A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America's Universities and Colleges

Feb. 18, 2012

Source: The David Project


There has not to date been an attempt to conceptualize the campus specific situation for Israel in the United States or craft an overarching strategy for how to deal with it. Based on significant research (including surveys of students, campus professionals, and faculty), this document intends is to fill this gap in order to assist the leadership and staff of the pro-Israel campus network and the wider Jewish community in developing a set of generally agreed upon principles.


The heart of campus strategy should be identification and engagement with key influencers on a given campus, with the goal of moving them a realistic distance toward Israel.


Pro-Israel organizations need to be more strategic in mapping campuses, guiding student leaders, and collaborating based on their individual strengths. The focus should be on moving the discussion of Israel in a positive direction, rather than responding to extreme anti-Israel activity. Student leaders can best do this by targeting influencers and tying their efforts to a long-term strategic vision designed for the conditions on their specific campus.


Julie Wiener of the Jewish Week writes:

"The paper urges Israel activists to avoid the usual shouting matches, sound bites and large “one-off” events and instead to focus on outreach to and partnerships with influential students and campus groups that are open to learning about Israel. It also emphasizes that activists need not embrace all of Israel’s policies, but rather promote acceptance for the following ideas: that “Jews are a people with a right to self-determination in their historic, ancestral homeland” and “Israel is a legitimate member of the international community and, while not perfect, is a free and peace-loving country that has and will in the long run be willing to make hard sacrifices for peace.”

Updated: Feb. 29, 2012