Circle of Pro-Israel Writers Rises

Shalem Center Boosted Right-of-Center Journalists

By Naomi Zeveloff

Published July 31, 2012, issue of August 03, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

“I think Shalem recognized very quickly that if pro-Israel voices were coming directly from students, there was the potential to have a much greater impact,” Strusberg said. “Shalem helped to foster some very talented young people who maybe otherwise would not have found their voice initially on campus and the broader public.”

A research institute founded in 1994, Shalem began with early funding from conservative American businessman Ronald Lauder. A confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current prime minister, Lauder served as Shalem’s chairman. Yoram Hazony, its founding president, was a researcher and aide to Netanyahu prior to his first stint as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999. The center has also received funding from Sheldon Adelson, another major Netanyahu supporter. It published a Zionist quarterly called Azure, edited in part by Hazony’s brother, David Hazony, who is currently a contributing editor at the Forward. Azure stopped publication in 2011.

In 2004 the Shalem Center initiated what it called the Azure Student Journals Project after a group of summer interns expressed interest in starting their own campus publications. “They saw it as a way to break out of the cheerleading mode of hasbara, which was at that time the dominant mode of Israel engagement on campuses,” said Krieger, whose Yale Israel Journal was a precursor to the Shalem-supported journals.

Shalem acquired a $100,000 grant from one of its funders, American neoconservative businessman Roger Hertog, and set up a summer training institute for future editors-in-chief. The program launched at the tail end of the second intifada, when tensions around Israel were running high on college campuses. The first interns included young activists like Weiss, one of several Columbia students who accused Joseph Massad, a professor in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Civilizations department, of anti-Israel bias. (A committee appointed by Columbia’s president to investigate Massad’s professional conduct found evidence that he was strongly critical of Israel, but no basis for allegations that he penalized or suppressed dissenting views in his classroom.)

“The students who came were seriously crème de la crème,” Strusberg said.

David Hazony, the Azure editor, trained the interns in writing, editing and publishing. The students were introduced to the “who’s who of Israel,” in Strusberg’s words: writer Yossi Klein Halevi, former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, and Moshe Ya’alon, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. All served as research fellows at Shalem. At summer’s end, the interns returned to their universities to start their journals.

Over a four-year period, Shalem alumni began publications at Columbia, the University of Toronto, Brandeis University, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and others. The Yale Israel Journal, which was already in existence, served as a model for the Azure Student Journals Project.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.