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WSU student’s AJC fellowship yields new understanding
During my last three years of college, I have spent most of my free time focusing on advocacy, specifically on matters relating to Israel. When I learned the American Jewish Committee (AJC) was looking for fellows for their regional offices, I applied immediately.
My fellowship in the AJC Chicago office began this summer at the AJC’s Global Forum in Washington, D.C. From my first session, I realized how different AJC is from the other groups I had experienced. AJC invests many of its resources into its younger members. As an AJC Goldman Fellow, I met such speakers as Knesset member Tzipi Livni, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and author Bernard Henry Levy.
On the final day of the Global Forum, I was invited to lobby senators on a matter I found important. Being an Israel activist on Wayne State University’s campus, I found it fitting to speak on combating BDS.
At the beginning of this summer, I participated in a trip to Israel with Hasbarah fellowships, where I had the opportunity to visit factories in the West Bank and also meet with Palestinians who explained how the BDS movement harms them and defers peace. I shared these conversations during the Global Forum senate meeting and was told at the end that my on-the-ground experience really influenced their view and that they would be supporting a bipartisan anti-BDS bill.
During my time in the AJC Chicago office, I had many incredible experiences, including briefings on current geopolitical issues, lunch with religious leaders and meetings with ambassadors and diplomats. I also participated in helping to develop a program for the next generation about the importance of advocacy.
Before my summer as a Goldman AJC Fellow, my understanding was that Jewish advocacy was equivalent to Israel advocacy. Although Israel was a primary topic of discussion, there was an even greater focus on helping global Jewry. An example was my being included in a conversation with the French Consul General where we discussed the current rise of anti-Semitism in France. While the conversation touched on Israel, its focus was global Jewish advocacy.
Although I am very opinionated and have a deep love for Israel, AJC taught me the importance of being an advocate for not only Israel but also for making sure the voices of Jews are heard globally.
As I start a new chapter in my journey of advocacy, I want to thank the AJC Chicago staff for the opportunities I was invited to be part of as well as their guidance and kindness. Most of all, I want to thank my mentor for her constant support and encouragement during my time at AJC. I hope to inspire others to become global advocates as she has inspired me.
Jessica Davidov of West Bloomfield is a senior at Wayne State University. She is president of the WSU Students for Israel organization and a Goldman Fellow with the American Jewish Committee.