Israel Advocacy News March 12, 2013: The Shame of Israel Apartheid Week

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The Shame of Israel Apartheid Week

Source: Arutz Sheva, 3-12-13

The blood libel seems to have gained respectability in the halls of academia now that Israel Apartheid Week has become an annual rite on college campuses across North America….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 11, 2013: Israel Apartheid Week at Carleton University quieter this year, students say

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IAW at Carleton quieter this year, students say

Source: Canadian Jewish News (blog), 3-11-13

Speaking before the week’s activities, Emile Scheffel, Israel advocacy co-ordinator at Hillel Ottawa, said he wasn’t expecting IAW to be as loud as it has been in the past on campus….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 8, 2013: Positive activities counter “Israel Hate Week” on Illinois campuses

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Positive activities counter “Israel Hate Week” on Illinois campuses

Source: Jewish United Fund, 3-8-13

Every year campuses throughout the country, including Illinois, are confronted with an organized week of events aimed at delegitimizing Israel. Labeled “Israel Apartheid Week” and arranged by anti-Israel organizations….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 8, 2013: Israelis combat Apartheid Week with words

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Israelis combat Apartheid Week with words

Source: The Catholic Register, 3-8-13

A week before Israeli Apartheid Week is set to send Canadian universities into their annual turmoil over the Middle East, a group of young Israelis are storming campuses armed with a capacity for conversation….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 7, 2013: Jewish Harvard University Students Receive Mock Eviction Notices as Part of Israel Apartheid Week

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Jewish Harvard Students Receive Mock Eviction Notices

Jewish students at Harvard University receive mock eviction notices in light of “Israel Apartheid Week.”

Source: Arutz Sheva, 3-7-13

The campaign, organized by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, distributed notices at the beginning of March which read, “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days”, a reference to the group’s views regarding Israel’s treatment of the Arab population….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 7, 2013: Eviction notices in Harvard promote ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

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Eviction notices in Harvard promote ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

‘Your suite is scheduled for demolition,’ says mock notice posted on Harvard student dorms, promoting ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’; ‘Trying to silence Israeli support,’ says enraged Jewish leader

Source: Ynetnews, 3-7-13

The battle for the American student public continues, with pro-Palestinian Harvard students posting mock eviction notices on the doors of student dorms on campus, warning students their homes are scheduled for demolition.

“This may seem harsh, but this is the state of affairs in the West Bank,” say the notices posted on March 2, promoting the “Israeli Apartheid Week” organized by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, head of the “Hillel” Jewish students organization in Harvard, said this is an all too familiar tactic: “Had the group placed its flyers on bulletin boards, there would be no violation of University policy, no warning from administrators in reply, and no big story about ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ in the campus or national news.”…READ MORE

Related stories:

Israel Advocacy News March 5, 2013: Countering Israel Apartheid Week on Canadian University Campuses

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What students are talking about today (March 5th)

Source: Macleans, 3-5-13

It’s Israel Apartheid Week again and both Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the annual hate-fest on Monday. So did at least one student op-ed, in Trent University’s Arthur, whose author argues the term apartheid is inaccurate. There was also a review of a film that compares Israel and apartheid South Africa in The Concordian.

Here’s part of Jason Kenney’s statement:

“I share the concerns of other Canadians about the reckless and overheated rhetoric associated with anti-Israel activities on many Canadian university campuses, and the toxic manner in which these activities are often carried out. There is no better example than the so-called ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW). Its organizers and participants have a regrettable history of promoting and holding events in ways that disregard the security and rights of Jewish faculty and students, censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse. The disproportionate vitriol directed against the democratic State of Israel during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ stands in stark and ironic contrast to the silence of IAW organizers on the ongoing atrocities committed by the Syrian regime against its own citizens, and on the rampant brutalities and denial of rights in non-democratic countries in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world…. Operating under the guise of academic freedom, Israel Apartheid Week is a misleading attempt to delegitimize and demonize the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East.”

Israel Advocacy News May 16, 2012: A Look Back: 2011-2012 in Campus Israel Advocacy

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A Look Back: 2011-2012 in Campus Israel Advocacy

Source: Israel Campus Beat, The Jewish Press, 5-16-12

israel+in+the+mirror
Photo Credit: Israel Campus Beat

UN vote reactions. BDS efforts. Anti-Israel Conferences. Gilad Shalit’s release. Social media advocacy. Failed and successful collaborations.

It’s been an eventful year on campus, and through it all, Israel Campus Beat has been reporting on the Israel-on-campus reality. Here’s a look at the 2011-2012 academic year through the keen eyes of ICB.

In the Beginning

The year began with the debate over Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly (GA) in September. In preparation for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for statehood at the GA, Hillel’s Center for Israel Engagement led an initiative, Tents for Israel, to educate students about Israel and enable them to ask questions about Israel in a secure space.

Even prior to Hillel’s initiative, however, the Israel on Campus Coalition and partners launched the Real Partners. Real Peace (RPRP) campaign in July to prepare students on campus to deal with questions about the Palestinian statehood bid. The RPRP campaign promoted the need for direct negotiations between responsible partners to end the conflict by encouraging students to write op-eds on campus, circulate petitions, and undertake other efforts to raise awareness in the campus community. At the launch, students gathered from across the nation, sharing ideas for effective campus advocacy, and used ideas from their discussions not only for the RPRP campaign but also for larger Israel advocacy efforts. To help spread the campaign and keep students connected, RPRP relied heavily on social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Advocacy

Social media was a major tool for Hasbara Fellowships, who created the “Friend Request Pending” campaign (as part of RPRP). Using Facebook as their theme, Hasbara created a YouTube video to spread the message that Israel wants to become “friends” with Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and others, but the friendship requests are rejected.

Activists on other campuses, such as Brandeis University, have also used video to promote pro-Israel messages. Other students attended the David Project’s Video Production Seminar back in November to learn more about promoting Israel through video; one video, created by a David Project video intern, has been viewed more than 20,000 times.

Social media is quickly becoming a top tool for Israel advocacy. When IDF soldier Gilad Shalit’s release (after more than five years in captivity) was announced in October, Israel supporters turned to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread the good news and share their support. Campus Israel groups use Facebook and Twitter to keep students informed of upcoming meetings and events on campus. Students are taking advantage of the technology of the 21st century and using it for Israel advocacy.

Reaching Out

As important as social media is, it does not replace the fundamental need for building relationships. In the past year, pro-Israel students have sought to establish relationships with pro-Palestinian student groups, though the efforts are fraught with challenges. Early in the school year, ICB reported on a coalition between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Noles for Israel (NFI) at Florida State University (FSU). Such efforts are so rare that they can seem too good to be true, and in this case, it was. A mere month after the start of this new, hopeful coalition, FSU’s SJP invited Norman Finkelstein, a notoriously anti-Israel speaker, to campus and the partnership ended bitterly.

A successful partnership, however, blossomed this year at a different Florida university. At the University of Miami, an MZ-Grinspoon Intern started a new pro-Israel organization on campus, the I-Team, that includes Jewish, Palestinian and Christian members who work together harmoniously.

Countering anti-Israel Sentiment

In response to a conference at the University of Pennsylvania that sought to advance the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort, Israel supporters galvanized to offer a broad range of activities designed to counter the anti-Israel activity. Student activists from all over traveled to Penn to engage students in discussions about Israel. With Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz as the keynote speaker and over 800 students attending Friday night dinners devoted to discussing the conflict, the effort succeeded in creating a positive view of Israel on campus and yielded an Ivy League joint leadership statement condemning the BDS movement.

Later in the year, Dershowitz shared his views with ICB about the Harvard University student conference in March, entitled “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Solution.” Student activists and the professionals who support them have learned a lot from the encounters with anti-Israel activity on and off the campus over the past year. But the most prominent lessons to be learned may be the importance of building and maintaining coalitions and partnerships with diverse groups.

The Collaboration Key

Israel groups are learning that their events are most successful and best received when they utilize cross-cultural programming that engages a wide cross-section of the campus community. Long gone are the days when Jewish students are seen as the only Israel advocates; nowadays, Israel advocates span a broad spectrum of diverse backgrounds, whether they are Christians who are trained on a summer tour or students who attend advocacy leadership training in Texas, Jewish and Latino students in a coalition at the University of Texas, or non-Jewish fraternity brothers keen on helping their Jewish fraternity brothers advocate for Israel on campus.

The 2011-2012 academic year has been filled with ideas, challenges, and successes for the campus Israel community. Israel advocates have strengthened their resolve to build partnerships and share information, and they have become increasingly aware of the many organizations and networks that are available to assist them.

Israel advocates can reflect on a successful year of activity, but are not wasting time to plan for the future. Summer offers many opportunities to gain insights and build skills that will serve Israel on the nation’s campuses next fall, when the cycle begins again.

Israel Advocacy News March 1, 2012: ‘Israel Apartheid’ Week Reaches Brandeis University

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‘Israel Apartheid’ Week Comes to Brandeis

Fiery Pro-Palestinian Speaker Promotes ‘One-State’ Solution

One-State Speech: Last month, Boycott Israel protesters held a conference at the University of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ came to Brandeis for the first time.

peter tobia
One-State Speech: Last month, Boycott Israel protesters held a conference at the University of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ came to Brandeis for the first time.

Source: The Forward, 3-1-12

The protest movement known as Israeli Apartheid Week is well underway at campuses across the U.S. And this year, there’s a new college on the roster: Brandeis University.

Heated discussion over Israel is not new to the predominantly Jewish school, but this is the first time that the campus’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter has organized a series with the controversial moniker.

“In the past, we were worried about using the word ‘apartheid,’” said Noam Lekach, a Brandeis sophomore who helped plan the event. “We decided we wanted to tell the truth.”

Ali Abunimah, a rising pro-Palestinian speaker and activist, delivered the keynote speech at Israeli Apartheid Week, speaking Wednesday night to about 80 students and faculty members in a room on the Brandeis campus that was two-thirds full.

Abunimah is a proponent of the one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which calls for Jews and Palestinians to live with equal rights in a single, secular state encompassing the borders of present-day Israel and the occupied territories.

He called the two-state solution, calling for independent Israeli and Palestinian states side by side, a “political science fiction” that is proving increasingly unworkable by the day.

“The reality of a single state is one that is inexorably going to dawn on more and more people,” said Abunimah. “The only questions will be how to resolve it. Will it end in catastrophe? Or will we move toward a democratic outcome in which the status of Israeli Jews is changed from that of settlers to citizens and Palestinians from native colonized people to equal citizens as well?”

The one-state solution, which Israel advocates say will spell the end of the Jewish state, will also be discussed at the Harvard Kennedy School this weekend at a conference featuring Palestinian academics and activists. The “One State Conference” has raised the hackles of mainstream Jewish groups, with the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman writing in a letter to Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust: “This conference links Harvard and the Kennedy School with a discredited concept having a singular outcome: the elimination of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.”…READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-ed March 1, 2012: Dore Gold: Now playing on a campus near you Israel Apartheid Week ignorance, lack of regard for facts

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Now playing on a campus near you: ignorance, lack of regard for facts

Source: JWeekly, 3-1-12

Anti-Israel hatred on campus crests each year during an event called “Israel Apartheid Week.”

With its ominous name and programs that thrive on ignorance and blind disregard for the facts, tens of thousands of college students are urged to rise up against Israel — painfully evoking the types of racist characterizations of the Jewish people that defined attitudes once heard in Europe in the middle of the last century.

This year’s display of anti-Israel fervor is currently occurring on or near campuses around the United States and Europe. In Berkeley, there were two main events this week, and three more next week. Starting Monday, March 5, IAW will also crank up in Canada, the Arab world and South Africa.

These campus initiatives were incubated in 2001 at the first Durban Conference, proclaiming “no apartheid South Africa in the 20th century and no apartheid Israel in the 21st.” This battle cry sparked the BDS movement calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish Israel, and it all evolved into an invective-loaded campaign that found a degree of favor on campuses coast to coast, not to mention among some labor unions, churches, media and cultural institutions.

But it is based on a lie.

Typically, those hurling these charges against Israel hope that their audiences are ignorant of the facts. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were not allowed to use white hospitals, they could not attend white universities and they could not participate in the South African parliament.

Visit Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem today, or any other hospital or health facility in Israel, and see Jewish and Arab doctors caring for Jewish and Arab patients. Witness for yourself at Hebrew University or any institution of higher learning as Jewish and Arab professors teach students of different backgrounds. Go to the Knesset, and observe the debates involving both Jewish and Arab parliamentarians.

Given this reality, Justice Richard Goldstone, a former judge on the South African Supreme Court, wrote in the New York Times on Oct. 31, 2011: “The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.”…

Two posters from the “Step Up For Israel” campaign, which is designed to counter  activities such as Israel Apartheid Week   images/courtesy of jerusalemonlineu.com

Two posters from the “Step Up For Israel” campaign, which is designed to counter activities such as Israel Apartheid Week images/courtesy of jerusalemonlineu.com

No nation has fought racism more consistently than the Jewish people, whether through the anti-apartheid activists in the South African Jewish community or through those American Jews who joined the civil rights movement. When Israeli medical teams rushed to international disaster zones in Turkey (1999), Kosovo (1999), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2008) and Haiti (2010), helping the afflicted regardless of their race or creed, they were driven by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam….READ MOR