Philip Chinitz, CAMERA Fellow at the University of Delaware, reports back on a great event that took place early last semester on November 6th, entitled, “CameraonCampus Presents Sgt. Benjamin Anthony.”
The event was not open to the public, but rather marketed to very specific groups, including the presidents of Model UN, Project CHANGE, Hillel Board, Israeli Faculty, SJP, Department of Jewish Studies, Chabad, and others. Thirty-seven people in total came to the event, including the board of Israel U, the Chabad Rabbi, the SJP board, some Hillel members, and a number of other interested attendees.
The event took place in a small lecture hall. Sgt. Benjamin Anthony shared his story for about an hour, and afterwards accepted questions from audience members. “Sgt. Anthony made it clear that everything he said was from experience, and made it clear whenever his opinions were voiced,” says Chinitz.
The idea of the event, as Chinitz states, was “to provoke thought. Benjamin Anthony has a unique life as a soldier in the IDF, and it is rare to come across a person like him. I wanted his story to affect the audience in a way that makes them think about the occurring events and how their perception of the Middle East may be different than the reality.”
Phillip says he was also focused on representing CAMERA and everything the organization stands for. The fact is, although Sgt. Anthony is only affiliated with CAMERA, his lectures “are an asset to CAMERA’s representation around campuses due to his passion, knowledge, and persona,” says Chinitz.
Undoubtedly, Anthony presented an intense lecture, affecting the emotions of the listeners, and left the room with a powerful silence. Chinitz explains that “Benjamin accomplished his goal by leaving the audience shocked and surprised.” It was clear that every attendee left the lecture having had their eyes opened by Benjamin Anthony’s moving story. Chinitz put in well when he explained that “even though some disagreed with his beliefs, everybody realized that there was truth to his story.”
Although difficult topics were addressed, specifically on the matter of the border of Judea/Samaria, questions were asked in a respectful and professional manner. “A member of SJP questioned Sgt. Anthony’s opinions and tried relating some of the stories to abuses the attendee had seen as a US soldier in Iraq… after some responses back and forth, the attendee stopped because he knew they would only talk past each other during the discussion and did not want the focus to be moved away from Sgt. Anthony.”
All in all, Anthony kept his audience interested and intellectually and emotionally engaged. Sgt. Anthony’s charisma, powerful speaking skills, approachable demeanor, and expert knowledge on Israeli affairs and the greater Middle East made him an excellent CAMERA speaker to host on campus.