Because we all know Israel is on the receiving end of state-sponsored oppression and egregious human rights violations, “Israel advocacy” has become a thing. Or, at least that’s what Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement director Tzvi Raviv hopes will happen with his brand new 100-hour plan to help students master their “Zionist elevator pitch”.
I can take this post one of two ways. Either I can poke holes through Raviv’s novel idea or I can let Raviv do that himself. But good things come in pairs and I will do both.
Me poking holes in Raviv’s novel idea
It’s clear that I’m not taking any of this seriously. But Raviv’s main lament is that neither are his fellow advocates.
He talks about how students just don’t have the time to prepare for debates or to articulately lay out their reasoning as to why they support Israel and its role as an occupier. He points to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule in which, Gladwell theorizes, it takes roughly that much time for someone to become an expert in a particular field. This is just too much time to spend, Raviv says. These students aren’t professional basketball players, he adds in what might actually be the worst analogy of the decade.
To combat this growing apathy, Raviv poses an idea: train students, give them one hundred hours of experience, and show them how easy it is to repeat a set of talking points. Only then can they become the next Alan Dershowitzes.
Two quick notes for Raviv. First, ‘advocacy for Israel’ is low on college campuses because it’s becoming harder and harder for students (and for reasonable people in general) to defend Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. It is not an issue of “I don’t have any time”. It’s an issue of “hm, there’s really no way I can defend the arbitrary arrest of children without sounding like a scumbag”.
Second, students advocating for rights in Palestine definitely don’t need to be coerced into raising awareness on college campuses and measuring the hours they spend practicing elevator speeches. It just goes to show which way the momentum is pointing.
Raviv poking holes in his own novel idea
Raviv attempting to circumvent reality? No surprise there. He’s on the record for calling ‘apartheid’ the “A word”. He says it’s to adopt positive rather than responsive or reactive messaging. But, uh, in the very next sentence, he reacts to Nakba week events, in which students across the nation commemorate the forceful displacement of 750,000 Palestinians between 1947 to 1949, and calls them “hate weeks”. So what we’ve established so far is that he’s an adult who still calls things the “A word” and who naturally contradicts himself.
He’s also on the record for urging students to own up to their Zionist identities, to recognize (check this out) that “Zionism is moral and right”. Digest that for a quick second.
Plus, the man is proud of doing PR work for the Israeli military, in which he also served as an infantry sergeant. Joining an occupier’s military is bad enough. Selling one’s self as a tool for military propaganda isn’t any better.
(This information can be found on his public LinkedIn profile.)
This stuff can’t be made up. He’s even paid $75,000 per year to come up with these kinds of things. I’m excited to see how quickly Raviv’s 100-hour plan tanks and what excuse he’ll gives to avoid coming to grips with the fact that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is just plain wrong.