This blog post is written by Jeremy Borison, Michele Freed, and Stephanie Horwitz, all students at the University of Michigan. During Operation Pillar of Defense, there were many students who wanted to do something to mobilize support for Israel on the University of Michigan campus. We had seen quite a bit of one-sided media, as well as negative talks and demonstrations of Israel on campus. In addition to a successful Pro-Israel rally in the Diag in which over 150 students attended, we felt that there was more to be done. During a weekly I-LEAD (Israel Leadership Education Advocacy and Dialogue) meeting, while discussing ways to advocate for Israel just after Operation Pillar of Defense, a few of us came up with the idea to make a video to show support for Israel on campus. I-LEAD is a pro-Israel, Hillel-affiliated group on campus which strives to provide an engaging environment where thought-provoking conversation and education can take place regarding the modern-day state of Israel. From conception to completion, the video took one week and included scripting throughout Thanksgiving break.
We had three main objectives for this project. Firstly, we wanted to show students at the University of Michigan that there are many individuals who support Israel on campus. While presenting our support for Israel, we chose to focus on concrete objective reasoning such as free speech and the freedom of religion—qualities of Israel that are often overlooked. Secondly, we wanted to inspire and reach out to other universities through the “I Support UIsrael” campaign, encouraging students on other campuses to also show their support for Israel by creating their own videos. We hope that by encouraging other universities to make their own videos, they would ultimately be part of a huge nationwide campaign of campus support for Israel. Lastly, we wanted to show the citizens of Israel, our family and friends, that we support them.
We hope that our actions triggered a domino effect of Israel support on campus, and we look forward to seeing the videos created by other students as part of the “I Support UIsrael” campaign.