BOSTON, August 4th, 2022 – For the first time in two years, students from universities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel gathered in Boston, Massachusetts, for CAMERA’s 12th Annual International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC).
An intensive four-day conference packed with trainings, exclusive briefings, and team-building exercises, CAMERA’s ISLC equips student leaders with the tools to combat anti-Zionist propaganda on the quad and in the classroom.
On campuses worldwide, Jewish students are subjected to unprecedented assaults on their identity, namely, immense pressure from radical anti-Zionist student groups and faculty to disavow their cultural, spiritual, and political ties to the State of Israel. In 2022 alone, the AMCHA Initiative documented 406 incidents involving antisemitic expression or targeting Jewish students and staff on campuses across the United States.
Attempts by extremists to equate Zionism to settler-colonialism and white supremacy are becoming increasingly common, as well as attempts to silence Jewish voices on campus.
In April 2022, the Chicago Maroon, an official campus outlet for the University of Chicago, took down a pro-Israel opinion piece due to pressure from the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, only to publish a hateful and inaccurate article in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
Also, during the Spring 2022 term, Mohammed El-Kurd, a speaker known for his virulent antisemitism, took part in a four-month tour of universities in the United States, including Georgetown, Duke, UC Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota. El-Kurd has compared Israelis to Nazis and accused Israelis of “thirsting for Palestinian blood.”
“Administrators and student governments are simply not doing enough to address rising antisemitism. The problem is only further exacerbated by the absence of prominent, fact-based narratives and the presence of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, willing to fill the vacuum with deceptive propaganda. Students cannot afford to settle into inaction, and that’s where CAMERA is prepared to step in to help,” said Aviva Rosenschein, international campus director for CAMERA.
For many students, the CAMERA Conference and CAMERA’s year-long flagship initiatives—the fellowship and coalition programs lead to watershed moments where a student’s interests and capabilities intersect with CAMERA’s mission.
“As a political science major interested in international affairs, the CAMERA Fellowship proved to be the perfect addition to my college experience. The program has made me more knowledgeable, articulate, and outspoken about Israel and Zionism. Furthermore, this conference has taught me that I can make a difference as a student and as a professional in the future” said Adi Michael, ‘20-21 CAMERA Fellow at Bar-Ilan University.
“Dr. Jonah Cohen’s training on engaging in productive discussion through the Socratic method has emboldened me to speak in social situations and consider new approaches to writing. As a philosophy major interested in media and journalism, I am excited to bridge these disciplines in new and exciting ways, ” said Seth Mendel, ‘20-21 CAMERA Fellow at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
CAMERA’s International Student Leadership Conference also prioritized cultivating a sense of community with participants from across the United States, Canada, the UK, and Israel.
“It was nice to spend four days with students from many different places. Hearing from Israeli students about their service in the Israel Defense Forces and the criticism they face on college campuses in Israel, sometimes from their peers, was eye-opening” Alex Grosman, ‘21-22 CAMERA Fellow at Ohio State University.
“I am encouraged by the support from peers at the CAMERA Conference. I know that when I return to university, I have a community committed to making a difference behind me,” Elie Harris, CAMERA Fellow at the University of East Anglia.
The CAMERA team is grateful for the opportunity to host and equip the next generation of leaders on the frontlines in the battle against antisemitism and misinformation. All are capable, committed, and ready to make a difference in the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond.
Are you interested in joining the battle for ethical journalism? College students, alums, and community members are invited to contribute to the CAMERA on Campus blog. Visit opensubmissions.camera for details.
Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media monitoring, research, and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA fosters rigorous reporting while educating news consumers about Middle East issues and the role of the media. Because public opinion ultimately shapes public policy, distorted news coverage that misleads the public can be detrimental to sound policymaking. A non-partisan organization, CAMERA takes no position regarding American or Israeli political issues or ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Managing Editor, CAMERA on Campus