Over the last ten years the battle for support of Israel has been fought on college campuses across the country. During that time, Israel's detractors have become more nuanced, coordinated and hateful. "Occupy" style protests, boycott divestment and sanctions movements, cultural activities and Israel Apartheid Week (scheduled for the last week of February) are tactics used to achieve one goal: to delegitimize the existence of a Jewish state.
For that reason, JUF's Israel Education Center has crafted a comprehensive manual entitled "The Playbook" to tackle the delegitimization effort head-on. The goal of The Playbook, is not only to provide students with a resource they can turn to when different forms of anti-Israel activity flare up, but ultimately to serve as a comprehensive tool that will motivate students to take back the conversation about Israel with tenacity, perseverance, and professionalism. If student advocates throughout the nation are equipped with a game plan that addresses the movement as a whole, they will be empowered to stand up and speak out for Israel. The Israel on Campus Coalition and the Israel Action Network have signed on as co-sponsors.
JUF's Israel Education Center (IEC) supports year-round programming for initiatives which promote the positive aspects of Israel and is on the front-lines with students when anti-Israel activity occurs. It is because of the positive, constant stream of pro-Israel activities that we are not losing hearts and minds on campus. In the next two weeks DePaul University, Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, Bradley University, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and University of Chicago will be holding Israel Peace Weeks. The programming is a grassroots initiative, in concert with Hasbara Fellowships, to counter anti-Israel propaganda with a simple, positive message: Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its willingness to make painful sacrifices for peace.
Activities including movie screenings, tabling with educational materials, social media campaigns, lectures, and petitions are scheduled to occur across the state. The majority of these programs are co-sponsored by multiple non-Jewish student groups, an effective tool for gaining wide-reaching support for Israel. The efforts of Israel Peace Week are designed not only to educate students, faculty and staff but to off-set any negative messaging presented during Israel Apartheid Week.
The Israel Education Center is an arm of JUF's Department of Campus Affairs and Student Engagement