Joshua Strub - Law Student University of Western Ontario
Dr. Jacques Gauthier - International Human Rights Lawyer
Over 70 Jewish educators across North America were trained by Richard Bass in 2011.
Jewish Student Union (JSU), which reaches 12,000 students weekly in North America, is using modules from the JED`s curriculum in its 200 extra-curricular high school clubs.
Invited by world authority Dr. Jacques Gauthier, Richard presented a module from the curriculum to an international audience of approximately 200 delegates, educators and lay-persons of all denominations at the Together For the Sake of Jerusalem conference in Basel, Switzerland in August, 2011.
The accredited Israel in World Relations curriculum was piloted to high-school students in Toronto in 2010, and is currently in its third offering in 2011, with a 600% increase in enrollment.
A 10-week pilot adult education course was delivered in the summer of 2011 to a group of 20 professionals and educators, with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
UJA has used modules from JED in their initiatives for Jewish teens.
Jewish day schools in the United States are using the curriculum.
Sgt. Benjamin Anthony of Our Soldiers Speak has been promoting JED’s curriculum in his talks on campuses and in communities across North America.
Testimonials and Achievements:
Richard Bass has developed a unique modular course on the Jewish People, the Land of Israel and the Ideology behind Judaism. Richard has the rare ability to present in a very comprehensive way crucial historical data. This course is an extremely well-informed source of knowledge and information for all those interested in history, political science and many key legal aspects of the important issues which have confronted the Jewish People over the last centuries.
Dr. Jacques P. Gauthier
My name is Joshua Strub. I am an executive member of Israel On Campus and I was one of the people who organized your lecture at UWO. I am in a combined engineering and law program, in my first year of law school.
I am one of the most educated students with respect to Israel that I know here at Western (if not the most). I have been to Israel in excess of 20 times and have lived there for 2 separate 4 month periods during high school. One of those 4 month trips was on a program called Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim where we learned about Israel, Jewish History, and other studies while traveling the land. My father has always taught me, and made me read books about Israel and the conflict, he actually just made aliyah this year.
Even for me, your the talk was enlightening. Much of what you discussed were things that I already knew, however there were things that were new to me as well. What was most informative for me was the way in which you presented the information. You presented it as an objective case study analysis of the situation is Israel. It was astounding to see how few of the Jewish Students there (essentially none), including myself, could readily put forth the correct information and arguments as to why Israel is rightfully the Jewish people's and what evidence in history we have to prove it.
Jewish students are constantly being confronted by anti-Israel students on campus. Each time, the students that have the courage to stand up for themselves, try to defend Israel but really do not have the proper objective information in their repertoire to bring forth. The lecture shows students how important it is to know this information, why it is important, and how to properly analyze the situation in Israel.
As one the the few, and strongest advocates for Israel on this campus full of Jewish students who grew up in the Jewish Education System in Toronto, I feel the need for students to know the issues, know the facts, know the analysis, and be ready to present it. The lecture presented provides the audience with all of those things. The curriculum that you are developing should be taught to all Jewish students around the world. This way, students will know how to approach the argument objectively, rather than from their personal bias developed through their upbringing. This is the curriculum that should be taught in Jewish high-schools. This is the curriculum that Hillels should be able to run workshops on. This is the type of lecture that engages Jewish students and teaches them how to properly approach any argument on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jewish students need this information. Israel's international identity needs Jewish students to be armed with this information.
I hope that Israel on Campus at the University of Western Ontario will be able to run these lectures on a regular basis in the future. Lectures that are based on this thought provoking, objective analysis system, are the true way to learn and our workshops that we run need to incorporate this strategy.
My name is Eitan Gilboord and I am a third year politics and government student at Ryerson University. I am currently employed by Hasbara Fellowships as a campus coordinator for Toronto universities, and the founder and chair of the Hillel Israel affairs group at Ryerson. I was a product of a modern orthodox family, and had two years of Jewish/Zionist high school (CHAT) education and another two years of public school education. In that time I went on March of the Living, became President of our Jewish students group, and student President of NCSY for Toronto. I was under the impression that I was ready to deal with any encounters I could have met on campus. In my first year I argued with someone during IAW and they were able to throw around “facts” and quotes I had never heard of. It wasn’t until I started reading books, attending classes, and participating in wide scale advocacy organizations until I learnt how to effectively respond to the anti-Israel accusations.
When I decided to revive the Israel group at Ryerson University I encountered many students who were passionate about Israel, but were simply lacking the knowledge, and consequently become too scared to get involved. This is why I always set up training seminars for students in my group. When discussing what sort of training we wanted to have (media training, advocacy training, history training) Richard’s name was enthusiastically mentioned multiple times by students who knew of his course from high school. We brought Richard to speak with us and he provided an unbelievably wonderful seminar that was able to effectively communicate the broader history of Israel and Israeli rights to the land. These sorts of 3 hour intensive sessions are exactly what are needed to make effective advocates on campus.
Richard delivered the speech to some 20 odd Ryerson students who were given the confidence that they needed to be able to communicate efficiently. Almost all of the students that attended the seminar have been significantly more active since, and often were critical components of our campaigns afterwards (See Israel Peace Week Ryerson).
When more students are able to go into university properly aware of Israeli and Jewish claims to land, then there will be much better advocacy occurring on campus. People like Richard need to continue teaching students the critically important history of Israel.
Shawn Bank - UWO Student
It was my honour, along with my colleagues at Israel on Campus at the University of Western Ontario, to host Richard Bass this year as a speaker to close our programming for this year's Israel Awareness Week. Richard had given us the opportunity to choose between a 2.5 hour or 1 hour lecture, and we thought it would be prudent, in order to ensure that people would stay, to opt for the 1 hour lecture. We were mistaken. In addition to Richard's lecture, nearly all of the 75 attendees stayed for a 2 hour question and answer session in addition to the 1 hour lecture. Usually these question and answer sessions last approximately half an hour; for Richard's talk people simply did not want to leave. His approach to the issue of the sovereignty of the land of Israel is unique in that he does not take any sides, and presents a purely academic representation of the various issues surrounding the respective positions of the claimants to the land of Israel. He often invokes international law, which is another rare position, as many experts on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict focus on demographic, religious and humanitarian issues when discussing the same topic. Richard's position also focuses very strongly on removing such extraneous issues from the discussion and shifts the focus strictly to the legal/historical claims. In all my 15 years of Jewish education, including a year spent in Israel, I had never heard this type of talk before. The information in Richard's presentation, as well as in other materials that he has provided me (many of which are the sources for the presentation) have changed my views on the entire situation in Israel.
I mentioned before the question and answer session that lasted approximately four times as long as usual. Even after this session, around 10 people stayed an additional half hour. One person who stayed to speak with Richard was a student who is known to be an ardent and passionate supporter of Hamas on campus. He is visibly involved in every presentation that decries Israel and played an integral role in the week known by him and his cohorts as Israel Apartheid Week. During a display in which they role played various situations that they perceive to be reality at Israeli checkpoints, he wore a Hamas headband. He stayed the entirety of Richard's presentation, from start to finish, and sat down with Richard respectfully and calmly and went through many of the sources on Richard's computer and they exchanged contact information at the end. This is also something I have never before witnessed on campus. Even during the week leading up to the event, members of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (a misnomer, given that they dedicate their time to delegitimizing the State of Israel and nothing more) barked lengthy, biased and disrespectful questions at experts who we had brought in to speak, one of whom was a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Western, and two who were recognized experts in the field. Richard's presentation and approach to the issues make it exceedingly difficult to take issue to any of his positions in an intellectually honest way. He is also unafraid to recognize the negative aspects of Israel. I believe that this is why people who are deeply anti-Israel are comfortable speaking with him; they trust that he is objective. I truly believe that, given a larger platform, Richard will be able to change many people's perspectives regarding Israel in a profound and permanent way.
Hillel Israel Affairs chair – Ryerson University
Hasbara Fellowships Toronto campus coordinator