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Jewish Youth Challenged to Combat Anti-israel Propaganda on Campus

An Israeli official challenged American Jewish College youth today to combat anti-Israel propagandas on the campus, “much of it old anti-Semitism in new dress.” Moshe Yegar, Consul General of Israel in Philadelphia, said that such propaganda was being disseminated at colleges and universities across the country “by pro-Arab and certain radical groups.” Mr. Yegar addressed 225 students at the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation’s annual summer institute at Camp B’nai B’rith here. He claimed that anti-Israel propaganda had grown in vehemence and scope since the 1967 Six-Day War and that it “constitutes a danger to both the interests of Israel and those of the Jewish people.” The language used by pro-Arabs at universities borrows largely from “classical anti-Semitism–only replacing the word ‘Jew’ with the word ‘Zionist,'” the Consul General said. “Whoever is not convinced of the intense anti-Jewish feeling inherent in their campaigns is simply blind to present day political realities and to the Jewish historical experience,” he added.

A week-long Hillel workshop at Camp B’nai B’rith on Israel and American Jewry has been formulating programs to counter anti-Israel propaganda when the students return to their campuses next month. Rabbi Samuel Fishman, of Washington, D.C., Hillel’s director of Israel and community affairs, said the problem was complicated by the need to distinguish between “attitudes on Israel based on ideology and those which reflect partial or distorted information on the Mideast conflict.” Rabbi Fishman also said, “Jewish students must also develop programs that rise above the propaganda struggle in order to create an atmosphere that is receptive to an unbiased presentation of where Israel stands today and what are its hopes and goals for the future,” he said. It was also announced that student leaders in B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation will, for the first time this fall, organize Jewish groups and activities on neighboring college campuses where little or no Jewish programming exists. The student leaders will also meet with clinics of Jewish high school seniors to inform them of opportunities for Jewish experiences in college life, and assist Hillel directors–particularly on large campuses where the student-rabbi ratio is often several thousand to one–in reaching non-affiliated students and working with “independent” and “radical” Jewish student groups on issues of common interest.

These projects were presented by Rabbi Benjamin M. Kahn. Hillel’s national director. Their purpose, Rabbi Kahn said, in addition to extending Hillel’s service to large numbers of Jewish youth, “is to spur student initiative and responsibility in creating and implementing meaningful Jewish programs in the campus community.” Rabbi Kahn said student work on campuses near their own schools would help alleviate the pressure from more than 300 colleges and universities that have requested Hillel’s services–“requests which because of limited resources, Hillel has so far been unable to answer with professional staff.” He added that students organized at these unaffiliated schools will be invited to attend regional and national Hillel institutes and student conferences. The high school clinics will be arranged through B’nai B’rith groups, synagogues and Jewish communal organizations in communities at or near the Hillel students’ colleges during the school year, and in the students’ home town during school vacations. Utilization of graduate and undergraduate students as assistants to Hillel directors is a nationwide expansion of pilot projects successfully tried during the past year at several universities, Hillel officials said.

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