As the core leadership of Bruins For Israel sat around the table discussing how to combat the growing anti-Israel sentiment at UCLA, the following question came up: how can we, as students at a public university be proactive instead of reactive, engage student leaders, form new relationships with our elected officials (on and off campus), and virtually take this typically difficult week and make it an opportunity?
After some time the campaign became clear: over the years there has been a lot of public support for the blatantly anti-Israel rhetoric while there is very little to no support for us. We dared to think that there is support for the US-Israel relationship on campus, and we began with the campaign.
The statement read, “I support the US-Israel relationship”. Within only a couple of weeks over 120 diverse student leaders (including six elected officials) signed the statement. Thanks to Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs, we were able to publish our work in the Daily Bruin three times in a week. The effect was simply immeasurable.
The campus filled with talk about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. With over thirty thousand copies of the ad being circulated around campus in a week, we truly demonstrated the level of support for the State of Israel.
Furthermore, this was not the only media channel we used. We created BruinsforIsrael.com, spread it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks we have built over the years. It was a proactive step to combat anti-Israel sentiments on campus. This campaign led us to forming relationships with many campus leaders and strengthened our previous relationships by doing the work of Hasbara, and explaining the importance of the US-Israel relationship. In terms of our public elected officials, we are looking to mail the statement to the five congressmen in our area and the two California senators.
The elected student leaders who signed the statement were not born pro-Israel. They became pro-Israel because some of their fellow students were willing to get to know them and educate them. It is my hope that they will turn to us for more advice and education in the future. With anti-Israel movements emerging on campuses across the country, it is important to have friends and supporters.
Class of 2012