Israeli activist speaks to HWJFA students


Davis Marks/Chronicle

StandWithUs Israel’s Director of International Student Programs Charlotte Korchak discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with students over Zoom.

Davis Marks

Jewish Family Alliance (HWJFA) hosted StandWithUs Israel’s Director of International Student Programs Charlotte Korchak at a virtual speaker event Nov. 9. 

Although she was born in Los Angeles, Korchak said she moved to Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank when she was young and gained perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through firsthand experiences. During her college years, Korchak said she felt inspired to educate others about the complexities of the Israeli state and its history.

HWJFA co-chair Gabe Glassman ’22 said it was important for the club to host Korchak in order to spread more awareness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Because our school [has a sizeable Jewish student population], we as a community need to be in full support of each other and recognize the work that needs to be done in order to do so,” Glassman said.

Korchak said to avoid spreading incorrect information, students should learn about the context of a conflict to develop a proper understanding of it.

“This story is so incredibly complex,” Korchak said. “People are out there posting things on TikTok and trying to make a point on Instagram with they have so little information to back up what they are saying. So it takes slowly exposing people to more information and education to show that there is a lot more to this that they don’t know.”

HWJFA member Morgan Beckerman ’24 said attendees benefited from learning more deeply about Israel.

“I thought it was a really good learning experience,” Beckerman said. “The whole conversation about Israel is a very important one to have and has many nuances and intricacies.”

Following Korchak’s introduction and opening discussion, students asked Korchak questions about a variety of topics, ranging from combating misinformation to the differences between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

Korchak said students should be steadfast in their Jewish identity despite any outside pressure they might feel to abandon the Jewish faith.

There are so many Jews throughout history who have abandoned their identity,” Korchak said. “You had Jews who converted to Christianity and you had Jews who abandoned every tradition of Judaism because that is what society said they had to do just in order to be accepted.”

HWJFA member Sophie Shabani ’24 said the event was insightful and said she found Korchak’s suggestions on how to combat misinformation and have respectful conversations with others useful.

“I thought that the event was super interesting because people asked really thought-provoking questions,” Shabani said. “[Korchak’s] opinions and suggestions regarding Israel gave me a very interesting perspective, and I learned a lot from her.”