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Anita Silverman Hirsch Z"l

Israel on Campus: Defending Our Universities

I feel extremely privileged to have been asked to filmed this international conference taking place in Montreal, Quebec on Sunday, 23 August, 2009. It is sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

Please read an excerpt taken from CIJR’s website:

‘CIJR is a respected independent pro-Israel research center, now in its twenty-first year. We group academics from across Canada, the U.S. and Israel, who together work to bring objective analysis of Israel- and Middle East-related issues quickly and directly to the public, Jewish and non-Jewish. We publish several well-respected journals and magazines, and are also noted for our work with students, on and off campus.

The goal of the August 23rd International Conference is two-fold:
1. to bring a powerful analytic focus to bear on the mounting threat to academic freedom and free inquiry represented by the growth of anti-Semitism, masquerading as anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, on our campuses, and
2. to develop, on the basis of a clear set of informing principles, a “Campus Defense Council” tasked with an ongoing, coordinated, and persistent international campaign to “take back the campus”.

The Conference’s operating assumption is that defending Israel on campus is not only intrinsically important, to defend Jewish, and to reach non-Jewish, students, but is also crucial to preserving the academic freedom and critical inquiry which underlie our universities as crucial Western institutions, key to preserving the free and open societies of which they are a part.

The Conference is placed chronologically to inaugurate the 2009-10 academic year, and will issue in the creation of a working committee, under CIJR aegis, to translate its insights and principles into a Campus Defense Council. We have to date been primarily reactive insofar as mounting campus anti-Semitism is concerned; the ongoing Council will be proactive, taking the initiative through concrete, coordinated, and sustained action. Representatives of major Jewish and pro-Israel organizations and groups are therefore being invited to participate, and to become constituent members of the Campus Defense Council.

The Israel on Campus: Defending Our Universities Conference will consist in a morning panel, a major luncheon address, and an afternoon panel, with an evening working dinner featuring one or two keynote addresses by outstanding international figures. The morning session will analyze the nature of the problems facing “Israel on Campus”; the afternoon group will outline strategies for “Defending Our Universities”.

Each panel (with three speakers and a chairman), will be allotted two hours, including the chairman’s initial comments, three twenty-minute papers [summarizing full papers tabled and distributed at the Conference], an audience Q. & A. period, and brief “Replies” by panel members and the panel Chairman’s summation. (Again, panel presentations are condensed versions of formal papers circulated at the Conference and to be published in CIJR’s internationally-distributed quarterly ISRAFAX journal and carried as well in our biweekly Israzine web magazine).

While we do not want to prejudge the specific subjects and issues participants may wish to address, we are, again, suggesting that the morning panel address the current situation, its causes and manifestations, while the afternoon group focus on strategies for dealing with the situation.’


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