News

At Rutgers, A Colorful Way To Support Israel

Elianna Mintz

Israel Campus Beat

May 2, 2013

Despite the stress of finals, Rutgers University students are taking a break from their studies to advocate for Israel… through paint.

Last Wednesday, Rutgers Hillel set up a 20-foot mural in front of their building on College Avenue for students to graffiti about Israel.

“Any student who wants to contribute to the graffiti wall can do as such all day today,” Jerry Enis, Rutgers Hillel’s communications consultant, told Israel Campus Beat before the event. “While they are painting, their individual form of advocacy can take place.”

The program, entitled “Positively Israel: Art4Israel,” has been conducted on over 30 different campuses across the country and is sponsored in partnership with the Jewish National Fund. Other campuses that “Art4Israel” has visited include University of California, San Diego, University of Florida, University of Pennsylvania and the University of Vermont.

Artists 4 Israel (A4I) is, according to its mission statement, “a community of creative individuals working together in an ongoing collaborative project expressing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. We are the security fence against cultural terrorism.”

Soon after Operation Cast Lead, the organization realized that art could provide an ideal medium for Israel advocacy. It didn’t take long for the group to evolve into a program that sends professional artists to college campuses to engage students and teach them to implement strategies through art.

“Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that demands and protects the freedoms that allow for the creation of art,” Dershowitz told Israel Campus Beat. “The very act of painting and expressing yourself is showing Israel’s good.”

Artists 4 Israel’s style of advocacy came quite by accident,” Craig Dershowitz, the group’s executive director, explained. “They did what they knew how to do and created art.”