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February 22, 2017 11:11 am

Advocacy Groups in UK Gear Up ‘Proactively’ to Counter Upcoming ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ Events Across British Campuses

avatar by Rachel Frommer

"Israel Apartheid Week," which takes place on campuses across the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

‘Israeli Apartheid Week,’ which takes place on campuses across the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A member of a leading Israel advocacy group told The Algemeiner that a new educational training program will help students counter the upcoming spate of UK campus events aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state.

Tamir Oren, Stand With Us (SWU) UK’s director of public affairs said that, in the run-up to “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW), students across Britain were selected to participate in sessions on different topics, such as Israeli history, international law and geopolitics, to “arm them with knowledge.”

Of this, Oren said:

It has been amazing to witness these students grow and become more confident in advocating for Israel, no matter how strenuous and frightening it may be. IAW used to be a week during which Jewish and pro-Israel were unable to effectively present Israel’s case. However, this time our training, educational materials and support to students across the country is making a difference and turning the tide on justice and truth.

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For Oren, the safety of students on campus during this time of year remains paramount.

IAW creates tensions on campus that enable anti-Israel students to feel they are able to harass and intimidate our students,” he said.

Another group that has turned its focus to IAW is the UK branch of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), whose campus director, Aviva Slomich, said the organization is taking a “proactive approach to exposing the insidious falsehoods espoused by those who host the events.”

The umbrella groups the Board of Deputies of British Jewry (BOD) and Union of Jewish Students (UJS) have launched a joint national campaign called “#BridgesNotBoycotts,” which aims to guide students on how to effectively strategize against IAW and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a whole.

A spokesperson for UJS said that stalls will be set up on campuses, offering educational resources and “pathways to peace… to counter the toxic narrative of anti-Israel extremists.”

Marie Van der Zyl, vice president of BOD, said in a statement, “Instead of further entrenching division and conflict, we are proposing ways in which students can support peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, building rather than destroying bridges between them as BDS seeks to do.”

Antisemitic activity reportedly rose dramatically on UK campuses last year, with assaults on Jewish students and faculty nearly doubling from 2015.

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