Award for students who defied anti-Zionists


Two pro-Israel students who defied violent protesters have won an award for campus activism.

Hadar Langerman, the president of King’s College London Israel Society, and Tamara Berens, the society’s vice-president, were honoured by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) at a ceremony in New York last Sunday.

They received the David Bar-Illan award — named after the late Israeli editor and author — for continuing pro-Israel activities following two violent demonstrations at King’s College London (KCL) and University College London (UCL).

It is the first time the award has been given to students.

Ms Langerman said: “We want to show Jewish students they can turn the campus situation about, and continue to advocate for Israel even after a horrific event such as we experienced.

“We have tried to bring in as many different speakers as possible, to hear different perspectives.

We try to attract people from across the spectrum — it’s not just about Jews. It’s important to us to promote dialogue. We always try to see the other perspective.”

In January 2016, the Israel Society organised a talk at KCL by Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet security agency, which was interrupted by a violent pro-Palestine protest, with Jewish students subjected to a volley of abuse, including being called “Nazis”.

Nine months later, the Society co-hosted a lecture at UCL by Hen Mazzig, a former IDF officer, which was targeted by violent ant-Zionist demonstrators. Ms Langerman, 20, a pharmacy student from Hendon, recalled: “We were really shaken up. We feared for our safety.”

Accepting the award, she said: “The protest showed me there are many people who view Israel in a bad light. That’s why we continue to host events and speakers. It’s important we get as many people as we can to stand up for Israel.”

Eighteen-year-old Ms Berens, who is reading war studies at KCL, said it was important the society bounced back after the Ayalon protest.

She said: “We were determined not to let the university’s reputation for anti-Israel activism intimidate us.

“The protest at the Hen Mazzig event only deepened our resolve. It was very upsetting. It made me realise how many people on campus hate Israel.

“We’re very grateful to CAMERA for the work they’ve done supporting us. It’s great to see an American organisation taking notice of activism on British campuses. The award was a pleasant surprise —it shows our work in London is being valued worldwide.”


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