Audrey Park, staff writer
Normans for Israel participated in an event to raise awareness for Israel on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The event, which was organized by the Los Angeles region MZ Teen interns of an Israel advocacy organization known as StandWithUs, consisted of several guest speakers such as former anti-semite Kaseem Hafiz and Israel advocate college club Emerson Fellows which taught the audience methods to raise awareness for Israel.
“A speaker named Kaseem [Hafiz] talked to us about his experience growing up as an anti-semitic muslim in the UK,” club president Daniella Hay said. “It was amazing to listen to his transformation from an anti-semitic to an advocate for Israel.”
Hay, who was initially attracted to the club because of her Jewish heritage, strives to use the lessons she learned from the event to help “show what a wonderful place Israel truly is.”
“The event showed me a different perspective [of the attitude toward Israel],” Hay said. “I was very moved to see how this guy changed from an anti-semitic to someone who goes around talking about how great Israel is.”
Events coordinator senior Michelle Banayan found the event helped her grow not only as a coordinator, but also as an advocate for Israel. Banayan hopes to use the newly-acquired skills from the event help spread awareness within both her community and school.
“The event was my first event as an intern for StandWithUs, [and] I had never really experienced the large amount of responsibility that comes with planning an event,” Banayan said. “This experience taught me to be organized and efficient; skills I am grateful to have gained. Also, as an intern trying to [be an advocate] in my community, it was really helpful to hear the tips that the Emerson Fellows gave about how to properly advocate on college campuses.”
Hay’s only regret with the event is the amount of student participation. Hay believes that although the structure of the event was well organized, the club could have done a better job in the advertisement aspect of the event.
“I wish we had more time to get more students to attend,” Hay said. “I hope to bring in more people [next time] so that we can help students see Israel from a different view and hopefully convince them to stand up for Israel.”
Club sponsor Julie Goler felt gratified to be able to provide support for the beliefs of the students at Beverly.
“My role in the club is to provide the students with a safe place to meet,” Goler said. “I’m really proud and happy to support students who take an active interest in Israel and its politics.”
Normans for Israel meets every other Tuesday in room 305. The club encourages the student body to come use the meetings as an opportunity to become more aware of Israel.