NEW YORK, May 13 (JTA) The following is a timeline of major events over the past year with regard to North American campuses: May 2002: Following the “Passover massacre” bombing in Israel, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life launches its first Israel advocacy mission. The program draws 400 students for the five-day mission, and 80 remain for two weeks of advocacy training at Tel Aviv University. May 1, 2002: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee rolls out an expanded campus program, tripling the size of its budget and staffing. The new initiative works with four key activists on each of 60 campuses that AIPAC feels produce future political leaders. The activists attend intense summer and winter training with advocates and policymakers. Summer 2002: Twenty-six groups come together to form the Israel on Campus Coalition, a national coordinating body that provides high-profile speakers and advocacy training for students. August 2002: The Jewish National Fund’s Caravan for Democracy takes 13 students on a two-week training seminar to Israel. The students visit journalists, politicians and terror victims and learn how to write letters to the editor of newspapers and organize on campus. August 2002: As part of its first Israel advocacy program, the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity trains 300 delegates at its international convention. Aug. 20-25, 2002: Hillel holds its annual Charles Schusterman International Student Leaders Assembly at Camp Moshava in Honesdale, Pa. About 425 students gather to plan campus activism for the year. September 2002: A sukkah at the University of Colorado is desecrated the day after Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi makes a speech on campus. Groups of various faiths come together to rebuild it. Sept. 9, 2002: Rioting by anti-Israel protesters leads to the cancellation of a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Concordia University in Montreal. Afterward, campus administrators impose a temporary ban on Mideast-related activities. Sept. 16, 2002: Academic Daniel Pipes unveils Campus Watch, a Web site to monitor professors and institutions he deems anti-Israel or anti-American. The site ignites a furor in academia, with many denigrating it as McCarthyist. Sept. 17, 2002: Harvard President Lawrence Summers blasts what he considers growing anti-Semitism on campus, singling out a movement to force universities to divest their holdings in companies that do business with Israel. Other campus presidents, including those from Tufts, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan, follow Summers’ lead in rejecting divestment. October 2002: The second National Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement takes place at the University of Michigan. The conference gains much media attention, but its divestment campaign flops over the course of the year amid administrative rejection and counter-petitions. Oct. 7, 2002: The American Jewish Committee publishes a full-page ad in The New York Times with 312 signatures of college presidents decrying intimidation of Jewish students on campus. November 2002: Chabad announces a plan to expand from 61 to 81 full-time Chabad houses on campus. November 2002: The annual General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities federation umbrella is complemented by a student “Zionism Teach-in” that draws about 300 people. The event is run by the Jewish Agency for Israel and USD-Hagshama. December 2002: Hillel director Richard Joel, one of the top leaders in organized Jewish life, announces he will leave his post to become president of Yeshiva University. December 2002: Concordia University’s student government tries to remove Hillel as a sanctioned student group for distributing material related to the Israel Defense Force. The move ultimately fails. January 2003: Hillel launches Israel 101, a campaign to fill the next 101 days with innovative, student-led Israel programming. March 2003: The Anti-Defamation League releases a survey showing 106 anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses in 2002, a 24 percent increase over the previous year. March 27, 2003: Israel at Heart, a private initiative run by New York philanthropist Joey Low, begins its second annual two-week program to bring Israeli students to North American campuses to talk about living with terrorism. March 30 – April 1, 2003: At its annual policy conference, AIPAC presents the White House with pro-Israel petitions bearing 55,000 signatures from students at 60 colleges.
Busy year for student activists