Israel Advocacy News May 23, 2013: McGill University Honorary degree recipient Judith Butler a controversial figure



Honorary degree recipient Judith Butler a controversial figure

Source: Montreal Gazette, 5-23-13

Philosopher and academic Judith Butler has courted controversy wherever she goes to receive awards because of her perceived anti-Israel activism, and her upcoming appearance at McGill University to receive an honorary degree is no different….

The leading theorist on gender and sexuality is to receive an honorary doctor of letters on May 30, to be conferred by the faculties of arts and religious studies. The decision has already sparked opposition from Hillel McGill and McGill Students for Israel (MSI)….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News March 1, 2012: Pro-Israel Student activists preempt Israel Apartheid Week



Pro-Israel Student activists preempt Israel Apartheid Week

Campuses around the nation, including in Illinois, are confronting the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week, arranged by anti-Israel organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine. Apartheid weeks have included mock check-points meant to hassle students, apartheid walls erected to misrepresent Israel’s anti-terror barrier, and speakers touring campus calling for boycotts, divestments, and international sanctions of the Jewish State.  This week of activities is yet another tactic created by Israel’s detractors to demonize the State and delegitimize the very existence of Israel.  Other tactics including “occupy” style protests and cultural activities occur regularly throughout the academic year….

In an effort to preempt Israel Apartheid Week, pro-Israel activists on campuses across Illinois decided on a different approach. Instead of responding, reacting, or countering the rhetoric of Israel Apartheid Week, students produced their own series of events to highlight the Israel they know, love, and defend entitled Israel Peace Week.READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 29, 2012: University of Cincinnati students observe Israel Peace Week



Promised land peace: University of Cincinnati students observe Israel Peace Week

Source: The News Record, 2-29-12

For more information…

On Thursday, the group is presenting a viewing of “Israel Inside” at 7 p.m. in McMicken Hall, Room 26.

Israeli Foreign Minister Uri Palti will be present throughout Thursday’s Bearcats for Israel

University of Cincinnati students scribbled what peace means to them on small sheets of white paper. According to them, peace means “no war with Iran”, “accepting others despite our differences”, “compromising and giving a little to achieve something bigger”, “no nuclear bombs” and “coexistence and good relationships with everyone.”

With the intent of promoting and spreading the idea of a peaceful Israel, colleges across the United States launched Israel Peace Week from Feb. 27 through March 1. Israel Peace Week is a grassroots campaign to counter anti-Israel propaganda with the simplistic and positive idea that Israel wants peace and is willing to make sacrifices for the ideal.

In 2010, a group of four pro-Israel students developed the campaign to educate their campus peers about Israel’s efforts for peace.
“To be pro-Israel is to be pro-peace,” said Bearcats for Israel President Judith Wertheim.

Throughout the week, the Bearcats for Israel group organized a table of information in the Tangeman University Center to educate students about the cause.

“We think it’s important to provide easy access to education about Israel Peace Week,” Wertheim said. “We have the Hasbara Fellowship Israel Peace Week handouts to explain a little bit more about what we’re about.”

Hasbara Fellowship is a leading pro-Israel campus activism organization working with approximately 120 campuses in North America.

“It’s a program where leaders, like myself, go to Israel for about 10 days to meet with foreign ministers and reporters,” Wertheim said. “We’re taught the basics of everything that has to do with Israel and how to advocate for Israel on campus.”…READ MORE

Israel Advocacy Op-eds February 1, 2012: Wayne L. Firestone: Colleges playing catch-up on Israel



Op-Ed: Colleges playing catch-up on Israel

Source: JTA, 2-1-12

Just as college students were finishing their winter exams, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg selected a partnership of The Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell University to build a campus on Roosevelt Island that will become a global center for technological talent and entrepreneurship.  Few people know that before these universities formalized collaboration on today’s most cutting-edge engineering and scientific work, the Hillels at each of the institutions collaborated through networks of entrepreneurial students to advance common interests that spanned Jewish, social and business realms.

In this and many other respects, our students are ahead of us. In developing direct student-to-student ties, they have chosen the most direct way to connect with Israel via their Israeli peers. On more than 75 campuses nationwide, students are connected directly with Israel Fellows and MASA peer interns (trained by the Jewish Agency and Hillel) who encourage them to participate in scores of student Israel initiatives that speak to diverse political, cultural, educational and social interests.  Today, tens of thousands of college students are now proactively defining their relationship with Israel in the most meaningful and intimate ways and not merely embracing a slogan, ideology or myth.

This picture is much different than the one often presented by campus critics and commentators. As an example, Tom Friedman of The New York Times recently presented a distorted picture of students’ relationships to Israel. He claimed students at leading universities would “boycott” appearances by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The immediate reaction this produced proved him wrong:  Three dozen mainstream student leaders from the University of Wisconsin responded by signing a public statement of support of the U.S.-Israel relationship — and sent it to Friedman — and a group of Jewish student leaders invited Netanyahu to speak on campus.

A similar phenomenon occurred last year when Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was outrageously interrupted at the University of California, Irvine, by a small fringe group whose leaders were subsequently expelled, indicted and criminally convicted.  Allowed to finish his speech,  Oren did actually receive a standing ovation, although it was not a focus in the media….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy 101: Israeli University grads to serve as campus emissaries



Israeli grads to serve as campus emissaries

Source: JTA, 11-3-11

A new program will send Israeli university graduates as emissaries to college campuses around the world.

The program, a collaboration between the Jewish Agency for Israel and the National Union of Israeli Students, was launched Wednesday. It will send the graduates to serve for one year at universities around the world to influence public opinion as favorable to Israel on campus as well as to reinforce the bond between Jewish college students and Israel.

Some of the emissaries also will be sent to small Jewish communities in countries such as Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Peru, Belgium, Holland and Norway, as well as cities such as Santa Fe, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Turin, Italy; and Johannesburg, South Africa.

The pilot project will begin this academic year with about a dozen participants, with plans to expand later to hundreds of participants. Students selected for the program will undergo in-depth training during their final year in university.

“The most important mission of the Jewish people today is to strengthen the connection of the younger generation with the heritage, the people and the State of Israel,” said Natan Sharansky, the Jewish Agency’s chairman. “There is no substitute for a young Israeli who comes to campuses abroad and represents Israel with a lot of knowledge and a lot of pride.”