Students from more than 80 campuses will be in Boston from August 12-15 for a high-level training conference on how to respond to the upsurge in campus anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism.
The conference is being hosted by the campus department of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), which will provide students a free trip to Boston to attend four full days of lectures, discussions and workshops.
“Campus anti-Semitism is a global challenge,” said Aviva Rosenschein, CAMERA’s international campus director. “We have students coming from as far as Europe and Israel.”
“Anti-Israel activity is getting more and more extreme,” said Josh Eibelman, a student at Cornell University. “The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has disappeared, if there ever was a distinction. That’s why we’re here, at CAMERA’s conference, to sharpen our arguments and strategies to effectively address the hostility that we’ll face in the coming year.”
At the end of 2018, Inside Higher Ed reported that prior to and after the fatal shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October of that year, “prejudicial displays have plagued college campuses, following a trend of anti-Semitism on the rise at colleges and universities—and around the country—since 2016.”
“You would think that the Pittsburgh shooting would have elicited sympathy for Jewish people,” Rosenschein said. “In some quarters, it did. However, we’ve also noticed that anti-Semitic violence seems to foment further acts of hate against Jewish students and professors. The violence, evidently, emboldens people with anti-Semitic beliefs.”
Rosenschein pointed to several examples in which Jewish students and property on various campuses had been threatened or vandalized. Swastikas were painted at Duke University, Cornell University and the University of Tennessee, while anti-Semitic vandalism, graffiti and hate-filled fliers were found at schools as diverse as the University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Goucher College, University of California, Berkeley and Davis campuses and at Vassar College and Marist College.
Rosenschein added, “We have students from virtually every kind of college, so the lesson here is that just about any institution can be infected with malicious anti-Israel propaganda and anti-Jewish discrimination. Students need to prepare themselves for it. We are offering them a crash course.”
Rosenschein said that CAMERA’s campus staff are able to assist so many different kinds of students because the staff work hard to understand the unique needs and cultures of the various college campuses. “We all come from different backgrounds but, ultimately, we unite under Zionism,” Rosenschein said.
CAMERA’s conference will host noted speakers, breakout sessions, interactive workshops and presentations throughout the five days. Attendees will also meet other Israel advocates from around the world, all while heeding the call to stand up for the Jewish homeland on campus this fall.
Some of the speakers include: Alyza Lewin from the Brandeis Law Center; Kasim Hafeez, who was once a radical anti-Israel extremist; Shai Deluca Tamasi, a North American TV personality; Itzik Yarkoni, a top public relations and marketing consultant; Joe Truzman who is a Twitter sensation for his reporting on Gaza; and CAMERA’s research staff.
“What CAMERA offers these brave students is both emotional support and serious intellectual lessons on how to talk about Israel in a persuasive way,” Shai Deluca Tamasi said. “Over the four days, students will receive practical techniques and lots of resources and strategies for combating campus anti-Semitism.”
“This is our ninth conference,” said Hali Haber, campus director for CAMERA. “It’s an intense four days of training, but it’s only the beginning. Throughout the year we will be working with these students, supplying them with resources to push back against the anti-Semites and anti-Israel radicals on campus.”
“Because of these students,” Haber added, “you can be confident that Israel’s story will be heard. We won’t be silenced or intimidated.”
For more information on CAMERA’s student program, visit www.cameraoncampus.org.