Sunday, December 8, 2013

Empowering Jewish students on campus by empowering Hillel

Some strategies for when hate filled events come to your campus, from the New York Jewish Week as written by Eric Fingerhut, Hillel’s President and CEO and Jonathan Kessler , AIPAC’s Leadership Development Director.

The Jewish community is rightly concerned with a campus environment that is too often hostile to Israel. Public demonstrations, inflammatory language and personal attacks by anti-Israel organizations seek to exploit the spirit of open debate and public action central to American academic life.

Rather than reflexively respond to the animosity of others, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—America’s pro-Israel lobby—and Hillel— the center of Jewish life on over 550 campuses worldwide—are working together to strategically and proactively empower, train and prepare American Jewish students to be effective pro-Israel activists on and beyond the campus.  

We are leveraging the reach and resources of our respective organizations and partnering with the many other important pro-Israel organizations that gather together as the Israel on Campus Coalition. As we work together, we develop better and more effective strategies for minimizing the impact of anti-Israel activities on campus.  We build on this growing base of knowledge and experience every day.
 Fingerhut and Kessler discuss Stanford University's successful response to anti-Israel organizing on campus,concluding

The result? Students emerged more confident in their skills, beliefs and the community around them, to stand in support of Israel. During a challenging time, the Jewish campus community continued to thrive.

The success at Stanford, and on campuses that have experienced similar activity, is a lesson in the best way to confront those seeking to exploit the campus for their anti-Israel agenda. We will continue to provide affirmative ways for Jewish students and the rest of the university community to learn and to articulate the case for Israel.  This is essential year-round, not just when anti-Israel forces are mobilized on campus.  This effort requires that our organizations, AIPAC and Hillel, remain close, strategic partners. 

We are proud that the organizations we help lead work every day to support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. AIPAC and Hillel both raise their voices for Israel, and both work to engage students on campus to love Israel and to strengthen the ties between Israel and their college environments.

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