By Rabbi Sharon Litwin, Director of Congregational Learning
This past Monday, June 15, CBI welcomed Danny Becker of The David Project to speak to our graduating seniors, their families and to the community at large about Israel Advocacy on Campus.
I was surprised that Danny’s approach to advocacy on campus was not fire and brimstone. It was not about raising up large numbers of people and getting rallies to happen, but instead he suggested that the most effective way to fight anti-Israel sentiments on campus is through relationship building. As everyone knows, college students, and well, really everyone, want to be in relationship with others all the time. Social connections are very important. Strong friendships develop in college over coffee and studying and exploring issues in depth in a way that doesn’t happen before college and probably doesn’t happen after college either.
So, Danny’s point was not to raise up an army of Israel Advocates to fight a loud fight, but to train individuals to know what they love about Israel, to be knowledgeable about Israel’s politics, history, policies, government and also about their people and language and geography and about the personal connections that they have to Israel. Talk about the Israel that you love, be connected to the people and experiences. Bring your connections to Israel to the table, so that it becomes personal and not political.
But, know your stuff, so that you can defend against what may come at you.
Here is a list of resources, compiled with the help of Susan Steinberg, a CBI member:
Organizations that provide education and support:
- Amcha Initiative
- Anti-Defamation League / Campus Affairs
- The David Project / Resources
- Camera on Campus
- Israel on Campus Coalition
- The Jewish Federations / Israel Action Network
- Hillel and the Hillel professionals on campus is always a good first place to start for resources, help, personal connections, support, guidance and programming.
Three major anti-Israel groups:
- Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
- Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS)
- Muslim Students Association
Jewish student groups that sympathize with SJP and BDS:
- Open Hillel
- Jews Allied for Social Justice
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