Sunday, February 26, 2017

Israeli Consulate, WJC Engage Students to Fight BDS

Rachel Retter,

Image from article, with caption: (L-r) Galit Peleg, Consul for Public Diplomacy; Lia Wiener, Campus Pitch 2017 winner; Evelyn Sommer, Chair of World Jewish Congress North America; and Larry Kimmel, CEO of Rung-UP (Credit: Israeli Consulate of New York)
We live in a time when movements like BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), Free Palestine and SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) are rampant in colleges across America; this strong anti-Israel sentiment pervades campus culture, and Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus often struggle to advocate for Israel and make their voices heard. To help combat this issue, the World Jewish Congress and the Israeli Consulate of New York launched the Campus Pitch Initiative, encouraging student groups from top universities throughout the Northeast to design and propose innovative ideas about how to engage students and change the conversation about Israel on campus. This is the second year of the competition.
This year’s initiative culminated in an event this past week, on the evening of February 15, when five finalists from NYU, Brooklyn College, the University of Pennsylvania, the New School and Yale were invited to pitch their ideas to a prominent panel of judges, including Evelyn Summer, Chair of the World Jewish Congress, North America; Galit Peleg, the head of the public diplomacy department at the Israeli Consulate; and Larry Kimmel, the CEO of a major marketing firm. The proposals were judged on four criteria: innovation, impact, feasibility and relevance. The winner would be awarded $5,000 to fund their proposal. Students from many different colleges and backgrounds traveled to the Innovation Loft, a venue in Midtown Manhattan, to watch the competition. ...

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