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

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

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

Israel Advocacy News February 26, 2012: Israeli Apartheid Week marked in US campuses

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Israeli Apartheid Week marked in US campuses

Pro-Palestinian campaign, marked in European universities last week, arrives in US. CEO of pro-Israeli organization says there is hostile environment toward Israel in 60-80 out of 4000 American universities

Source: YNet News, 2-26-12

The Israel Apartheid Week, a pro-Palestinian international campaign which includes films, lectures, demonstrations and calls for a boycott of Israel, commenced in US campuses on Sunday. The anti-Israel event was initiated in Europe eight years ago. This year’s event will last six days in the US and then move to Canada.

Related Stories:

Contrary to alarming headlines in local media, US students are not as troubled by Apartheid Week events as it would seem. A survey among American students reveals that 80% are in fact not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The survey also indicates that 15% students are pro-Israeli compared with only 5% of students who are pro-Palestinian.

In fact, many students regard Apartheid Week with its rallies and “checkpoints” as mainly annoying. Out of roughly 4,000 campuses in the US, almost all do not have an anti-Israel atmosphere. Only a few dozen campuses hold a prominent debate on the issue.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry assists some 10 Jewish and non-Jewish organizations in their efforts to promote a pro-Israel discourse in these campuses. One of them is the the David Project, which was founded in Boston in 2002 during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The organization aims to promote the idea that Israel plays the part of “David,” of the David and Goliath story, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"80% לא מתעניינים בסכסוך". הפגנה פרו-ישראלית בלונדון (צילום: רועי גולדמן)

 Pro-Israeli demonstrations in England (Photo: Roi Goldman)

In a new report on the state of anti-Israel sentiment in the campuses, the David Project determines there is anti-Israel hostility in 60-80 US campuses, mainly in art programs. These colleges don’t necessarily have a hostile environment for Jewish students, but there is a spillover effect of anti-Israeli opinions, especially among student leadership that are dangerous in the long-run.

“The main challenge is not to stop de-legitimization, but to prevent it from rising in the first place”, said Executive Director David Bernstein….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 22, 2012: The David Project: Anti-Israel attitudes spreading at U.S. universities, report says

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Anti-Israel attitudes spreading at U.S. universities, report says

The David Report says that while anti-Semitism is less of an issue for U.S. Jewish college students, negativity about Israel threatens to erode bipartisan support.

Source: Haaretz, Forward, 2-22-12

A report released February 8 by The David Project, one of a handful of Jewish groups devoted to campus activism on Israel, paints a nuanced picture of the challenges Israel faces on U.S. university campuses. Called “A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges,” the paper claims that universities are host to the worst anti-Israel behavior in America, even as the American public, more broadly, is supportive of the Jewish state.

But veering from the Israel advocacy world’s frequent position, the report makes a strong distinction between “anti-Israelism” and anti-Semitism on campus. Conflating the two does not “jive” with the experience of Jewish students who feel largely comfortable in American universities, the report warns. The problem, it stresses, is not anti-Semitism; it’s a “drip-drip negativity” about Israel that, according to the David Project’s Executive Director David Bernstein, threatens to erode support over the long term.

U.S. university students. University students in the U.S.
Photo by: Courtesy of the David Project / Forward

“The chief concern, therefore, is not the welfare of Jewish students,” the report states, “but that a pervasively negative atmosphere will affect the long-term thinking of current college students, negatively affecting strong bipartisan support for Israel.”

The way the new David Project sees it, a subtle problem deserves a subtle response. Its new agenda focuses on selling Israel rather than on reaming out its critics. Rather than counter anti-Israel speech on campus with flashy events featuring big-name speakers, the group proposes a kind of pro-Israel diplomacy in which students “map” their campuses to find and influence thought leaders — namely, other students and faculty members….Read more at the Forward.

Israel Advocacy Op-ed February 16, 2012: Maintaining the message of Israel Peace Week

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Maintaining the message of Israel Peace Week

Source: Natalie Menaged, JWeekly, 2-16-12

Next week, Israel haters again will launch the misinformed and misinforming movement known as Israel Apartheid Week at universities and in communities throughout the world. The good news is that while Israel Apartheid Week claims to be growing, its execution on North American campuses is limited to a handful, and even on those campuses the organizers do not reach many undecided students.

Meanwhile, another student-led movement about Israel will include participants on 75 campuses across North America, and is poised to impact a far larger and more diverse audience. The movement is Israel Peace Week, a student-conceived, grass-roots educational campaign now in its third year.

Created as a pre-emptive response to Israel Apartheid Week, Israel Peace Week has developed into a proactive and engaging campaign that is effective regardless of whether there is anti-Israel activity on a specific campus.

Israel Peace Week revolves around a simple, yet often understated message: Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace. The campaign also outlines options for peace, existential threats to the Jewish state, and the values and accomplishments of a thriving Israeli democracy in an otherwise despotic region.

Organizers of Israel Peace Week employ methods such as interactive displays in the center of campus, cultivating relationships with non-Jewish groups on campus, writing in the campus newspaper, and innovative social media campaigns in order to educate as many of their peers as possible.

In stark contrast, the main thrust of Israel Apartheid Week is to generate support for the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, a campaign that calls on universities and individuals to divest from companies that do business in Israel, boycott the sale of goods produced in West Bank settlements, and boycott Israeli universities and professors.

By singling Israel out for censure and advocating for a one-state solution, BDS is not simply a movement to criticize Israeli policy but an effort to delegitimize the state itself….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 16, 2012: US Jews battle apartheid charges made against Israel during Israel Peace Week

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

U.S. Jews battle apartheid charges made against Israel

Campus activists across America are staging Israel Peace Week in an effort to combat the annual festival of anti-Israel vitriol.

Source: Haaretz, 2-16-12

This is a busy time in the calendar of an Israeli journalist in the United States. AIPAC and J Street are holding their annual conferences, Washington think tanks are discussing the Arab Spring, Iran and Syria. And then there is the 8th annual Israel Apartheid Week coming up (February 26 – March 3) with the usual discussions, films and photo exhibitions, flashmobs and an apartheid poster contest offering a $400 dollar prize. For the most part, the pro-Israeli community hasn’t yet figured out the best way to deal with this event, and so they opt to ignore it.

But there are a few exceptions. Among those who have chosen to confront the apartheid events are 75 universities across North America (up from 50 last year) that are holding “the Israel peace week,” where they will try to convey the message that “Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace.”

Apartheid Week - February 2012 A poster for this year’s Israel Apartheid Week.

“You refer to ‘pro-Palestinian activists’ but most of those aggressive people are anti-Israel, not pro-Palestinian,” says Natalie Menaged, education director of the independent NPO, the Hasbara Fellowships, which trained the Jewish student organizers of the “Israeli peace week.”

“I have yet to see them organize a national campaign to teach about Palestinian culture or plans for peace. They are only interested in propagating hatred of Israel. Our campaign, Peace Week, is more pro-Palestinian than anything the anti-Israel organizers are doing because we are actually discussing solutions.”

Menaged says the idea of “Israel peace week” – which will run from February 20 to March 9 – is “to engage the people in the middle, not the anti-Israel movement.” The campus organizers vary, and in many instances, are a combination of Jewish and non-Jewish students, who developed the concepts of the event on their own. The organization, however, provided them with print materials, films and speakers, if requested. This year’s materials include quotes of each Republican candidate, as well as President Obama, regarding their positions on Israel.

Menaged believes that this approach has proved successful. “At places like Berkeley or Rutgers University or Carleton University (Ottawa ), which have a history of anti-Israel activity, supporters of Israel have been able to change the conversation to one about what needs to be done for peace. And at the majority of schools, which don’t have a lot of anti-Israel activity – schools like Boston University, University of Illinois, Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University – it is an excellent way to start the conversation”, she says….READ MORE

Israel Advocacy News February 13, 2012: US & Canada University Campuses to Launch Pro-Israel ‘Peace Week’

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

US Campuses to Launch Pro-Israel ‘Peace Week’

Pro-Israel students at 75 universities across the US and Canada will launch “Israel peace Week” from next Sunday until March 9.
“Israel Peace Week” (Feb. 20-March 9) : (www.israelpeaceweek.org)

Pro-Israel students at 75 universities across the US and Canada will launch “Israel peace Week” from next Sunday until March 9 in an effort to counter widespread campus anti-Zionism and “Israel Apartheid Week,” which pictures Israel as an enemy to peace.

The grassroots initiative has “a simple, positive message: Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace,” according to organizers.

The number of universities participating in this year’s advocacy effort is 50 percent higher than last year, when the student-run Israel Peace Week was organized at 50 universities.

Events will include screening the “Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference” film about the country’s achievements, and a “Faces of Israel” panel of Israelis will discuss their stories about life in Israel.

The documentary avoids politics and focuses on stories of how Israelis resilience has propelled Israel to the forefront of world innovation and progress in the fields of science, environment, medicine and technology.

Other activities on campuses will include Israel’s options for peace in view of existential threats to the Jewish state, and participants will explore the values and accomplishments of a thriving Israeli democracy in the volatile Middle East that is dominated by autocrats.

Participating campuses include the University of California at Berkeley, a hotbed of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, the universities of Chicago, Texas, and Virginia, UCLA, DePaul University, Brooklyn College, Florida International University, Carleton University in Ottawa and Rutgers University.

Israel Advocacy 101: The David Project — White Paper: A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

The David Project — White Paper: A Burning Campus?
Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges

Click here to download the white paper in .PDF format

Executive Summary and Background

1. The worst years of recent Palestinian violence against Israel (2000-2004) saw a dramatic increase in negativity toward Israel on American college campuses. It became clear to many that the anti-Israel campaign had more influence and impact and was better organized than most observers had perhaps previously thought, and that in some ways pro-Israel advocates were largely unprepared to respond to the stepped-up activism.

2. This was coupled with a realization that the parameters of opinion on Israel on many key campuses may have shifted over the past generation in concert with a growing hostility toward the Jewish state in Europe and the most influential institutions of the global left.

3. A range of organizations focused solely or in part on dealing with the problem of anti-Israelism on the campus were founded in response. These included faculty-focused organizations, like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and student-focused organizations, like The David Project, both founded in 2002.[1]

4. A network was thus created of pro-Israel, campus-focused organizations, with a mix of strengths and capabilities and supported to at least some extent by established Jewish organizations. Up until recently, however, there has been little agreement about what the exact situation is for Israel on campus or how best to improve it.

5. Additionally, there has not to date been an attempt to conceptualize the campus specific situation for Israel in the United States or craft an overarching strategy for how to deal with it.

6. A conceptual framework for understanding the situation for Israel on American campuses and a strategy for improving it is thus necessary. The goal of this document is to fill this gap in order to assist the leadership and staff of the pro-Israel campus network and the wider Jewish community in developing a set of generally agreed upon principles.

7. The strength of this network is to at least some extent based on the practical independence of the individual organizations that comprise it. Tactical disagreements will no doubt persist. To maximize our impact, however, the network should strive to come to a shared understanding of the lay of the land.READ MORE