By Leah Soffer '14, Contributing Writer
This fall marks the revival of the 5C club, Claremont Students for Israel (CSI). For the past two years, CSI has been an outgrowth of the Hillel of the Claremont Colleges. But CSI no longer holds any affiliation to Hillel; Ellie Rudee and I have reformatted the club to be completely autonomous.
In addition to being secular, CSI is also bipartisan. But, more importantly, the club supports democracy and peace in an increasingly volatile Middle East.
Despite its frequent misrepresentation in media, Israel is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. Though Israel is legally a Jewish state, it grants complete religious freedom and gives full rights and citizenship to Arab-Israelis, as evidenced by the numerous Arab-Israelis serving in Israel’s parliament. In addition, Israel was founded with equal rights for women. Although many of Israel’s neighboring countries have yet to accept women’s suffrage, a female was elected Prime Minster of Israel in 1969. Israel recog- nizes foreign same-sex marriages and gives homosexual couples the same tax breaks and legal adoption rights that heterosexual couples enjoy, a level of parity for same-sex couples which the United States has yet to achieve. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was only recently repealed in the United States, but the LGBTQ community has been able to serve openly in the Israeli military for almost 20 years.
Israel is also one of the most innovative countries in the world. Inventions originating in Israel include instant messenger, cell phone technologies, most computer chips and the first completely electric car. Israel is also the site of the invention of the device—featured on Glee!—which enables paraplegics to walk. The head bandage which saved the life of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (‘93) was also a medical innovation from Israel.
CSI will be advocating for Israel on the campuses, publicizing reasons to support Israel and foster a stronger U.S.–Israel relationship. Advocacy will include social events, film screenings and speakers. Also planned is a visit with current district representative David Dreier (CMC ‘75) to discuss the maintenance of the current U.S.-Israel relationship.
Upcoming events will be discussed and planned in detail at CSI meetings. The meetings also include debates around current political issues surrounding Israel and the Arab World. Respectful debate is the goal, so all opinions are welcome.
CSI’s first event, “LESS HAMAS MORE HUMMUS!” will feature Hamas media and raise awareness of bias in the media against Israel. Free hummus and “LESS HAMAS MORE HUMMUS!” T-shirts will be avail- able in Vita Nova 100 on Oct. 20 starting at 7 p.m.
On behalf of Claremont Students for Israel, I would like to invite you to our club meetings and events! If you are interested in joining, or think your club may want to do a joint event with CSI, please contact me at LSoffer3902@scrippscollege.edu.