Building Relationships on Campus: Reaching out to the Community

Your greatest ally in the BDS fight is the Jewish community. Local Jewish leaders typically have connections within the university community that can help and national organizations can also contribute resources.
  1. Ask the campus Hillel professional to help you contact the appropriate community organizations.
  2. Contact the Israel on Campus Coalition, which represents all of the major organizations that work with students and its BDS task force can provide resources, advice and other assistance.
  3. Be in touch with the local Jewish Community Relations Council if there is one in your town. Most larger cities with a Jewish federation, also have JCRCs. These are professionals and lay leaders who work with the local community organizations, elected officials and media. If there is no JCRC you might contact the nearest Jewish federation.
  4. If any campus activities have anti-Semitic aspects, contact the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
  5. Contact the nearest Israeli consulate. Each one should have someone who deals with academic affairs and will want to be in the loop and can also help with materials, information and other resources or speakers.
  6. Build ties with the communal organizations before a crisis. Encourage the JCRC and other community organizations to include a student representative so they can be kept informed of what is happening on campus.
It is important to recognize that campus issues are often, for better or worse, viewed as national as well as local matters. BDS initiatives, in particular, have broader implications beyond a given campus and therefore will attract the attention of organizations and individuals beyond the campus. Groups with interests in Israel will often come to campus with the best of intentions but advocate responses that are ill-suited to your campus culture. When the issue is resolved or crises passes, they will leave but you still have to live and learn on that campus and will feel any negative consequences of the actions of the organizations that parachuted in to help. Outsiders sometimes believe they know best, and sometimes do have good advice and insights based on wider experience, but it is important to try to educate them about the local campus culture as well.