Some 27 students are slated to set out on a 10-day public diplomacy mission to
South Africa next month to combat claims that the Jewish democratic state is an
In an attempt to promote the fight against the
delegitimization of Israel – especially on college campuses – Alon Kimhi,
founder of an independent hasbara organization, started a Facebook page close to
half a year ago. The mission was organized in coordination with the World Union of Jewish Students and the South African Union of Jewish Students.RELATED:Edelstein: Hasbara activists can learn from Begin Israeli students embark on ‘hasbara’ journey to UK campuses
The group, called “What Is rael” (a play on “what is
real”), describes its members as “Israeli students promoting
“Israel is not apartheid, South Africa was. Please
don’t make that comparison,” said Roi Wolf, the organization’s spokesman,
paraphrasing the mission’s central message.
The group’s itinerary is
jam-packed and includes visits to six universities in two of South Africa’s
capitals: Capetown (legislative) and Pretoria (administrative) as well as
The mission will be “non-provocative,” Wolf said.
Activities include holding discussion panels and handing out pro-Israel
“Pro-Palestinian anti-Israel campaigns are held weekly on
South-African campuses,” said Wolf, adding, “we aren’t anticipating a friendly
response but we hope to give them (South- African students) a different view of
what’s going on in Israel.”
With just under a month to go, the
organization – which prides itself on being independent of government influence
and does not even accept government grants – finds itself strapped for funds.
Additionally, they are looking for more participants to join in on what the
organizers see as an important mission.
“Despite these difficulties the
staff is quite positive about the turnout for this mission,” Wolf
In an effort to garner funds and members, and promote pro-Israel
hasbara, What Is rael is advertising a night out in a Tel Aviv
The “dance to defend Israel” party will take place at the
Dizengoff Nightclub next Saturday night. Tickets cost NIS 50 and all proceeds go
toward subsidizing the students’ trip, which they are paying for
What Is rael has started planning their next missions abroad
to other destinations, including Canada and the US in October and November.