Interesting things are afoot on the pro-Israel front.
The David Project has moved towards the center (and grabbed some headlines in doing so), President Obama will be speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference in early March, and recent polls have the American public standing firmly behind Israel to the tune of 71% percent support.
All of this is happening despite the best efforts of anti-Israel activists on college campuses with their BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaigns and Apartheid accusations.
It’s no secret that the shared values of America and Israel continue to form the basis of the staunch support that the American people and their politicians have for the State of Israel. But, as the best lobbyists will tell you, one can’t assume that will always be the case, so continuing to advocate for Israel and justifying that ongoing support is critical.
A piece of that advocacy work has been claimed and championed on college campuses by the Hasbara Fellowships and the Israel Peace Week campaign, now in its third year. Israel Peace Week was established to combat the hateful Israel Apartheid Weeks that were proliferating on college campuses, and now has grown to 75 campuses nationwide.
In our neighborhood, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Clark University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Wellesley College, and the University of Vermont have all gotten on board with Israel Peace Week. On campuses nationwide Israel Peace Week will feature diverse presentations on subjects like Israeli-Jordanian water cooperation, Israel’s international humanitarian work, social media activism, and screenings of the powerful film “Voices from El-Sayed.”
In short, it’s not an us-versus-them approach to Israel advocacy, it’s an all-of-us-together approach. It seeks to educate the masses about why Israel matters and why Israel is worth caring about and supporting.
Israel Peace Week has captured the spirit of the new Israel activism in a way few have been able to. By using grass-roots organizing on college campuses and designing innovative ways of presenting Israel in a way which is non-combative but extremely effective, its leaders have managed to grow the program into a movement that should continue to stake out new territory in pro-Israel activism in the future.