ANNOUNCING THE 2019 DAVID BAR-ILLAN AWARD RECIPIENTS
CAMERA FELLOW MATT STEIN – OUTSTANDING CAMPUS ACTIVISM
At this year’s CAMERA Gala, Swarthmore College CAMERA Fellow Matt Stein will receive the 2019 David Bar-Illan Award for Outstanding Campus Activism. Matt has advocated for Israel in the greater Swarthmore community tirelessly throughout his entire collegiate career, and currently serves as the president of CAMERA-supported group Swarthmore Students for Israel.
In 2013, members of Swarthmore Hillel published an op-ed stating that “All are welcome to walk through our doors and speak with our name and under our roof, be they Zionist, anti-Zionist, post-Zionist or non-Zionist” — prompting Hillel International’s president, Eric D. Fingerhut, to respond that under no circumstances would “anti-Zionists” be permitted to speak under the Hillel roof and using the Hillel name.
Refusing to adhere to Hillel’s Zionist position, Swarthmore Hillel passed a resolution in 2015 to break away from Hillel International, starting the first Open Hillel chapter. More recently, Swarthmore campus has exceedingly become more and more hostile to Jewish students. In the classroom, one student compared Zionism to ISIS ideology. When Swarthmore’s student government endorsed SJP, they used extreme fringe organization Jewish Voice for Peace as their main source of reasoning to justify the decision.
“There were already many Jewish students and a couple of non-Jewish students who spoke to me personally, who were admitted to the school and decided not to come because of the anti-Israel climate, which can often be antisemitic,” Matt said, following the Swarthmore student government’s endorsement of BDS earlier this year.
However, Matt has made incredible strides towards creating an inclusive climate for all members of the Swarthmore community. Matt routinely meets with other Zionist students, members of student government, and the general student body, fostering a respectful environment for all Swarthmore students and working to ensure that Israel has a voice on campus.
In response to the adversity they are facing, Matt, along with Swarthmore Students for Israel, have held various educational and cultural events to educate their peers on Israel. Just this past year, the group hosted Daniel Paul Rubenstein who debunked misconceptions about Israeli geopolitics. The group has hosted countless Shabbat dinners to foster relationships within the Jewish student body, and many smaller group meetings with members of student government and other campus groups tocreate productive dialogue about Israel on campus.
Recently, Matt participated in a student government meeting where he successfully persuaded student representatives not to write a letter of support for the BDS resolution proposed by SJP. He helped change their mindset from, “What are we going to write about?” to not writing the letter at all. Swarthmore Students for Israel continues to answer the call to defend and stand up for Israel, educate the greater community, and be the unwavering voice for Zionism on an anti-Israel campus.
“Watching Matt grow into one of the most confident and well-spoken activists for Israel has been incredible,” said Alex Rittenberg, Midwest Campus Coordinator for CAMERA. “I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future.”
CAMERA FELLOW DANIEL O’DOWD – OUTSTANDING
Daniel O’Dowd, CAMERA Fellow and president of CAMERA-supported Maynooth Student Friends of Israel-the only Israel society in the entire Republic of Ireland, will be presented with the 2019 David Bar-Illan Award for Outstanding Student Leadership. Daniel has achieved unthinkable successes in support of Israel in one of the most hostile campus environments in the world.
Presiding over a nationwide environment where Israel is frequently debased and de-humanized, Daniel has done much to bring Israelis face-to-face with his fellow students in order to challenge ignorance and bias about Israel. He frequently addresses issues on campuses beyond his own, being the one of a very few Zionist student activists in Ireland. With BDS activists prevalent on campus, Daniel and Maynooth Student Friends of Israel fight them proactively at every turn, with Israeli culture events and outreach, such as holding an Israel Peace Week in response to Israel Apartheid Week.
As a CAMERA Fellow, Daniel has worked hard to expose the antisemitic views of those on campus who claim to be merely anti-Zionist. He has hosted events with CAMERA speakers such as journalist Lahav Harkov and North American TV personality Shai DeLuca Tamasi, who have planted seeds in the minds of anti-Israel students on campus, who have never been exposed to the truth. Maynooth Student Friends of Israel recently published an anthology of essays and writing excerpts in support of Israel.
O’Dowd has written for the Algemeiner and JNS, and last year was selected on the Algemeiner’s “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2018”.
“We are thrilled to present this award in honor of Daniel’s commitment to showing his fellow students the truth about Israel in an environment where cultural and political boycotts are the norm,” said CAMERA’s UK Campus Associate Tamara Berens.
CAMERA FELLOWSHIP – APPLY BY JUNE 1ST!
If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Fellowship last year, now is the time to apply for next year! All CAMERA Fellows will receive a stipend upon completing the requirements. To learn more about the Fellowship, click here. The application deadline is May 1st.
If you are already in the midst of the Fellowship or won’t be able to apply for next year, please help us share this opportunity with your friends and Israel club members.
JULY OPPORTUNITY: THE LEADERSHIP PROJECT AT
ORANIM COLLEGE IN ISRAEL
Interested in honing in on your knowledge of Israeli history, Zionism and learning some leadership skills? Then apply here by June 1st to study at Oranim College in Israel this summer! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and/or to confirm that you have applied so we can help get you registered and approved faster. This is applicable for anyone between the ages of 18-25.
STUDENT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
Every year, CAMERA hosts student Israel activists from across North America, Europe and Israel for an all-expenses paid conference in Boston. Exclusively for CAMERA Fellows and CAMERA-supported group activists, the conference teaches students how to effectively combat anti-Israel and biased propaganda on college campuses. Register here for the ninth annual Student Leadership Conference!
WE’RE HIRING IN THE US AND THE UK!
Are you a recent graduate looking to begin your career in Israel activism? Please submit your resume, CV and a writing sample to Lia@camera.org if you are interested in applying for either of our open positions. We are hiring a Campus Coordinator based in Boston and a Campus Associate who will be based in the UK.
Click here to read the job descriptions for both of these positions.
BOOST YOUR ISRAEL GROUP ON CAMPUS – OR WE’LL HELP YOU CREATE ONE FROM SCRATCH!
Our CAMERA-supported group program provides educational and financial resources for student activists who want to either create a new Israel group on campus or strengthen their existing, but under-funded Israel group.
Groups and societies supported by CAMERA receive up to $4000/£3000 a year in resources for speakers, films and other programming. Our resources and guidance help you build an effective, autonomous Israel group on campus. Members of CAMERA-supported groups learn life-long skills in debate, writing and public speaking, and benefit from close collaboration with CAMERA scholars. Students receive intensive training at CAMERA’s all expenses paid annual Student Leadership Conference in Boston, where they connect with an international community of like-minded students and activists.