Students Supporting Israel is excited to announce the 5th NATIONAL CONFERENCE this year at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, December 29th-31st, 2019.
The location was chosen as a strategic move not just because of the centrality of NYC, but also because Columbia was ranked 3rd by The Algemeiner’s Annual List of the Most Challenging North American Campuses for Jewish Students. Therefore, it is this exact place where our movement wants to come in with a message of empowerment, to make sure we as pro-Israel and Zionist students are confidently showing our strength. It is the perfect location for students to establish what Zionism means to them, and thus the theme of our conference this year, Zionism: Sovereignty by Self-Determination.
Students Supporting Israel’s mission is “to be a clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses and to promote students in grassroots advocacy.” By bringing our conference to Columbia University, SSI will communicate the importance of not shying away from supporting what we believe in even in the most anti-Israel academic communities. We hope this will also inspire students around the country to stand our ground fighting for Israel everywhere we go.
Why this is so important? Just take a look at what is happening around the country, starting with Columbia University. This campus most recently hosted Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who prides himself as, “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.” Naturally, our movement’s chapter at Columbia confronted Malaysian PM, calling him out as anti-Semitic. Footage of this incident can be found HERE. We want ALL of our students to have courage and feel the obligation of standing up to these forms of racism, as our students at Columbia have. Not just against groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, but ALL anti-Semitic leaders.
In just the last couple of weeks, anti-Israel attacks have peaked, causing an escalation of some of the most heinous and brutal activity campus has seen in years. What started with a large anti-Jewish vote at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, declaring that
‘Anti-Zionism is not a form of anti-Semitism,’
began a chain of events that proved that anti-Zionism IS, in fact, anti-Semitism.
Last week SSI has published a statement that include a long list of the alarming incidents that took place on campuses just this semester, and you can find the full statement HERE.
Students Supporting Israel will be the only movement ever to execute a large scale pro-Israel gathering at Columbia University, to promote Zionism and make a difference by empowering our people, and so we are bringing our movement’s message to New York City. As a reminder, in the past, Columbia University hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who openly calls for the destruction of Israel. Also in Columbia, swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur were spray-painted on the walls of a Jewish Holocaust studies professor’s office last year, and according to articles and testimonies Jewish students have historically reported the presence of feeling intimidated and discriminated against.
Due to the lack of knowledge which is evidently prevalent across the youth, especially college campuses, educational conferences, especially those with the understanding of what Zionism actually is — The right to Self-Determination of the Jewish People, are critical in the preservation of the State of Israel. The theme of this year’s conference reiterates the importance of reclaiming “our,” or the everyday Zionists’ narrative. If we, the people of Israel, have forgotten, or worse — haven’t learned, the importance of advocating for the only Jewish State in the world, the rest of the world will not bat an eye when anti-Semitic activity, disguised as anti-Zionism occurs.
With our conference, we want to encourage pro-Israel students to double their activity to increase their visibility on the ground. At SSI, pro-Israel students realize that our events and programming on campuses are being presented as the strong and powerful side; the side that protects civilians against terrorists; the side that established a country in one of the most complex areas of the world; the side that freed the Jewish people from the diaspora and gave them a home.
SSI MOVEMENT will keep supporting pro-Israel students across North America. Our best answer to hate is simple — more Israel on campus, no fear, and the promotion of Zionism: Sovereignty by Self-Determination.
Students Supporting Israel activists learn imperative tools in Israel activism, including strategic issues, programming implementation, and the importance of Zionism on today’s modern day campus culture.
SSI recognizes that each campus differs in execution of events, and not all events work on every campus. At the SSI National Conference we will discuss each campus’ climate, in correlation with our other chapters. This allows for consistency as an organization, and gives our chapters the chance to meet up once a year to network, share ideas, and spend time with other likeminded students in pursuit of Zionist ideology.
With constant expansion, and rapid growth, SSI’s 5th National Conference will be one of many future events to carry on the legacy of Herzl, and his belief that the Jewish people, and supporters of the State of Israel, will continue to have a safe-haven in Israel. We will not let this anti-Semitic wave persist.
Donors, to make a contribution to equip our student activists intending on attending this conference, please visit our GoFundMe, or make a generous donation on Facebook or the SSI website!
We thank our donors for their continuous support, and our activists for their constant work! The SSI 5th National Conference will be one for the books!