July 18, 2024
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Bruriah’s Israel Advocacy Elective Goes BIG

Apartheid. Occupation. Genocide. Words we hear daily amidst the red-hot, controversial debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We hear them all the time, but do we really know what they mean? In the Israel Advocacy elective, we learn about terms like these, how to advocate and make our voices heard and what claims like, “Israel is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East” mean for our Jewish state.

While all Jews know that Israel belongs to us (and has since Hashem promised it to Avraham Avinu), most people—both Jewish and non-Jewish—don’t actually know that Jews were given the right by law “to establish a state in their ancestral homeland” in 1917 and 1920. In the Balfour Declaration (1917), later ratified at the San Remo Conference (1920), the Jews were promised “a national home for the Jewish people…secured by the law.” In Israel Advocacy, we learn the history of Israel and the Jews’ claim to it so that we can be more prepared to advocate for Israel.

Advocating for Israel is multi-faceted. We need to learn the facts and be able to express them in a succinct way, as well figure out how to convince people of the truth. Through videos, discussions and assignments, we are able to figure out for ourselves how to do that in a way that is best for us. Whether it’s discussing “Hijab Barbie” or watching videos taken on college campuses highlighting how little people know about the conflict, we begin to understand the enormity of the problems caused by the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments felt throughout the world.

One of the projects we did in Bruriah was a campaign against the Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) movement to encourage people to boycott Israeli goods. Our BIG movement (Buy Israeli Goods) is a response to BDS.

Walk through our halls and see BIG posters. Join our group and be part of discussions highlighting how easy it is to support the Israeli economy—Hadaya jewelry, technology, like Waze and even pickles! People don’t realize how little it takes to support Israel—and when Israel is supported, so are democracy and peace.

The Israel Advocacy elective prepares us for the anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist views we will encounter once we leave the Jewish bubble we are in now, and helps us learn how to aid Israel from here in America. Whether it’s through learning the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, political advocacy directed toward elected officials in Washington or debunking false claims, we learn how to hone our skills, creating a razor-sharp, verbal sword to use against those who deny Israel’s right to exist.

By Bracha Gewirtz (Class of 2019)

 

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