Let’s have more hummus and less Hamas
Brave students train to tackle anti-Israel rhetoric on campus
What’s the best way to change students’ minds about Israel?
Why not give them some tasty falafels and hummus and invite them to events celebrating the Jewish state’s vibrant culture, unique history and legal legitimacy?
That’s what students working with Israel charity StandWithUs will be doing over the next academic year; they met for training from 12-14 September.
Speakers at the event in London included Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan and an outspoken voice for Israel at the UN. Col Kemp explained how anti-Israel rhetoric emboldens the terrorist group Hamas, which fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians in May. He praised the Israel Defence Forces’ response as “the most precise military campaign that’s ever been conducted”, minimising civilian casualties.
Investigative journalist David Collier spoke on the manipulation of Wikipedia’s Israel pages by neo-Nazis and Islamist terrorist supporters. By monitoring the website’s editors, he has exposed their deliberate attempts to remove pro-Israel content while painting anti-Israel activities in a favourable light.
Lord Ian Austin, whose father is Jewish, described his painful decision to leave the Labour Party in 2019 due to its ongoing anti-Semitism. Isaac Zafarti, associate director of StandWithUs UK, spoke of the use of human shields by Israel’s enemies; as a former IDF soldier, he had personally witnessed missiles being unloaded from an ambulance.
Wilberforce would have been proud
Young visionaries stand up to ‘cancel culture’
Despite a free speech furore, delegates left this year’s Wilberforce Academy inspired to speak up for Jesus in public life.
In a parliamentary debate, Fiona Bruce MP praised the conference, which was hosted by Christian Concern from 6-10 September.
As if to underline the importance of training future leaders, the conference hit the headlines when a small group of Oxford students forced the venue, Worcester College, to apologise for hosting the event. The provost of the college, David Isaac, had previously expressed support for faith groups in universities while chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
Appropriately, the young professionals attending the Academy had been encouraged to take a bold stand on moral issues. “Don’t let people shut you up for ‘imposing’ your views on them; tell them they’re imposing their views on you,” said Tim Dieppe, Christian Concern’s head of public policy. “If we’re legislating morality – which we always are – let’s make sure it’s the best morality out there!”
Another speaker, Steve Beegoo, head of education at Christian Concern, is currently working with 11 groups across the country hoping to start their own Christian schools.
Rev Melvin Tinker exposed the rise of cultural Marxism – the ideology that attacks marriage, family and the Church as outdated, “repressive social institutions”.
Several ‘heroes of faith’ also gave moving testimonies, including Dr Dermot Kearney, who was blocked from giving life-saving treatment to unborn babies whose mothers regret taking DIY abortion pills, and Kristie Higgs, who lost her job as a pastoral assistant after sharing concerns on Facebook regarding sex education in her child’s primary school. These are just some of the many clients supported by the Christian Legal Centre each year.
The Academy’s 600-strong alumni network forms the modern equivalent of the Clapham Sect, Wilberforce’s dauntless group of anti-slavery reformers. Given society’s increasing opposition to Christian values, such a network is needed more than ever.