JEWISH NATIONAL FUND-USA DRIVES POSITIVE NARRATIVE ON CAMPUS
Jewish and non-Jewish students are working together to promote informed dialogue about Israel on college campuses across the US, according to students at Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) College Summit in Washington, DC.
September 15, 2019 – A panel at this year’s JNF-USA's College Summit titled Positively Israel: Influencing the Narrative on Campus featured Jewish and non-Jewish students and professors who spoke about the importance of building relationships with open-minded students who are willing to engage in positive, constructive conversations about Israel.
“As a young person and a college student, I believe it is important for pro-Israel students to be leaders of the future, not the conflict,” said Caravan for Democracy participant and Hofstra University student, Deandra Denton. “Israel is one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. Participating in JNF-USA’s Caravan for Democracy helped shape my perception of Israel and allowed me to see that Israel is a diverse country with a rich and complex society. All too often, the topic of Israel is sloganized and simplified, and people fail to see the nuances that exist.”
The panel lamented the fact that anti-Israel students continue to promote negative and deliberately simplified views about Israel on campus, which in turn creates a tense and unwelcoming environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students.
“We create pro-Israel spaces on campus where people can come in and have a conversation about where they stand and how they perceive Israel,” said Co-Chair of JNF-USA’s College Summit and Ohio State University student, Maya Rosenberg. “The reality is that there are spaces on campus that refuse to allow pro-Israel students to express their opinions, however, we want to promote a dialogue that is respectful and open. There has never been a more important time for pro-Israel students to come together and JNF-USA is doing an amazing job to change the narrative on campus.”
The panel applauded JNF-USA’s Positively Israel campaign and how it enables students to experience Israel’s culture and history while making connections with Israelis and seeing that there is a narrative that exists beyond the conflict.
“It is the modus operandi of anti-Israel activists to make the conversation solely about the conflict and politics. Therefore, it’s important that supporters of Israel are given the tools they need to talk about the ‘real Israel’,” said Professor Srinagesh Gavirneni, professor of operations management at Cornell University. We must do more to get positive information about Israel out there given the fact that negative information flows freely on campus.”
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure for ecology, special needs, and heritage preservation.
This year's JNF-USA College Summit was the largest ever with over 350 students in attendance.
Stefan Oberman, JNF-USA Director of Communications.
Phone: +1.212.879.9305 x222. Email: [email protected]