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Faintuch is Western Canada Campus Coordinator for Hasbara Fellowships and ‘Stand With Us' Emerson Fellow at U of W

by Rhonda Spivak, March 14, 2011 updated March 16

Business student Ashley Faintuch, who is the Western Canada Campus Coordinator for Hasbara Fellowships and ‘Stand With Us' Emerson Fellow at the University of Winnipeg is countering Israel Apartheid Week by organizing "Israel Peace Week: In the Name of Democracy," which began March 14.  Faintuch says that the week-long event contrasts Democracy and human rights in the Middle East, as well as showing that Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran are not partners for peace. Israel Peace Week is an initiative of Hasbara Fellowships which communicates Israel's efforts for peace, and is being hosted by 50 universities across North America.
Faintuch, who is a past president of Hillel, is setting up a table at the University of Winnipeg  utilizing material from Hasbara Fellowships and Stand With Us from 10am-2pm all week by the 2nd floor escalators in Centennial Hall. The student group officially putting on Israel Peace Week (IPW) is Campus Democracy, a group that Faintuch leads at the  U of W. The group also exists at the U of M.

Faintuch said on monday  evening March 14 she and other students helpiong her handed out information to a little over 200 students as they were passing by.

"Out of the 200 about 55 people stopped to get more information and most of them engaged in discussed on March 14.A lot of them had questions…One lady who was a philosophy Professor read every single piece of material and she watched  a video twice…She’s going to tell her classes to stop by  throughout the week…She hadn’t known that there was a Bahai Temple in Haifa, for example.”

 Faintuch also had a couple of people who took issue with Israel's positions. Others said that Hamas 'wasn’t a terrorist group,' because it was “a democratic government protecting its people.”

On March 15, Faintuch said she met a lot of students who felt that Hamas  were "freedom fighters" and "not terrorists," and Faintuch said she was "alarmed" to see how many of them essentially praised or supported  Hamas.

Alan Yusim, Regional director of B’nai Brith told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that he had gone to U of W to help Faintuch while she was tabling for a period of time.
“B’nai Brith has been very supportive of this initiative,” said Faintuch . She added that Robin Super, a Hasbara Fellow at U of W, Tyrone Krawetz, a U of W student, Igor Golinkin, a former IDF soldier who recently immigrated here from Israel, Adeolu Adetola, a non-Jewish Business student from Nigeria, Stephanie Faintuch, a U of M student, as well as U of W students Seth Morris, Barry Tabacznik and Noa Farage will also be helping her table throughout the week.
The “Stand With Us” Emerson Fellowship which is four years old selects and trains 40 student leaders on 40 campuses in the U.S. and Canada to run Israel education events and combat anti-Israel rhetoric. During IAW, the coordinators and Fellows help students counter the anti-Israel activities.
"Stand With Us" co-founder and CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement that one of the booklets designed specifically to counter Israel Apartheid Week “calls for ending the real apartheid that does exist in the Middle East: gender, religious, sexual, political, and racial apartheid. Anyone who reads this booklet would not be surprised by the eruptions occurring in the Middle East today."
"Stand With Us" is a 10-year-old, international, nonprofit Israel education organization that ensures that Israel's side of the story is told on campuses and in communities, libraries, schools, and the media. "Stand With Us" hosts speakers, programs, and conferences in cities around the world, takes missions to Israel, offers Web site resources, and creates and globally distributes brochures and materials about Israel in a variety of languages and on a variety of topics.
Based in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and offices in locations across the U.S., Israel, and the UK, including New York, Chicago, the Pacific Northwest, Detroit, Orange County (CA), Santa Cruz (CA), San Francisco, and Milwaukee.
Hasbara Fellowships, a program spearheaded by Aish International, started in 2001 in conjunction with Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hasbara Fellowships brings hundreds of students to Israel every summer and winter, giving them the information and tools to return to their campuses as educators about Israel. So far, Hasbara Fellowships has educated over 1,800 students on over 250 campuses. Upon returning from the program, Hasbara Fellows receive support from Hasbara staff, as well as access to various campaigns, programs, speakers and other materials and tools. Hasbara Fellowships focuses on college campuses, but the information and tools offered are applicable for other forums as well. 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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