Lander College for Women Graduate Launches Israel Advocacy Project

Date: July 07, 2011
Media Contact:

Barbara Franklin
Director of Communications
212-463-0400 x5530

Student Aims to Inform, Educate College Students Against Anti-Israel Sentiments.

New York, N.Y. — Pessy Katz, a recent graduate of the Lander College for Women - The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW), is leading an effort to spread the word among college students that efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel need to be treated as serious threats to the Jewish nation and should be challenged through political action.

In email messages she distributes to a constantly-growing list of college students at her Upper West Side alma mater, Ms. Katz provides links to relevant news articles, video and audio clips, and other forms of new media aimed at shifting the political dialogue as it relates to supporting Israel‟s stature in the Middle East.

Inspired by her involvement in the Jewish Council for Public Affairs‟ annual plenum sessions in Washington, D.C., Ms. Katz launched “The Lander College for Women Israel Advocacy Project” with the support of LCW, its dean, Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, the Israeli Consulate, and the Jewish Community Relations Council. Ms. Katz said the idea stemmed from a meeting she participated in with members of the Israeli Consulate and students from Columbia University and Yeshiva University.

“Pessy blends diverse talents—comprehensive knowledge of the issues, first-hand experience with political and Jewish community leaders, and technological 'know-how' - that enable her to communicate online and capture the attention of faculty and students about critical issues. She has leveraged her experience at the Lander College for Women so that can make a difference in the broader Jewish community,” said Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, dean of LCW.

“There are obvious threats to Israel, in the form of terrorism and suicide attacks,” Ms. Katz explained. “But more recently, a movement challenging the right of Israel to exist has been growing on college campuses in the U.S. and Canada, as student groups are actively protesting against Israel‟s existence.”

A self-described student activist, Ms. Katz has worked in politics, having interned for former U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York in 2008 and for U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents parts of Manhattan, in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2009. She also spent time living and studying at an Ulpan in Israel.

In the face of an international campaign that designated March 30 as a day to boycott Israeli products, Ms. Katz led a counter effort at LCW encouraging students to deliberately purchase Israeli-made products to express their solidarity with Israel. Ms. Katz encouraged her classmates to combat the boycott and buy Israeli-made products and shop in stores that sell products made in Israel.

In March, StandWithUs, a local nonprofit pro-Israel education and advocacy group, led the counter boycott effort and established a website in cooperation with the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Ms. Katz said this is another powerful way to counter efforts aimed at delegitimizing Israel and tarnishing the Jewish state‟s image in the United States.

“Many students may not be aware of what is happening on other college campuses and the idea behind the LCW Israel Advocacy Project is to teach students to be better advocates for Israel,” said Ms. Katz. “I hope that other students will become motivated to look at what is happening and do something about it.”

Touro College‟s Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School is a student- centered college where Jewish women follow a rigorous academic program as they pursue their baccalaureate degrees, while continuing and deepening their Torah education and commitment. The Judaic Studies and general academic curricula aim to enrich the students‟ general knowledge, to develop leadership skills and to prepare students to enter their chosen academic discipline.