Nearly 100 college students from San Diego to San Francisco gathered at Sinai Temple on Sunday, Feb. 24, to dispute the anti-Israel action that has become increasingly prevalent on campuses. Action Israel offered intensive strategy and communications training in order to equip students with the tools necessary to counteract anti-Israeli sentiment.
The day began with an impressive panel of speakers, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Yuval Rotem.
"Without a physical homeland, your existence would be significantly different," Yaroslavsky said. "We would be vulnerable and at other people's mercies." The county supervisor offered advocacy strategies such as public protests and writing letters to newspapers. "Don't forget the impact that you can have on the course of history."
Rotem strongly held to his opinion that "anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic."
The next panel, moderated by Elan Carr, supreme governor of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), included speakers David Suissa, founder and CEO of Suissa Miller Advertising and founder of Olam magazine; and David N. Myers, professor of history at UCLA. Suissa expressed his belief that Palestinian civilians are not the enemy. Rather, they are at the mercy of corrupt leaders. Thus, he encouraged students "not to do advocacy for Israel, but to do advocacy for American ideologies."
The remainder of the day included dividing students into two discussion groups led by Dan Schurr, media and Republican political strategist, and Michael Parks, former Jerusalem bureau chief and editorial page editor for the Los Angeles Times. Schurr's presentation, "Stand and Deliver: The right words at the right times," dealt with the importance of knowing one's audience and what interests them, as well as knowing one's message and delivering it effectively. Parks' presentation, "The Pen and the Sword: Critical reading and strategic writing,' dealt with the media and how to engage an audience. In addition, Schurr gave tips on writing a good Letter to the Editor.
Plans have been made to follow up the program with the individual campuses in attendance in order to focus upon their unique needs.
The one-day seminar was sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, the Anti-Defamation League, the Consulate General of Israel, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Los Angeles Hillel Council, AEPi, Israel Aliyah Center, Jewish National Fund, Betar and Hamagshimim.