CASINO TYCOON SHELDON ADELSON LAUNCHES MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR EFFORT TO BOOST ISRAEL’S IMAGE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
THE LA TIMES REPORTS:
The effort kicked off this last semester at six California campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and San Jose State University, and will expand to 20 more college campuses this fall.
The Adelsons and other supporters of Israel are alarmed by the precipitous growth in young Americans’ support for Palestinians. A Pew Research Center poll in May found that 27% of millennials now sympathize more with Palestinians, up from 9% in 2006 — while their generation’s support for Israel has declined in the same period from 51% to 43%.
A main cause, Israel supporters say, is the mushrooming BDS campus movement. In the last four years, student governments at eight of nine UC undergraduate campuses have voted to support the campaign.
“It’s the No. 1 nonmilitary threat to Israel and the Jewish people,” David Brog, executive director of the new Adelson-funded task force, said of BDS. “Our goal is to change the younger generation from neutral, if not opposed to, Israel to support of Israel.”
The Maccabee Task Force — named after a small Jewish rebel group who prevailed over the Greeks two millennia ago — mainly aims to beef up positive education about Israel with such methods as hosting “peace tents” for dialogue during anti-Israel campus events and Israel cultural fairs — complete with free falafel and iced coffee.
But Brog said the campaign also will target what he called “lies” about Israel perpetuated by Students for Justice in Palestine and BDS.
Pro-Palestinian protests on campus regularly compare Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with South Africa under apartheid and oppression against people of color — and activists are using such comparisons to broaden their base, forging links with other campus movements.
The posters were one element of “Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus,” a task force-funded campaign launched in February by the David Horowitz Freedom Center in Los Angeles. Horowitz declined to disclose the size of the grant he received but said it helped him wage what he called a “guerrilla” campaign this spring, with posters of “Jew haters” on five California campuses.
The posters were condemned by some Jewish student groups, including J Street U and Jewish Voice for Peace. Jerry Kang, UCLA’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, criticized them as “thuggish intimidation” and accused the effort of promoting “guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially tinged fear.”