Every year campuses throughout the country, including Illinois, are confronted with an organized week of events aimed at delegitimizing Israel. Labeled "Israel Apartheid Week" and arranged by anti-Israel organizations, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, the week of fanfare should be named, more appropriately, "Israel Hate Week" (IHW).
In the past IHW has included mock check-points and "apartheid walls" erected to misrepresent Israel's anti-terror efforts, and speakers touring campus calling for boycotts, divestments, and international sanctions of the Jewish State. The rallying cry is to equate Israel with the former South African apartheid state.
This year, the 9th annual IHW has begun with little fanfare. On campuses throughout Illinois, seven low-key events have taken place attracting only activists regularly involved in anti-Israel activity. After so many years of altering tactics, the efforts of groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine to demonize Israel and delegitimize the very existence of a Jewish state continue to turn off mainstream students.
For its part, JUF's Israel Education Center continues to engage and educate thousands of students about Israel across 26 campuses in Illinois. During this academic year more than 70 positive activities--from in-class lectures, to movie nights--have presented topics ranging from Israeli history, to art, to music and human rights, all in partnership with more than 30 student associations, departments and faculty members.
The Israel Education Center will continue to monitor activities over the next several weeks and will work with our Israel Interns throughout the state to plan for Israel Independence Day celebrations, including the launch of Israel@65, a wide-reaching positive campaign for Israel on campuses across Illinois.
The programs of the IEC are supported by several local families and foundations through supplemental gifts beyond their generous JUF annual campaign contributions. To learn more about the IEC, please contact EmilyBriskman@juf.org
Laura Cusack is Program Director of the Israel Education Center.