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ASU for Israel rallies for peace

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Posted: Friday, November 8, 2002 12:00 am

Members of ASU for Israel, a division of Hillel of Arizona State University, took time out from school to hold an anti-ignorance rally to educate fellow students about anti-Semitism and the conflict in the Middle East.

"I think awareness campaigns, if done correctly, are great tools," says Falynn Glickstein, president of ASU for Israel. "If you educate people about what is going on, then I think you have done a mitzvah."

The rally, held Oct. 30 outside the Memorial Union on the ASU main campus in Tempe, featured Eitan Ben-Ami, shaliach of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Rabbi Barton Lee of Hillel and Elad Nehorai, an ASU freshman who discussed his personal ties to Israel. Bill Straus of the Anti-Defamation League was also scheduled to speak, but could not attend.

"The main message was to inform about the conflict in the Middle East," says Lee. "The message is Israel wants peace, but what do the Palestinians want? The answer is implicit in the question."

Students involved in ASU for Israel have been planning the rally since September in an effort to reach Jewish and non-Jewish students.

"We wanted students to know there is a pro-Israel group on campus," says Glickstein. "We also want to educate the campus ... about what anti-Semitism really is."

The event also marked the beginning of the circulation of the "Israel Wants Peace" petition, says Glickstein.

"We hope to get over 1,000 signatures and place the ad in the campus paper and local publications," she says.

Estimating the number of participants at the rally is difficult, according to Lee, because students were coming and going throughout the morning.

"What's important is that some people walk by and are aware of the presence of people supporting Israel," he says. "Jewish kids walk by and some stop and talk, some stay and participate. The battle for people's hearts and minds is not won in large masses."

The rally coincided with "Islam Awareness Week" at the University through an accidental scheduling blip, says Lee. However, the coincidence may have helped both groups, he says.

"The claim of Islam Awareness Week is that it is both a religion and a culture," says Lee. "The Western world sometimes has difficulty understanding both Jews' and Muslims' connection between the ethnic culture and religion. If we don't understand that, then we can't really understand Judaism or Islam."

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