The Forward’s May 13 article, “Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases” unfortunately focused solely on the failures of Israel’s campus detractors to implement boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) against Israel. But this misses the critical context that support for Israel on campus has never been greater, and the network of campus Israel supporters never more strategic in their approach, regardless of what Israel’s detractors might do.
As the student journalists of the Israel Campus Beat have reported this year, while “Israel Apartheid Week” failed to reach beyond its existing base of perhaps a dozen U.S. campuses, Israel Peace Week events have now reached over 50 campuses. Israel fairs, fests, movie series, Nights to Honor Israel, and other celebrations take place on hundreds more.
Even limiting to official university and student leadership actions, positive Israel activity is significant. Since 2005, more than 50 colleges and universities have opened, reinstated, or reduced barriers to study abroad in Israel. Campus administrators at Harvard, Georgetown, the University of Southern California, the University of California, and elsewhere have expressed opposition to BDS and support for Israel. Since January, student governments at the University of Indiana and the University of Oklahoma passed resolutions expressing their support for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance; student leaders at UCLA, the University of Florida, and elsewhere have issued similar statements. The University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, and others now host Israel business investment clubs and business school courses on Israeli entrepreneurialism. Since 2005, courses available on the study of Israel nationwide have increased by almost 70%.
Those accomplishments do not happen by chance and cannot be taken for granted. Campus Israel supporters work diligently, year-round, to promote a positive campus climate regarding Israel. Those positive steps, as well as the defeat of BDS, are the fruit of significant investments of time, effort, and resources.
Israel on Campus Coalition