Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
Mideast conflict on campus/Jewish groups step in to offset what they see as anti-Israeli bias
Friday, October 25, 2002 (SF Chronicle)
by Tanya Schevitz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Groups who perceive an anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic, bias at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley are focusing attention on the campuses, much to the chagrin of university members who find such allegations to be flat-out wrong.
[...] Caravan for Democracy brought Eli Wohlgelernter, diaspora editor of the Jerusalem Post, to speak at San Francisco State last Wednesday night. Spokeswoman Roffe said her group provides students with media training,
arming them with sound bites to respond to criticism of Israel, such as:
"Democracies, like Israel and the United States, face the threat of terrorism and must be unified in protecting the rights of their citizens."
Other groups have also shown up on campus to widen the dialogue. The Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, on a 15-city tour telling personal tales from Israelis and Palestinians of loss in the Mideast
conflict, was requested by San Francisco State.
"They wanted to show a model of adults in the Middle East who aren't seeking revenge, who aren't trying to kill each other, but by working together represent hope of peace between Arabs and Jews," said Betsy Kaptchuk of the forum, which made a presentation on the same day as the Caravan for Democracy.
One of the issues that the bereaved families group will try to address is the issue of what anti-Semitism is.
"Our primary task is to organize the Jewish community against the actions of (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon and the occupation while accepting that Israel should exist," said Sandra Butler of Brit Tzedek
v'Shalom, a group formed to foster dialogue around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We feel it is terribly important to make the distinction."