By SSI National
This academic year the perfect example of grassroots work was exposed to all. The organization Artists 4 Israel and Students Supporting Israel partnered together and held nine events on different SSI campuses. SSl chapters at UCSB, UCLA, SDSU, Texas A&M, University of Houston, University of Minnesota, Pace University, Indiana University , and Columbia University used graffiti to promote the State of Israel, and the result was very positive and colorful.
Artists 4 Israel started in 2009 by two very talented pro-Israel artists. They developed the positive mission of uniting people through the world of art, and the partnership with SSI allowed for students on campus to put all of their differences aside and come together and paint for Israel, showcasing true grassroots activism.
On some campuses where the events took place eight foot tall walls were built, which the artists painted away. At the University of Houston, the painting event took place while the SSIers held an Israel Block Party. During this event, over 300 students engaged with the artists and got custom T-Shirts painted on so they could remember the event long after it was over. At Columbia University, the students were combating the annual Apartheid week that the Students for Justice in Palestine were holding. The SSI students there blew up an eight foot tall Pinocchio that was designed by Artists 4 Israel in order to expose the lies of the SJP Apartheid initiative. At the University of Minnesota, the SSI group held their event just a week after BDS was defeated in their student government. During the event, the President of the SJP chapter on campus stopped by the art display for over 15 minutes, and while the artists spray painted she stated that such art wall catches the attention of many. SJP’s president, together with many other students who passed by also visited Israel for the first time through the Virtual Reality Goggles that the SSIers supplied at their event.
The partnership of A4I and SSI is exemplary for all pro-Israel organizations. While the events on each campus were somewhat different in nature, they all had the same goal of uniting the campus community around Israel in a creative, attention drawing way. Putting together a large scale, colorful display at a central campus location proved as a very successful true grassroots technique that often created a line of students waiting to see what all the gathering is about. The uniqueness of the events was that they were not only focused on the content of the message, but on the way of presenting it in the way most appealing to an average, typically apolitical student.
In SSI, we continue to represent the Jewish State through working with boots on the ground, and there are many creative ways of doing it. Together with Artist 4 Israel, the lies that are being spread on college campuses were exposed through art, unity, and positive atmosphere.