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November 22, 2013

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PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 22, 2013 AIPAC and Hillel: Working on campus to expand support for Israel By Eric Fingerhut and Jonathan Kessler The Jewish community is rightly concerned with a campus environment that is too often hostile to Israel. Public demonstrations, in- flammatory language and personal attacks by anti- . Israel organizations seek to exploit the spirit of open de- bate 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-lsrael 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 Cam- pus 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. A recent example of this extensive collaboration oc- curred in mid-October.Amid anti-Israel organizing at Stanford University, AIPAC planned and executed the Northern California Campus Summit with the Hillel at Stanford. The event explored critical issues facing Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East and attracted more than 100 campus opinion-leaders, including Jewish and non- Jewish student leaders and more than 20 campus profes- sionals from 17 colleges and universities in the area. Author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi addressed the issue of "Peace, Justice and the American Way" at a standing-room only lun- cheon that drew additional campus leaders fromavariety of political organizations in- cluding College Republicans and College Democrats. AIPAC's work was strongly supported by the students, staff and lay leaders of Hil- lel at Stanford, who helped with logistics and in recruit- ing students and faculty to attend. AIPAC's expertise brought a level of skill and sophistication on Israel ad- vocacy that is s.upported by Hillels on campuses across the country. In addition to the Summit, Hillel at Stanford organized an extraordinary array of Jew- ish and pro-Israel activities on campus. Hillel planned educational programs, in- cluding a lecture series en- titled"AWide Angle: Perspec- tives on a Democratic Israel," with former administration official and Ambassador Den- nis Ross, renowned Stanford Professor Larry Diamond, and other prominent schol- ars. Hillel also launched the "ConnectAcross Differences" Shabbat Dinner Initiative, which, as Hillel at StanfOrd Executive Director Rabbi Serena Eisenberg shared, engaged Jewish students and faculty in learning core texts related to Israel and skills of respectful debate. The result? Students emerged more confident in heir skills, beliefs and the community around them, to stand in support of Israel. During a challenging time, the Jewish campus com- munity 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 affirma- tive 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-lsrael forces are mobilized on cam- pus. 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 envi- ronments. Together, with all Others who love and support Israel on campus, we will never stop celebrating the remark- able story of the rebirth of Israel, andwe will never allow Israel's detractors to erode campus support for the Jew- ish State. Eric Fingerhut is the Hillel's president and CEO; Jonathan Kessler is AIPAC's leadership development di- rector. This article was first printed in The Jewish Week. Expert From page 8A Bass said the United States' objective in the region was "Arab hegemony" (domi- nance) but whenever there are movements toward a peace process the Arabs respond with violence against Israel, and we still see that today. Camp David 2000--The two-state solution In 2000, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Yasser Arafat, then president of the Palestinian National Authority, he could have 96 percent of the West Bank. Bass said Barak did this to out Arafat's true intentions of not wanting land for peace but all of Israel. Arafat turned down Barak's deal of 96 f)ercent of the West Bank, exposing the Palestin- ians true intentions. The Barak deal showed that Israel would be willing to pfit the entire West Bank on the table for peace--and that has been the United States' negotiating strategy today. Israel, however, must have secure borders befor there can be any peace. Going back to the 1967 borders is not an option, according to Bass. Arafat's chief negotiator said that Arafat would not go down in history as the Arab who gave up Sunni control of Islam's third holiest site, the Temple Mount, to the Jewish people. Bass concluded the peace process is not about land but about Islamic ideology. May 19, 2011, the New York Times headline read, 'Obama Sees '67 Borders as Starting Point For Peace Deal." Bass explained that if Israel were to go back to the 1967 borders it would be geographically unable to protect its borders. He encouraged his listeners to use their own critical think- ing to determine if President Obama's plan for a two-state solution is possible. He illustrated the point that Israel did give up control of the Gaza Strip and West Bank to the Palestinians and were repaid with thousands of modern missiles fired into Israel. If Israel were to go back to the '67 borders it would be only 9-miles wide at its narrowest point near Netanya. In conclusion, Bass stated: "I am not proposing a solution, it is a complicated situation... in Shariah Law, Islam can make a truce indefinitely with a stronger opponent... I'm not telling you what to believe you need to make your own free will decision. One must con- sider that Israel cannot sur- vive and defend its borders if it does not control the Jordan Valley, which would be part of a Palestinian State. This is just something to consider." Bass ended his lecture with this Golda Meir quote, "...I wish to say that from the time I came to Palestine as a young woman, we have been forced to choose between what is more dangerous and what is less dangerous for us. At times we have all been tempted to give in to various pressures and to accept proposals that might guarantee us a little quiet for a few months, or maybe even for a few years, but that could only lead us eventually into even greater peril...If Israel is not strong there will be no peace." Q&A session Question from student: "Why is it OK when Israel targets Palestinian civilians with bombs?" Bass' response: "You're asking are Israel's military initiatives just. I see a dif- ference in quality between a missile or rocket attack being launched against a civilian population versus a defensive measure to stop that from happening. I don't see Israel initiating these attacks, I see there are ten of thousands of rockets being fired at Israel and Israel's return fire is more accurate. I don't think that is a fair valuation. You're right that I did not show the other side, but not that I'm trying to hide anything. For me, there is a difference in quality for a state to defend its popula- tion from not one but tens of thousands of rockets. Let me tell you a first-hand story. When a siren goes off in Israelwarning of incoming rockets, the population has 15 seconds to find a shelter. I know a woman with three children and she literally has to decide which child to grab and run to the shelter (with) because at times she physi- cally can't get all three of her children in those 15 seconds. Israeli citizens are terrorized by these thousands of Pales- tinian rockets. You also have the issue from the other side where they appear to have a total lack of concern for human life. They fire their rockets from residential centers, schools, and hospitals as the U.N. turns a blind eye. The other side may say that if Israel wasn't blockading then the rockets wouldn't be fired into Israel, maybe that's true, I don't live in Gaza. It's complicated, I just don't see the Palestinians dealing fairly with its citizens. There is tremendous wealth yet a large segment of the population lives in Poverty. There are hundreds of mil- lions of dollars flowing into Gaza in aid money. Instead of building infrastructure they are using the money to buy more rockets. .Bass then addressed a ques- tion about "Israeli apartheid": "I gave you a definition for occupation, apartheid also has a definition. Apartheid's definition is state-sponsored racial segregation. Have you been to Israel?" Suissa. From page 4A Medical Center in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan. There, he would meet Mohammed al- Farra, a 3-year-old Arab tod- dler with no arms and no legs. As Ruthie Blum noted in Israel Hayom, Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Pal- estinian government refused "No, I'm Lebanese," re- sponded the questioner. "I hope you will visit Israel sometime, I don'twant you to take my word for this. There are 1.2 million Arab Israeli citizens going to work, have their own shopping centers, schools, et., living in peace with Israeli Jewish citizens, and if that is apartheid I'm not sure where that comes from. A questioner asked about Israeli African concentration camps. She referred to the Holocaust and Israel treating the Palestinians as the Jews were treated in World War II. Bass replied that he would have to hear specifics (the questioner could not pro- vide any facts or evidence to support her claim). Bass responded that he sees Israel putting themselves on the line economically for the Ethiopians and Sudanese who managed to survive crossing Egypt to get into Israel. "I see Israeli soldiers feed- ingand clothing theseAfrican immigrants when they enter Israel who are escaping Egypt as the Egyptians are firing live rounds at them," Bass stated. "You can read about these personal accounts online-- don't take my word for it. The facts show that Israel expends huge amounts of economic resources on these African im- migrants. It makes no sense the State of Israel would do these things if your claim of Israeli African concentration camps is true." Your questions about the Israeli Apartheid and African concentration camps does not fit with Israel flying trauma centers half way around the world to Japan and Haiti to name only two examples. American doctors say they are amazed at the humanitarian work Israel does whenever a natural disaster happens anywhere in the world. Israel cares for the Gaza and West Bank Palestinians in Israeli hospitals the same as they do for their own population. It does not fit that Israel would do this type of humanitarian work and then turn around and put Africans in concen- tration camps and practice apartheid. The facts and evidence do not support your claim although I appreciate you bringing up these ques- . tions," he said. I wonder what kind of boycott Hawlling would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learn- ing about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals? Well, I can think of at least one: Itwould be aboycott ofev- ery country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra. There might be a lot of countries on that list, but Israel won't be one of them David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp.Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewishjournaL com. to pay for his care. As soon as 6 5 1 8 7 4 3 9 2 he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treat- mentA, reportedinHuf00ost, 7, 2 3 5 9 1 6 4 8 his genetic disorder left him with aweakenedimmune 8 9 4 2 3 6 7 5 1 system, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be 9 1 6 7 5 8 4 2 3 amputated. Since then, hehasspent 2 3 8 6 4 9 5 1 7 his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment andlearninghow 5 4 7 3il 2 9 8 6 to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather liveswithhim. 3 8 2 4 6 5 1 7 9 Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israelidoctors, whohave 4 6 9 1 8 7 2 3 5 arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the 1 7 5 9 2 3 8 6 4 sunny pediatric ward.