As anti-Israel sentiment boils over on US college campuses, LIBI USA has partnered with Chabad on Campus International and Our Soldiers Speak, a non-profit organization, to battle this plague by bringing IDF soldiers to speak at campuses and communities around the US.
On October 23 to 25 in New York City, the Chabad on Campus Student Leadership Conference, one of the largest gatherings of Jewish students outside of Israel, will welcome Sgt. Benjamin Anthony of the IDF, Founder and CEO of Our Soldiers Speak, as a guest speaker. Anthony will then continue his national tour at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the City College of New York.
Anthony, a Sergeant in the IDF reserves and a combat veteran, founded Our Soldiers Speak in 2007. The organization convenes fact-based seminars educating communities about Israel’s conflicts, military campaigns and defensive operations. Specializing in reaching audiences and listeners from a variety of platforms, including high schools, university campuses, synagogues and churches, the organization has sent speakers to more than 350 campuses across several continents, enabling thousands to benefit from Israeli soldiers’ views on their first-hand experiences in the IDF.
“College campuses have never been more hostile towards Israel and Jewish students,” noted Dr. John A.I. Grossman, LIBI USA Chairman, to Breaking Israel News. “LIBI USA recognizes the need to not only help the soldiers fighting on Israeli turf but also to help spread the truth of what Israel and the IDF are really all about – protecting citizens from terror.”
A nationwide survey conducted in 2014 by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law found that 54 percent of Jewish students had witnessed or been subjected to some form of anti-Jewish harassment within the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. Noteworthy is that the study was initiated before Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, during which incidents of anti-Semitism spiked globally.
Rabbi Yossy Gordon, executive Vice-President of Chabad on Campus International, shared with Breaking Israel News, “We feel very strongly about spreading awareness and appreciation for Israel, especially now when support is so needed. Bringing soldiers to campus to interact with the students and to strengthen their connection is one of the ways we can help our Israeli brothers and sisters.”
“We are very excited to be working with LIBI and Our Soldiers Speak to bring IDF soldiers to speak at campus Chabad Houses,” Rabbi Avi Weinstein, Director of Administration of Chabad on Campus International, told Breaking Israel News. “Students on campus are often exposed to views that oppose anything related to Israel. Giving students the opportunity to hear the first-hand perspective of someone who was personally involved on the ground is so important.”
As such, LIBI felt that it was a duty to their American friends to not only work to help soldiers in Israel but also to arm students with solid information so that they can fight anti-Israel sentiment abroad. “LIBI strives to protect Israel in any way that we can,” noted Grossman. “Joining forces with Chabad on Campus International and Our Soldiers Speak is a great opportunity for us to expand our mission.”
For those who would like to invite an IDF soldier to speak at their school or organization, please visit the LIBI USA website here.