newsBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

At annual meeting, Maccabee Task Force Academy focuses on combating BDS on campus

The conference, which included nearly 400 professionals and pro-Israel students from 80 campuses, described best practices in promoting Israel, especially among non-Jewish students.

The staff of the Maccabee Task Force. Credit: Courtesy.
The staff of the Maccabee Task Force. Credit: Courtesy.

The Maccabee Task Force, an organization that provides significant funding to pro-Israel groups on campus to fight delegitimization, demonization and BDS campaigns, conducted its fourth annual MTF academy earlier this month in Las Vegas. The conference, which included nearly 400 campus professionals and pro-Israel students from nearly 80 campuses, focused on best practices in promoting Israel, particularly among non-Jewish students.

“We want to revive a generation of Jews and non-Jewish allies that are willing to boldly fight for Israel,” said David Brog, CEO of the Maccabee Task Force.

Among key principles shared at the conference was the importance of building mutually beneficial coalitions with groups that previously had not aligned with pro-Israel interests. Organizers explained that one of the most effective strategies in coalition-building is to recruit emerging non-Jewish campus leaders to see Israel and the Palestinian areas firsthand on fact-finding trips that include a visit to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, as well as to the Palestinian Authority.

“There is nothing like a trip that actually activates these students; it is the most impactful thing I think I do on campus,” said Ilya Bratman, executive director of Hillel at Baruch College in New York.

Returning from these missions, students are more likely to work against BDS activities, protests and resolutions on campus.

Andrew Getraer, executive director of Rutgers University Hillel, said he was particularly gratified to work with MTF. “I don’t have any single donor who gives as much,” he said, noting that funds go towards programs Hillel comes up, as opposed to receiving funding for specific programs instituted by outside organizations.

MTF is funded by Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson, mega-philanthropists who have given millions to Birthright Israel, the Israeli-American Council and other Jewish organizations.

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