What We Talk About When We Talk About Israel Advocacy


At Israel On Demand, our summer seminar for our Core Schools, some of the most meaningful discussions about advocacy occurred during our Sunday evening activity - Café Dilemma. Café Dilemma addresses two struggles that Israel advocates often face. The first struggle is with Israeli policy. Although we advocate for Israel, does that mean we have to agree with every government decision? The second struggle is with the advocacy process. How do we decide what to share, and are we able to share our connections with someone who has different beliefs?

To explore these issues, The David Project Campus Team and participants sat together in small groups at a local restaurant and talked through different thought-provoking questions which addressed these two struggles.

The program sparked such great and deep conversation that I thought others might want to replicate the activity back on campus. Below is the outline of the evening, including the questions that we asked during the night.

How We Did It: [custom_list type="dot"]

  • Divide participants into small groups at different tables. Each group needs one facilitator (in this case it was a David Project staff member).
  • Place notecards and snacks on each table. Each notecard has a question about being an Israel advocate (questions we used are listed below).
  • Each participant picks one question that most speaks to them.
  • Once everyone has a question, the facilitator asks a participant to start off the conversation by sharing the question they picked and answering it. Others around the table are asked to weigh in on the question.
  • Once the conversation has dwindled, the facilitator asks the next participant to share their questions.
  • The process continues until everyone has shared and discussed their question.
  • At our program, each group ended with the same question, which the facilitator asked: “As an Israel advocate, what is the one thing you really want others on your campus to know about Israel?”
  • After discussing the last question, each group picked one representative to share their answer to the last question to the whole group.

[/custom_list] Questions: [custom_list type="dot"]

  • When do you feel most connected to Israel? When do you feel least connected to Israel?
  • What is the hardest part about being an Israel advocate?
  • What Israeli government policy or social issue is the hardest one for you as a supporter of Israel?
  • What does it mean to be pro-Israel in 2013?
  • Does being pro-Israel mean you are anti-something else?
  • Do you think it’s important that Israel is both a Jewish and a democratic state? Is it possible to be both?
  • What do you love most about Israel that you wish everyone knew?
  • What does it mean to be Zionist in 2013? Does Zionism still have meaning?
  • What do you really want others on your campus to know about Israel thanks to your outreach work?

[/custom_list] Please feel free to bring this activity to your campus.

What other questions would you ask in your Café Dilemma?