Fifteen Israeli-American college students from Georgia attended the Israeli-American Council Mishelanu Conference in Los Angeles from Feb. 17 to 19. The pro-Israel conference aims to connect Israeli-Americans from universities across the United States.
Conference participant Lee Setty, the president of the IAC Mishelanu chapter at the University of Georgia, said that attending the conference opened her eyes to that specific college community.
“It fills a need in a community that we weren’t even aware of,” she said. “We’re all Israeli, American and Jewish, but now we have people that are just like us. Before we were forced to choose if we were just in the Jewish community or just the Israeli community. Now we have everything together.”
Setty’s family moved from Tel Aviv to Alpharetta when she was 3 years old. The sophomore marketing major attended the conference with a delegation of nine students from UGA and five others from Emory, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, and Georgia College and State University.
Around 300 students from around the United States attended the three-day conference and participated in breakout sessions covering topics from Israeli music to networking, entrepreneurship and tips for dealing with anti-Israeli sentiment on campus.
“They told us that the best way to tell people about what’s going on in Israel is just to tell your own story,” Setty said. “A lot of college campuses have been affected by the BDS movement recently, so it was definitely a topic we discussed.”
In February 2016, 17 members of Athens for Justice in Palestine interrupted an event hosted by campus group Dawgs for Israel at which two Israeli soldiers spoke. The protesters staged a walkout after disrupting the speech of one of the soldiers, brought to campus by StandWithUs.
Setty was at that event as a freshman.
Two more soldiers touring the Southeast with StandWithUs were scheduled to speak at UGA on Tuesday night, Feb. 21. Setty helped plan the event and told the AJT in advance, “We’re really trying to get a lot of people to come and make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.”