Despite many successes in the fight against the de-legitimization campaign against Israel, the assault continues and is gaining traction. One of its main staging grounds is the North American college campus, where, on some, the atmosphere regarding Israel has become tense, divisive, and even “poisonous.”
Following the Israeli government’s decision (Cabinet Communiqué, Item 14, 23.06.2013) granting responsibility for the fight against de-legitimization to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and following the steps taken since, we recommend the government promptly adopt an appropriately budgeted comprehensive strategy, and task a senior government official, who reports directly to the prime minister, with coordinating its operational implementation.
As part of this strategy, we recommend embarking on an offensive-minded campaign against the promulgators of Israel de-legitimization in the West, which will expose the “real face” of the de-legitimization movement (including its anti-Semitic aspects).
In order for such a campaign to proceed effectively a clear demarcation line must be drawn distinguishing between legitimate criticism of Israel and de-legitimization. This, however, is not a simple matter due to the politicization of the issue. We therefore recommend that the organized North American Jewish communities together with other Diaspora communities enter a process that will enable leadership in both North America and Israel to put aside their own views and develop a common and clear framework to determine what is and is not “anti-Israel.” In particular, we recommend, in coordination with Israel, initiating community wide discussion events to draw boundaries between legitimate criticism of Israel and de-legitimization.
JPPI is working to recruit and organize a group of international public intellectuals and opinion makers (including non-Jewish ones) from a broad political spectrum who support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, to assist in the fight against the international de-legitimization of Israel.
The Fight on Campuses
- The American Jewish community is a key partner in the fight against de-legitimization on campuses, and holds a critical role in all of the recommendations offered.
- On the level of Content – We recommend focusing on refuting the conflation de-legitimization activists are making between the Palestinian issue and minority issues and groups, human rights and “post-colonialism,” and to uncover the connection between anti-Zionism and the new anti-Semitism.
- Students – We recommend organizing and dispatching diverse Israeli student delegations (Jewish and non-Jewish) to campuses; recruiting non-Jewish campus groups to promote tolerance and dialogue to all groups and opinions; encouraging pro-Israel students to engage in various frameworks of campus politics and organized life.
- Faculty and lecturers – We recommend exposing “activist” faculty members who use their academic lecterns to advance an anti-Israel agenda.
- Administration and Donors – Jewish organizations, together with donors (many of whom are Jewish) can and should work with university administrations more intensively to prevent the misuse of academic freedom in promoting a politicized anti-Israel platform. Simultaneously, these can work to promote additional positions and departments for Israeli studies programs on campuses and increase cooperative endeavors with Israeli universities.