BOSTON, February 28th, 2023 – In the Spring term, a disinformation campaign attempts to take root on college and university campuses. Widely advertised as “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW), the effort promoted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), and Palestinian Societies (PalSocs) spread the libelous assertion of “Israeli apartheid”— that the State of Israel systematically discriminates against the Palestinian people is guilty of “Jewish supremacy”.
Despite being widely disproven by experts including by researchers at CAMERA who have pointed out that Israel’s citizenship laws and integrated society and a complicated situation in the disputed territories do not amount to apartheid, anti-Zionist campus groups have not relented, choosing instead to target Jewish students, and institutions on campus.
In September 2022, nine student groups at the UC Berkeley School of Law adopted a bylaw banning Zionist speakers from club activities as part of an alleged “anti-racist and anti-settler colonialist stand”. In reality, Law Students for Justice in Palestine has attempted to monopolize the narrative and subvert intellectual diversity.
Additionally, in the last two years, editorial boards at the University of Chicago, Harvard, and Wellesley College have publicly endorsed the lies promoted by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign accusing the State of Israel of “settler-colonialism” and “apartheid”.
“It is evident to us that the apartheid libel is at the heart of the anti-Zionist playbook on campus,” said Hali Spiegel, CAMERA’s North American campus director. “They depict the State of Israel as a manifestation of pure evil: racist, genocidal, murderous. Worse yet, they pitch this false narrative to students looking to support a just cause. That’s where our campaign comes in. Their lies cannot go unchallenged,” added Spiegel.
CAMERA on Campus’s Apartheid Week Exposed campaign builds upon the success of the last two Apartheid Week Exposed campaigns combining digital, campus, and grassroots activism and arming Jewish and pro-Israel students with the facts to combat the dangerous narrative promoted on their respective campuses.
Sabrina Soffer, a sophomore at George Washington University and incoming 2023-2024 CAMERA fellow who plans to table on campus for the Apartheid Week Exposed campaign had this to say on the prevalence of antisemitic propaganda on campus. “It is essential for campus community members to know the whole truth before making claims in the classroom, our public square, or social media—where anti-Zionist speech can become extremely dangerous, leading to more of the antisemitic violence and barriers to peace that we are seeing today. If we truly seek social justice, we must expose the whole truth and challenge the lies promoted by Students for Justice in Palestine.”
Soffer plans to table in a high-traffic location on campus and distribute printed infographics developed by the CAMERA on Campus team for the Apartheid Week Exposed Campaign. Anyone interested in tabling on their respective campus can submit a request at cameraoncampus.org or visit the printable materials section of the Apartheid Week Exposed website.
In the United Kingdom, a delegation of Israeli students has arrived to publicly table alongside British students on college and university campuses across the country, in part, to bring awareness to the Apartheid Week Exposed campaign.
“There is no greater challenge to the fabricated narratives presented by anti-Zionist detractors than to expose students to the truth. By sharing Apartheid Week Exposed campaign materials and leading honest, thoughtful conversations, our Israeli students are making a positive impact on the campus climate in the UK,” said Aviva Rosenschein, Israel and UK campus director for CAMERA.
Tom Yohay, Israel campus advisor for CAMERA on Campus spoke enthusiastically about the Apartheid Week Exposed campaign and UK campus tour. “As Israelis, we have a responsibility to share the truth about Israel. We are speaking to British students, answering their questions, and calling for dialogue, even if we are confronted with hostility and bigotry, our willingness to sit at the table sends an important message. We also want our British Zionist friends to know that they have our support.”
This year’s campaign also features over thirty new, comprehensive infographics on topics addressing everything from common myths about Israel to profiling detractors known for spreading misinformation.
“Pro-Israel students must know that the facts are on their side and that they are not alone in the fight. That’s why our team is eager to encourage, equip and support pro-Israel student activism” said Sasha Chernyak, content, and campaigns manager for CAMERA on Campus.
“Our revamped Apartheid Week Exposed campaign combines the expertise and resources of CAMERA on Campus and our partners: Yoseph Hadad, Emily Schrader, Hananya Naftali, Adiel Cohen, NGO Monitor, and Palestine Media Watch. Each has contributed immensely to our mission of promoting truth and exposing the bigotry behind detractor rhetoric,” said Sam Price, social media manager for CAMERA on Campus.
Follow #ApartheidWeekExposed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the AWE campaign. Visit apartheidweekexposed.org for more information.