There is no shortage of causes in campus life. A brisk stroll through freshers’ fairs sees one bombarded with pleas to join numerous societies and campaigns.
I wanted to make a tangible difference and Israel is a cause close to my heart. Was it this that compelled me last year to join the inaugural Stand With Us UK Fellowship?
Yes, in part. There was also the added attraction of being part of a national programme which would focus solely on identifying and empowering effective advocates for Israel.
But most of all, it was a desire to say to student leaders: “Take the initiative, be part of the solution, make a difference.”
Once I joined, much of the Fellowship structure surprised me greatly. Not all the participants were Jewish. Inspiringly, non-Jews wanted to take a pro-Israel stance on campus too.
There is much misinformation surrounding Israel in public debate — we were learning to be more effective, to strengthen others in their knowledge but also, crucially, to reach out to people beyond our circles and have them gain a better and more accurate understanding of Israel and the region.
Finally, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not all about politics. Fellows took different views on the multitude of issues regarding Israel, but all were united in our belief that Israel doesn’t get a fair hearing on British campuses and beyond.
Rather than dwell on points of disagreement and allow them to hinder positive action, our approach was to concentrate on the broad consensus.
To my fellow students, I say take the step forward, accept the leadership challenge and apply. And to our parents and to communal leaders, I say: feel confident — the future is in good hands.
Shlomie Liberow is the newly-appointed Stand With Us UK campus director. To apply for the group’s Fellowship programme send a CV and cover letter to UKFellowship@standwithus.com