CAMERA Fellows and CCAP group leaders wrap up Fall Semester 2013 with a number of successful events. Take a look below to learn about Israel Awareness Week held at the University of Houston this Fall.
Cesar De Gracia Morales, a CAMERA Fellow at the University of Houston, reported back on a multi-day event called “Israel Awareness Week” held October 21st through the 25th, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The biggest event took place on Friday, where some 70 students attended a lecture given by Israel’s highest ranking Muslim diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi.
Israel Awareness Week offered the opportunity for students to learn about Israel from a number of perspectives. Monday’s event offered students a fun way to learn about Israel’s vibrant music, dance and party scene through a “beer” pong tournament (grape juice rather than beer was served). On Wednesday, Cesar and his peer screened the Israeli comedy “A Matter of Size.”
Cesar was particularly pleased how the final event featuring Ishmael went. It was fantastic that Palestinian students, Muslim students, Jews, and unaffiliated students considered the event a success. “They were delighted and were looking forward to more events. I believe it was mainly because the Muslims and Arab students are used to hearing just one side of the story, this was the first opportunity they got to make a comparison,” commented Cesar.
The audience asked numerous questions, one of which related to the matter of why Israel was building settlements, and whether or not this indicates that Israel does’t want peace. Ishmael responded saying that settlements are an issue more to Israel than to the Palestinians, that there is no country that wants peace more than Israel, and that no one is more pro-Palestinian than Israel.
Cesar is glad that the group is now registered as a student organization with official recognition on campus. He looks forward to organizing many more events in the coming months, including a Syrian Refugees Awareness, so as to show that being pro-Israel means being a humanitarian. He hopes, as a leader of the campus pro-Israel organization, Speak Up!, to be able to partner with other student organizations on campus, including the Muslim Students Association.