David Project

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The David Project (TDP) was launched in August 2002 in Boston, Massachusetts [1] as an effort to influence US university campuses on matters related to Israel; it is a hasbara operation. It runs workshops and seminars taught at Jewish high schools in the US.[2]

What others say

The group gained notoriety when it produced a film purporting to prove bias by Columbia University Middle Eastern Studies (MEALAC) professors, in particular, Professor Joseph Massad. The group seeks to influence the composition of the Middle East Departments at universities around the U.S. It also features speakers on "terrorism" and "anti-semitism," or, as Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, explains:

Meanwhile, Columbia University is embroiled in a controversy involving its Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures Department. The David Project, a pro-Israel group based in Boston, made a documentary called Columbia Unbecoming, which presented a series of interviews with student supporters of Israel who said they had been intimidated and harassed by members of the department who are allegedly hostile to the Jewish state. After hearing about the film, Anthony Weiner, a Democratic New York congressman, called on Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, to dismiss Joseph Massad, an assistant professor who is accused in the documentary of anti-semitism, and of verbally abusing Israeli and Jewish students. Massad has long been the target of a campaign of intimidation against academics --Jewish and non-Jewish -- who criticize Israel. Deluged by hate mail calling him a "camel jockey" and "pathetic typical Arab liar," he has decided not to teach his course on Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Societies this semester. [3]

A recent article by Scott Sherman provides further background:

The roots of the Columbia conflict can be traced back to campus political developments in 2001 and early 2002. In March, 2002 a network of national Jewish organizations met to evaluate what they saw as an alarming rise in anti-Israel activity on campus. From those meetings emerged the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), which is a partnership of Hillel and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. (The three organizations share a building in Washington.) According to a 2002 article for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a Jewish-oriented news service, top-flight talent was brought in to advise the ICC and assemble a battle plan. "Pro-Israel professionals from the elite consulting firm McKinsey & Company offered pro-bono services," the article noted. Those professionals created a document for the ICC arguing that "the primary goal for this year should be to 'take back the campus' by influencing public opinion through lectures, the Internet and coalitions." The ICC -- which recently received a $1,050,000 grant from the Schusterman Foundation, and whose speakers list includes Daniel Pipes -- has an impressive array of "members": AIPAC, ADL, Americans for Peace Now and the Zionist Organization of America, among others.
The ICC has a single "affiliate member": the David Project. The David Project is led by Charles Jacobs, who is a co-founder of CAMERA, the pro-Israel media watchdog group; the founder of the American Anti-Slavery Group, which calls itself "America's leading human rights group dedicated to abolishing modern day slavery worldwide"; and, along with Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol, among others, a member of the board of advisers of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The ICC's website lists a number of "regional ICCs" that receive "strategic advice and guidance" from the Washington headquarters. The regional ICC representative in New York is none other than Rachel Fish, the director of the David Project's New York office. Jacobs was tight-lipped in a recent interview: He refused to provide details about his financial backers, referring only to unnamed "individuals and foundations"; and he declined to elaborate on the extent to which the David Project receives tactical advice from professional pro-Israel lobbyists and operatives allied with the ICC.[4]

Affiliations

Funding

In 2004, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation -- with assets of $100 million -- gave a $1,050,000 grant to Hillel to support the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) project [6] Now, the only project of the ICC is the David Project.

Principals and featured speakers

2011

Principals
David Bernstein
Exec. Director
Marilyn Goldman
Assistant Exec. Director Operations
Lori Gans
National Director of Institutional Advancement
Todd Young
Director of Education
Former principal
David Dabscheck
former Director of Strategic Initiatives
Staff: BOSTON OFFICE
Michal Adut
Campus Coord.
Aaron Bregman
High School Program Manager
Phil Brodsky
Campus Team Manager
Matt Cohen
Video & Multimedia Coord.
Stephanie Hoffman
Curriculum/Program Manager
Dara Stern
Administrative Assistant
Avital Kranz
Campus Coord.
Jamie Lacroix
Marketing & Communications Manager
Jason Oifer
Campus Coord.
Juan Pardo
Accountant
Sean Savage
Middle East Analyst
Lauren Shuman
Campus Coord.
Rob Silva
IT Manager
Danielle Sanit
Admin. Asst
former Staff: Boston Office
Meredith Karetny
former Exec. Asst
Carly Siperstein
Dev. Asst
Abby Sloane
Campus Coord.
Staff: NEW YORK OFFICE
Matthew Ackerman
Middle East Analyst
Alex Mishkin
Campus Coord.
Eve Nachman
Assistant Director of Development
Staff: ISRAEL OFFICE
Ari Applbaum
Director of Israel Operations
Zeev Ben-Shahar
Middle East Analyst
Ze'ev Orenstein
Middle East Analyst
Aviva Roland
U.S./Israel Campus Liaison
   
Source (Accessed: 27 April 2011)

2005

Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers 2011
Ilan Berman Israel Bonan Shoshana Bryen
Ehud Eiran Chuck Freilich Frank Gaffney
Joseph Wahed Alexander Yakobson Gina Waldman
Justus Reid Weiner Aryeh Green  
Featured Speakers 2005
Rachel Fish Tal Ben Shahar Joseph Abdel Wahed
Loolwa Khazzoom Walid Phares Malaka Bublil
Dennis Hale Batia Shems Richard Land
Francis Bok Carole Basri Charles Jacobs
Eliad Moreh    
David Project: Speakers Bureau (Accessed: 27 April 2011); 2005 list has scrolled on their website

References, Resources and Contact

External Resources (alpha order)

Contact

The David Project
P.O. Box 52390
Boston, MA 02205
Website: www.thedavidproject.org

References

  1. The David Project Fact Sheet, (accessed January 22, 2010)
  2. The David Project Our Mission, Web site, accessed January 22, 2010
  3. Sara Roy, Intimidation, London Review of Books, Vol. 27, No. 4, 17 Feb. 2005.
  4. Scott Sherman The Mideast Comes to Columbia The Nation. March 16, 2005
  5. [1]
  6. Bob Feldman The Israel on Campus Coalition and the David Project: Sponsored by US oil and Israeli bank profits? , The Electronic Intifada Israel Lobby Watch, April 25 2005
  7. Junaid Alam, The Witchhunts Continue: Columbia University and the New Anti-Semitism, CounterPunch, 2 March 2005