The 80% Synagogue and Campus Campaign
StandWithUs has created a new and innovative way to educate and inspire people about Israel and to counter the anti-Israel hate walls that tour U.S. college campuses. The Israel Matters campaign revolves around a modular display of 14 retractable stands of colorful panels, each seven feet high, which collectively tell Israel’s story through photographs and basic facts. The displays highlight significant issues and topics regarding Israel, the conflict, and Israel’s achievements and advancements in various fields like technology and the environment. The traveling display is available to students and communities to display it at local events, combat anti-Israel propaganda, and promote Israel locally. Our displays are currently being used on campuses and in churches, synagogues and Jewish Federations throughout North America, Australia, and South Africa.
Problem: The topic of Israel can be a political "hot potato," even among Jews. Consequently, many synagogues are choosing to avoid the topic. Unfortunately, this means that young people are not making a connection to Israel through their synagogue, which represents a missed opportunity.
Too many people do not have the facts about Israel, including Israel's history, accurate information about the conflict, or the largely unknown facts about Israel beyond the conflict.
The unfortunate cost is that the current generation of Jews is losing the opportunity to form a clear connection to Israel, accumulate knowledge, and develop love for Israel, which could erode even more among future generations. And when a synagogue member's child goes to college, he or she is usually unprepared to deal with anti-Israel or anti-Semitic rhetoric that may arise. You can't support or defend something you don't know anything about. And many young people may not even feel connected to Israel, so they may not even feel motivated to become engaged if the challenges arise about Israel on their campuses.
Solution: One way to combat the growing void is to start a movement around the country so that rabbis and synagogues can feel comfortable speaking to their congregations about Israel. We want to partner with synagogues of all denominations to educate their members about Israel's history and accomplishments. We will tailor the content to fit each synagogue's "climate" and positions where possible while being sensitive to the politically hot issues. StandWithUs feels that time is of the essence because we have already lost a tremendous amount of supporters of Israel over the years and continue to lose people every year.
In the words of Professor Alan Dershowitz, who believes we should work together on the 80% that unites us vs. the 20% which divides us:
"Virtually all Israelis and supporters of Israel agree with what I call 'the 80 percent case for Israel.'
Israel's right to exist and be recognized as the nation-state of the Jewish People.
Israel's actions must be judged by a single standard that acknowledges the threats it faces.
Israel has the right to defend its citizens by reasonable and proportional means.
The world owes Israel a large debt of gratitude for the enormous contributions it has made to all people by its medical, scientific and environmental innovations and exports.
No country in the world faced with comparable threats has had a better record of human rights and concern for the lives of civilians.
Israelis would like nothing more than to live in peace with its neighbors.
As with all countries, there is room for disagreement about some of its policies and actions. This 20 percent area of disagreement has, unfortunately, been much of the focus of the world on Israel. We aim to focus the world's attention on the 80 percent areas of substantial agreement."