This piece was originally published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel by contact the reporter here and see the Flipbook here.
The Florida Region of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) hosted a reception and panel discussion fundraiser for a total of about 200 people on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the West Palm Beach Marriott.
The event was titled “Defamation of Israel on College Campuses,” and subtitled “Countering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).”
About the need for the event, CAMERA Florida Regional Director Nadine Richterman stated: “At a time when students face intimidation and aggressive campaigns attacking Israel, effective action is essential. CAMERA’s innovative campus programs are a powerful antidote. We prepare the younger generation to be trained and confident to make Israel’s case.”
The panel featured Professor William Jacobson, law professor at Cornell University and founder of the influential “Legal Insurrection” blog; Samantha Mandeles, CAMERA on Campus editor-in-chief and senior campus coordinator for CAMERA: Abraham Mercado, student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton and a leader of Owls for Israel, a CAMERA-supported campus group (Mercado was influential in defeating a BDS motion at FAU last year); and Daniel Mael, senior at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.
Mael, who is the founder for Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, a CAMERA-supported campus group, was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, where he told about being charged by Brandeis with “harassment” after speaking out in a dispute about Israel.
The event was moderated by Sarit Catz, director of CAMERA’s international letter writing campaign.
All the panelists and organizers felt the event went well and achieved its purpose.
Mael said: “The event highlighted an issue of paramount importance — many campus actors spread malicious lies about the Jewish State on a routine basis. It is imperative that the pro-Israel community understand the scope of the issue and strategize to combat the falsehoods.”
Added Mandeles: “My experience in college taught me that when fighting Israel’s detractors, nothing is more important than having the courage to stand up for the truth, even in the face of extreme (and even violent) pressure to be silent. CAMERA’s work on campus is so important because we focus not only on equipping our students with the facts, but with the confidence to use those facts in opposing those who advocate for Israel’s destruction.
“Our event in Florida gave CAMERA a great opportunity to familiarize the community with problems dedicated student Zionists face on campus, discuss how our work is instrumental in helping students overcome these challenges, and help mobilize more support for our dedicated students.”
Said Richterman: “We wanted to bring this issue to this community’s attention. Some people know this is going on, some don’t know, and many are not aware of how big the problem really is. We want to support our students in having the tools to fight back. CAMERA invests a good deal of resources in helping students start university organizations to spread the pro-Israel message.”
Proceeds from the event went to Camera on Campus programming.
Founded in 1982, CAMERA is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. A non-partisan organization, CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
On college campuses, CAMERA provides assistance to students through the EMET and CAMERA Fellows Programs. Increasingly, college campuses have been the scene of propagandistic assaults on Israel. Distorted literature, extreme speakers and false, inflammatory images are all too common, creating harmful misperceptions of Israel. This hostile environment can be intimidating to students seeking fair and objective information on Middle East issues.
CAMERA on Campus provides guidance in finding and connecting with speakers or films, planning and creating events, funding for student groups, and addressing Middle East distortions in campus publications, fliers, rallies and classroom teaching. Students are provided with the support for bravely and publicly defending Israel against hostility and distortions on campus.
The core values of CAMERA on Campus are:
•An unshakeable belief in the causes of Zionism and Israel, for both Jews and non-Jews alike.
•The absolute necessity for truth-telling regarding Israel and for confronting lies at every turn, including training students to write effective articles, letters-to-the-editor and op-eds voicing an accurate, pro-Israel message.
•The truth must be spoken publicly, with knowledge and confidence. CAMERA teaches our students that even little-known topics should be covered and understood by the public, especially by the newest generations of leaders — America’s college students.
For more information about CAMERA, visit http://www.camera.org or call Richterman at 561-557-6951.
For more information about CAMERA on Campus, visit https://cameraoncampus.orgor call 617-789-3672.