Israel Advocacy News April 19, 2012: With new class, University of California Berkley grad furthers her pro-Israel battle

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

With new class, Cal grad furthers her pro-Israel battle

Source: JWeekly, 4-19-12

At her upcoming workshops, co-leader Jessica Felber will stand before Jewish high school students, work herself up into a minor rage and harp about the Zionist entity being an apartheid state.

Not that she believes it.

The longtime pro-Israel advocate simply will be offering the students a taste of what may be in store for them once they get to college and face anti-Israel campus activism.

A 2010 graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Felber remembers what it was like for her and other Jewish students to endure the annual Israel Apartheid Week, when protestors carrying toy assault weapons set up mock checkpoints on campus.

That’s one reason she has helped organize “Step Up for Israel,” a series of three one-day pro-Israel education and advocacy training programs set to take place over the next month. The first is scheduled for Sunday, April 22 at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.

Jessica Felber

Jessica Felber

The workshops are co-sponsored by the pro-Israel advocacy organizations StandWithUs and JerusalemOnlineU.com.

After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, Felber moved to Los Angeles last year to become the West Coast director of Jerusalem Online U. This past February, she attended the Young Zionist Leadership Conference, a large gathering held in Florida and sponsored by the World Zionist Congress.

It was through her work with Jerusalem OnlineU, a Jewish education Web portal, that Felber dreamed up the workshop to teach high school students, especially seniors bound for college, how to respond to anti-Israel hate speech.

Each four-hour workshop will split into two tracks, one for the teens and another for their parents (or any other interested adult).

Sessions in each track will include lectures, educational film screenings and hands-on advocacy training taught by StandWithUs Bay Area campus staffers Guy Herschmann and Matthew White, along with prominent local pro-Israel activists Mike Harris and Ealon Joelson. Felber will run the teen portion.

As one teaching technique, workshop leaders will mimic the anti-Israel invective college students hear routinely on campus.

“We’ll show them Occupation 101,” said Felber. “This is so they can hear the arguments from anti-Israel people. The real purpose is to motivate and inspire them to learn more and give them practice before college.”

If Felber’s name sounds familiar, it’s because she was in the news before. In the wake of a 2010 incident during Israel Apartheid Week, Felber filed suit last year against U.C. Berkeley, its president and chancellor, as well as the Associated Students of the University of California.

At the time, she was co-president of the pro-Israel campus group Tikvah, which she co-founded.

Felber alleges that a pro-Palestinian protestor intentionally rammed her with a shopping cart, causing her injury.

The lawsuit has languished in the courts, with the judge dismissing some aspects and asking Felber’s attorneys to amend the complaint. But she says the suit is still in progress, and that she’s already seen results because of her legal action.

“This year at U.C. Berkeley’s Israel Apartheid Week, there were no realistic assault weapons,” she said, “which was not the case for a decade. That had been a huge cause of fear.”

Felber said that although she is suing for monetary damages, her true motivation for the suit is “to get the universities to be aware of what’s going on on campus and try to get them to change it.”

A native of San Diego, Felber grew up attending Jewish day schools, and pro-Israel advocacy was always important to her. Even before attending her first class at Cal, she says she was prepared for pro-Palestinian demonstrations on Sproul Plaza, the heckling of Israeli guest speakers and advocacy for Israel boycotts.

It was that tense and hostile atmosphere on campus that made her want to take up the pro-Israel cause all the more.

“That’s in part what drew me [to U.C. Berkeley],” she said. “I came in fairly confident, and was willing to stand up and defend Israel from the start. But I also know how difficult it is for other people to do that.”

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 Op-ed February 21, 2012: Natan Nestel: Groups that demonize Israel in college & university campuses should put themselves outside the tent

ISRAEL ADVOCACY 101

ISRAEL & ZIONIST EDUCATION

Natan Nestel: Groups that demonize Israel put themselves outside the tent

Hillel leaders should enforce National Hillel guidelines forbidding Israel-demonizing events and groups.

UC Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union’s decision to deny membership to J StreetU created controversy. Opponents of the decision claim that J Street is pro- Israel, no Jewish group should be excluded, and that any exclusion is undemocratic and alienates students.

Yet those who oppose J Street’s inclusion have good cause for concern. Consider some of the groups and speakers that J Street has brought to US campuses:

• “Breaking the Silence” (BTS-Shovrim Shtika) is a fringe Israeli group touring US campuses accusing the IDF of “war crimes.” This New Israel Fund (NIF) supported group claims that Israel commits “crimes against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing” and “violates human rights.” BTS is quoted 27 times in the infamous Goldstone Report, which Goldstone himself has disavowed. BTS still promulgates it.

This is the same BTS that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which leads the delegitimization campaign against Israel on campuses, lists on its website as an advocacy group for its anti-Israel campaign. BTS programs have been used during “Israel Apartheid Week” on US campuses.

• J StreetU arranged talks by John Ging, former director of UNRWA in Gaza. He is known for promoting political warfare against Israel and supporting the pro-Hamas flotillas.

• J StreetU promotes the NIF-funded Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (SJSM). The Jewish Agency describes the SJSM as “opposing the idea of Israel as a Jewish homeland and promoting an anti-Zionist agenda.” The group collaborates with the anti-Israel Global Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement, and defames Israel as a “fascist state.” They talk about victories over “cowardly Zionists” who are perpetrating an “apartheid state” and “ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” and urge liquidation of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.

• J StreetU also presents B’Tselem, funded by a BDS group and NIF. B’Tselem spearheaded the international campaign against Israel’s right to build the security fence to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel. B’Tselem “provided assistance to the investigative staff of the Goldstone mission from the beginning to the end of its research.” It is cited 56 times by Goldstone. It praised his report as “the result of a serious, professional investigation, reflecting a deep and genuine commitment to ensure that justice is done.”

B’Tselem has been lobbying foreign governments to adopt the Goldstone report. The chair of B’Tselem’s board, Oren Yiftachel, called for “effective sanctions” against Israel during the war against Hamas in Gaza, and supported the Palestinian “right of return,” which means the destruction of the Jewish state. Their CEO, Jessica Montell, has stated: “I think the word apartheid is useful for mobilizing people because of its emotional power.” The SJP, which delegitimizes Israel, lists B’tselem on its website as an advocacy group. B’Tselem programs have been used during “Israel Apartheid Week” on the US campuses.

What’s common to J StreetU events is not balanced, thoughtful discussion of Israel but the defamation of Israel, the spreading of falsehoods and one-sided attacks. According to Alan Dershowitz, “J Street has harmed Israel more than any American organization.” Its pro-Israel claims constitute “fraud in advertising.” “It has made a generation of Jews ashamed to be pro-Israel, and has made it politically correct among young people to single out Israel to a double standard and for fault.”

J Street is already entrenched at Berkeley’s Hillel and the JSU. The Hillel group, Kesher Enoshi (KE), is its proxy there. This year KE, along with J StreetU, brought the founder of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement in to speak at Hillel. He demonized Israel, proclaiming, “Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.” Berkeley’s Hillel director argued that this was “within the framework of national Hillel’s Israel policy.” However, National Hillel guidelines explicitly state that “Hillel will not partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel.” Hillel also funded its members’ trip to J Street’s national conference in Washington.

The toxic consequences of KE’s Israel-bashing events – organized in the past three years under the guise of “progressive Israel activism,” – demonstrate why groups that demonize, or collaborate with groups that do so, should be excluded….READ MORE

The immense potential of over 400,000 Jewish students on US campuses is not only untapped to advocate for Israel against the “industry of lies” advocated by the delegitimization network on campus, but that the students themselves are influenced by it, and consequently many of them have become alienated from Israel.

Would people who advocate the inclusion of demonizing groups, under the guise of promoting a “big tent,” welcome a Kahanist group or Jews for Jesus? In “Is J Street in the tent, or out?” Dr. Daniel Gordis observes: “It’s one thing to put ‘pro-Israel’ in your tag line, and another to be ‘pro-Israel.’ …Even a big tent, though, has its limits.”

Hillel leaders should enforce National Hillel guidelines forbidding Israel-demonizing events and groups. Demonizing groups and events place themselves outside the tent.

The writer, as a graduate student at UC Berkeley founded the Jewish Student Union and co-founded the Israel Action Committee (IAC) there. He also served as chairman of the Israeli Students Organization in North America and was on the executive board of the North American Jewish Students Network, the umbrella organization of Jewish Students in North America.