state.

Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said he fears that attaching Harvard’s name to the conference will legitimize the one-state solution movement, which he called “a euphemism for eliminating the state of Israel.’’

“When something so egregious takes place at Harvard, it really merits our attention,’’ Jacobson said….

Last week, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote a letter to Harvard president Drew Faust, asking the university to denounce the conference’s subject matter.

“There can never be any legitimate discussion of a concept which, by its very nature, will result in the end of the Jewish character of Israel,’’ Foxman wrote.

Jacobson said the organization does not want Harvard administrators to censor the event, but instead wants the school to renounce its theme….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 13, 2012: The 2012 Young Zionist Leadership Conference brings together the ‘Zionist leaders of tomorrow’

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Conference brings together the ‘Zionist leaders of tomorrow’

Source: Jewish Journal, 2-13-12

Participants at the 2012 Young Zionist Leadership Conference gather on the beach in Miami. Photo courtesy of WZOParticipants at the 2012 Young Zionist Leadership Conference gather on the beach in Miami. Photo courtesy of WZO

For Rebecca Schwab, senior advisor to the Midwest board of Young Judea, the lack of Israel engagement on college campuses is one of the primary challenges facing Zionist youth movements in America.

“A lot of campuses talk about anti-Semitism and how to overcome it in a politically correct way,” Schwab said. “But really the problem is under-engagement, because you’ll have a lot of dreamers who really want to put on these Israel advocacy events, [including] training seminars and bringing in speakers, but the [student] population doesn’t show up.”

That was just one of the contemporary issues on the table for more than 150 Jewish college students and 30 on-campus professionals discussed last month in Miami at the 2012 Young Zionist Leadership Conference (YZL), a three-day leadership training and professional development gathering sponsored by the World Zionist Organization (WZO). According to Samantha Vinokor, WZO’s communications director, Zionist groups from across the spectrum of political and religious affiliation were able to find out “‘Where are you coming from, where am I coming from?’ and happily meet in the middle under this cause.” Groups such as the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Stand With Us, The David Project, J Street, and others were “brought together for one of the first times ever that we’re aware of,” Vinokor said.

“We literally sat in that room, and the discussion was, ‘We are the Zionist leaders of tomorrow,’” said Schwab, who is from the University of Wisconsin. “And someone said, ‘Oh wow, it’s so cool, I already know you guys, so when you’re huge in the Jewish community, I’ll already know who you are.”

The conference’s keynote speaker was Israel Maimon, who served as cabinet secretary under former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharona Whisler, who represented the Southeastern Region of ZOA at the conference, said she asked Maimon if Sharon, at the time, believed the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza would bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace….READ MORE

‘Think Israel’ Summit on Jewish Peoplehood

‘Think Israel’ Summit on Jewish Peoplehood

(Jerusalem, 7 November 2011) A special summit called ‘Think Israel’ geared for Jewish students and young professionals will take place at the UJA-Federation of New York in Manhattan on Sunday, November 20th.

Addressing future trends of Israel and Aliyah. Nefesh B’Nefesh, which works in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, has teamed up with a wide range of Jewish organizations to produce this event, as part of its ongoing Aliyah programming in North America. The summit follows a recent week-long “Innovation Israel: Shaping Israel’s Future Today” road trip that Nefesh B’Nefesh organized together with PresenTense in order to engage Israel-conscious members of the Diaspora community in discussion about social change in Israel through innovative entrepreneurship.

The ‘Think Israel’ summit (www.nbn.org.il/thinkisrael), which is expected to draw hundreds of attendees, will open with a special panel entitled ‘Our Visions for Israel’ with Vice-Chairman of the World Zionist Organization David Breakstone, and Vice President for Public Policy Jewish Federations of North America, William Daroff. It will also feature interactive workshops, panels and presentations designed to engage participants in discussion about Israeli identity, Aliyah and trends in Jewish Peoplehood. Topics to be addressed in the various breakout sessions will include social justice, Israel advocacy, careers in Israel and Aliyah.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to create dialogue among young North American Jewish professionals by fostering and cultivating Israel-related social ideas and initiatives,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s One Aliyah Department. “We believe that this will help maintain awareness of Israel identity and Jewish Peoplehood among the Diaspora communities.”

A wide array of organizations are working together with Nefesh B’Nefesh to create and promote the initiative, including: the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the American Zionist Movement, the World Zionist Organization, MASA, The Israel Project, Stand with Us, Yeshiva University, the Torah Activities Council, Bnei Akiva, ROI, JLIC and Habonim Dror of North America.

The event can be followed on Twitter at #thinkIsrael and will be streamed live for viewing at www.nbn.org.il/thinkisrael.

Program Schedule:

*Tentative schedule, actual sessions subject to change.

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM – Registration and Refreshments

1:30 PM – 2:15 PM – Opening Panel – Our Visions for Israel
David Breakstone, Vice-Chairman, World Zionist Organization
William Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy at Jewish Federations of North America

2:30 PM – 3:15 PM – Breakout Sessions #1
•    Israel Advocacy on Campus & in the Community;  Avi Posnick, StandWithUs
•    Israel Social Action, Activism and Jewish Service Learning;  Shuki Taylor, Center for the Jewish Future, Yeshiva University
•    Aliyah 101; Sharon Millendorf, Nefesh B’Nefesh

3:15 PM – 3:45 PM – Break:
Networking, Refreshments and Israel Speed Meetings

3:45 PM – 4:30 PM – Breakout Sessions #2
•    Israel Engagement Opportunities; Avi Rubel, Masa; Raina Goldberg, Hillel              International
•    Messaging Media and Public Opinion; Nathan Klein, The Israel Project
•    Career Opportunities in Israel; Rachel Berger, Nefesh B’Nefesh

4:45 PM – 5:30 PM – Breakout Sessions #3
•    Social Media and Israel; William Daroff, Jewish Federations of North America
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM – Break:
Networking, Refreshments and Israel Speed Meetings

3:45 PM – 4:30 PM – Breakout Sessions #2
•    Israel Engagement Opportunities; Avi Rubel, Masa; Raina Goldberg, Hillel              International
•    Messaging Media and Public Opinion; Nathan Klein, The Israel Project
•    Career Opportunities in Israel; Rachel Berger, Nefesh B’Nefesh
Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles of Aliyah. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its 29,000 newcomers, has ensured that 97% of its Olim have remained in Israel. http://www.nbn.org.il