It's always darkest before the dawn

May 14, 2009

In The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Over the 2008-2009 school year, Texas Hillel and its student groups have seen many successes. Texans For Israel (TFI), Texas Hillel’s award winning pro-Israel advocacy program, deserves particular mention. TFI serves as a forum for students who share a common interest in Israel and a strong, mutually-beneficial U.S.-Israel relationship.

TFI students have accomplished a great deal over the past school year, but we also wanted to update you on the new and diverse challenges that pro-Israel students face at UT:

First, The Good News & Accomplishments:

On Thursday, January 22nd, TFI students organized a Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace rally on the UT campus within a week of returning from winter break. The rally, which was attended by numerous anti-Israel groups, focused on support for Israel and support for peace.

TFI held its 11th Annual Israel Block Party on Wednesday, March 11th, which was a great success, concluding with an outdoor concert by Israeli rock legend Berry Sakharof.

TFI members countered anti-Israel propaganda during the Palestine Solidarity Committee’s “Nakba Memorial Day” by engaging students on campus, presenting truth and facts, and by establishing dialogue.

TFI also hosted extraordinary speakers at Texas Hillel and on the UT campus including:

  • Dr. Jonathan Adelman, professor of International Studies at the University of Denver and a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
  • The Honorable Sallai Meridor, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., who personally commended TFI students for their outstanding grassroots pro-Israel advocacy on campus
  • Mitchell Barack, founder and CEO of KEEVOON Research Strategy & Communications, a leading research and political communications firm in Israel
  • Gil Hoffman, Chief Political Correspondent for The Jerusalem Post
  • Michael C. Duke, the Associate Editor of Houston’s Jewish Herald Voice, who wrote an article and an editorial opinion about the achievements and importance of TFI

Now, the Growing Challenges:

For years, the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) served as the primary vehicle for Israel’s detractors on the UT campus, but over the past several months, many new groups have joined the anti-Israel fray, including the Society of Islamic Awareness, Arab Students Association, Austin Coalition for Palestine, the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, the International Socialist Organization at UT, and CAMEO, the Campus Anti-War Movement to End the Occupation.

These organizations have combined their efforts, and their funds, to bring in many anti-Israel (and often anti-Semitic) speakers to the UT campus. Most notably, Norman Finkelstein and Amy Goodman spoke during Yom Ha’aztmaut and Yom Hazikaron.

These groups have also led picket lines and protest rallies at several TFI events throughout the year, receiving great attention from campus and local press.

The PSC held a memorial event on campus, “remembering the victims of the Gaza massacre.” As part of that event, students left shoes and white roses (both poignant symbols of the Holocaust) on the steps of the UT Tower.

Please Help Our Students Defend Israel on Campus

It is now time to clear up a common misconception regarding TFI…
Texans For Israel does not receive financial assistance from any local, state, or national pro-Israel group. It is solely funded by Texas Hillel, which is only able to succeed thanks to the generosity of private donors like you.

On behalf of the Texans For Israel student activists, please consider making a generous donation to the Texans For Israel program to ensure that our students have the funding they need to continue their important work on campus.

By promoting a pro-Israel agenda in the face of an increasingly anti-Israel element in and around the UT campus, our students are able to face down those who wish to demonize Israel at every turn.

Making a donation to Texas Hillel is very easy. Simply click here or on the Donate Now button below to make your secure, hassle-free online donation. Or, if you prefer, you can mail your check to Texas Hillel at 2105 San Antonio St, Austin, TX 78731. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Texas Hillel’s Director for Institutional Advancement Scott Kammerman at 512-476-0125 or

On behalf of the future leaders of the pro-Israel and Jewish communities, we thank you for your consideration and generosity.

Best regards,

Texas Hillel