College Student Dalia Zahger Is Helping to Lead the Fight Against Anti-semitism on Campus

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Bruce caricatureBruce The Blog
By Bruce Apar
When Bruce The Blog Listens, People Talk

Dalia Zahger is the featured speaker Sunday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m., at Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties, in Ridgefield, Conn. Scroll to the end of this article for details on how to attend. 

A very strong case can be made that Anti-semitism is not only about prejudice towards a particular ethnic group — those of Jewish extraction.

A very strong case can be made that Anti-semitism is in fact emblematic of what quickly can turn into the hatred of peoples of all stripes. If hatred of one is inflamed, history shows it soon spreads like wildfire into hatred of many–and of any. No one is immune. No one is protected. No one is safe.

Dalia Zahger is an ardent advocate of making such a case. She is the co-founder of the Columbia University chapter of “Students Supporting Israel.” Its mission is to “promote a better understanding of Israel throughout America, with a right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state, within secure borders. We are changing the anti-Israel climate many students encounter on campus.”

Rare Area Appearance
On Sunday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m., at Congregation Shir Shalom in Ridgefield, Conn., Ms. Zahger will be making a rare appearance in this area to discuss the group’s hard-won efforts pushing back against Anti-semitism that has found a virulent voice among college students. 

She considers what’s happening in academe an especially insidious form of Anti-semitism, because it hides behind the political position of “blaming the only Jewish state for all the wrongdoings in the world.

“One may criticize Israel as they wish,” she says, “but it is when you criticize only Israel, and hold the only Jewish state to a higher standard than all the rest, that the purpose is clear. This is evident today across all America and definitely on college campuses.’

Dalia Zahger interviews renowned civil liberties lawyer, Harvard Law School professor and vocal pro-Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz.

Professors Who Preach and Teach Hate
Ms. Zahger alleges that “Columbia, like Berkeley and many others, is a hotbed for professors who preach hate.”  

She offers examples… 

“One professor posted on his public Facebook page that behind every horrible thing in the world, if you wait a few minutes, Israel’s ugly name will come up.”

“Another professor chose to teach about the Israel-Palestinian conflict with a mandatory reading of a book called The Invention of the Jews, claiming Jews are invented people with no connection to their historical homeland.” 

Demonization and Bullying on Campus
The Columbia University senior, who is majoring in political science, and studying to practice international law, adds, “That’s only the beginning. I can share stories about harassment, demonization, and bullying of pro-Israel students who choose to stand up for our indigenous rights.”

She makes no bones about her sentiments toward the first-term congresswoman from Minnesota whose remarks harshly critical of Israel have made international headlines: “Ilhan Omar represents the modern face of Anti-semitism,” says Ms. Zahger, “just like those I face on campus. 

“By casually Tweeting Anti-semitic statements about Jewish money controlling the U.S. government, she is reviving the oldest prejudices by enhancing such statements with public support of the [Palestinian-led] BDS Movement [Boycott Divestment Sanctions], which was outlawed by about 24 states because it was found Anti-semitic.”

Dalia Zahger helped found the Columbia University chapter of “Students Supporting Israel,” which has made inroads fighting the spread of Anti-semitism on college campuses across America.

Commander of Israeli Field Intelligence
Dalia Zahger grew up in Israel. “In 8th grade,” she says wryly, though without hyperbole, “I learned how to live under missiles.” At 18, she joined the Israeli Defense Forces, rising to the rank of commander in field intelligence. At 21, she traveled to Central America, and “learned even there I need to stand up for my country.” 

She exhorts her audiences to “not turn a blind eye believing this does not concern you. Hate is hate… and we must fight it and act against it in all its shapes and forms. The consequences can be unimaginably severe for everyone in America. History has shown us this time and again.” 

To help make her point, Dalia Zahger quotes renowned religious leader Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks in remarks he made to England’s House of Lords: “We forget how small beginnings lead to truly terrible endings. Once hate goes unchecked, the road to tragedy is short.”

If anything, the challenges and prejudice faced by Dalia Zahger and her compatriots have only served to steel her resolve and fire up her fierce pride for the rich heritage of her country: “I feel very lucky,” she says, “to be from Israel.” 

To make a reservation for the  Sept. 15 event featuring Dalia Zahger, contact AdultProgramming@OurShirShalom.org. A donation of $10 is requested at the door. Israeli and Middle Eastern small bites will be served. Congregation Shir Shalom of Westchester and Fairfield Counties, 46 Peaceable Street, Ridgefield, Conn. 06877. 

Click here to watch 5-minute video of Dalia Zahger speaking to the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition of the U.S. House of Representatives. (You can expand video to fill screen.)

Formally called The Coalition for Middle Eastern Women’s Rights, its website says that it “represents a union of thousands of women of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S. who are actively working to promote gender equality throughout the world.”

The Coalition endorsed Donald Trump for president and, along with Ms. Zahger, has called for the resignation of U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.


Bruce “The Blog” Apar is a writer, publicist, actor, and civic volunteer.

He runs regional marketing agency APAR/PR, a sole proprietorship that champions small businesses and contributes pro bono work to a select portfolio of not-for-profit organizations.

As a freelance ghostwriter for Advantage/ForbesBooks, his current title is “Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer,” by Bob Fisch (“I Teach Them Business, They Teach Me Life”). It is now available at Amazon, WalMart, Barnes & Noble, Target, and other online bookstores.

Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media.

Reach him at bruce@aparpr.co or (914) 275-6887 (voice/text).

The Leading Ladies of Manhattanville

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Bruce caricatureBruce the Blog
By Bruce Apar


“I’m just about the least sexist son of Adam you’ll ever meet,” I tongue-in-cheekily told one of the 180 or so females milling and mingling at the official launch of the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) at Manhattanville School of Business.

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More than 200 powerful female business leaders, community members, and local dignitaries participate in “speed networking” during the launch event for the Women’s Leadership Institute in late January at Manhattanville College.

As the press material prepared by premier PR firm Co-Communications informs, “The Institute, supported by founding sponsor PepsiCo, is the first center of its kind offered at a world-class academic institution in Westchester and surrounding areas to meet the leadership and professional development needs of women in the workplace.”

The crowd commemorating the new program was some 200 strong, meaning men like me were lean in number, if not in girth. (I speak only for myself in that regard, since just about every other male I spotted was hale and hearty and humbled to be amongst these Leading Ladies.)

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Women’s Leadership Institute Director Kathy Meany and Dr. Anthony Davidson, dean of the Manhattanville School of Business, unveil the logo for the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Institute’s launch event at Manhattanville College.

Well, that’s what they are, by definition. Movers. Shakers. Not candlestick makers. As my collected business cards attest, the Leading Ladies I spoke with included Hilda Maria Valdespino, inspirational speaker and trainer; Maria L. Imperial, Esq., executive director of YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester; Janet L. Walsh of Birchtree Global, who helps businesses set up shop in foreign markets; Pat Braja, director of development at Westchester Library System; and Lynne Lori, an actress and acting teacher, whose improv class in Tarrytown I hope to soon attend. See, speed networking works!

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(From left) Manhattanville College President Dr. Jon Strauss; Women’s Leadership Institute Director Kathy Meany; event speakers Marcia DeWitt, Janet Hasson, and Marsha Gordon; and Dr. Anthony Davidson, dean of the Manhattanville School of Business, at the Women’s Leadership Institute launch at Manhattanville College.

There were several high-profile Leading Ladies who addressed the assemblage, on what School of Business Dean Dr. Anthony Davidson termed “a momentous occasion in a momentous place at a momentous time.”

He could be allowed his effusiveness, for Manhattanville College president Dr. Jon Strauss noted that WLI is the Dean’s “brainchild, a number of years in the making.” So, Dr. Davidson was like the proud papa in the delivery room, fulfilled by the fruit of his labors.

The Women’s Leadership Institute has been formed to help women maximize their potential and become impactful leaders,” he told the celebrants. 

Kathy Meany, director of the Institute, said it will offer educational programs, mentoring, coaching and training. A five-month certificate program called “Lead with Distinction,” for mid-level professionals and managers, will focus on such disciplines as financial acumen, communicating, strategic thinking, negotiating, and productivity.

Manhattanville trustee Marcia DeWitt, CEO of workers’ compensation consultant GuildfordPare, said “not giving up is what I learned most. Negotiating for yourself is a very important skill.”

Janet Hasson, President of The Journal News [who recently resigned to work for another newspaper] shared how many cities she relocated to before landing her dream job in Westchester. “It was tough. You sacrifice a lot that’s important to you.”

MVille-Leading Ladies-aerial

Dr. Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester, shares the importance of the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Institute launch event at Manhattanville College.

The serendipity – and symmetry — of the groundbreaking program’s location in the heart of Westchester was duly noted by Business Council of Westchester CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon. She reminded us that two of the world’s most iconic brands – Pepsi and IBM – are not only nearby, but currently led by CEOs who happen to be female.

Let’s not forget another cornerstone corporation whose CEO is not a man. That would be Mary Barra of automaker GM. That in itself reflects the perfect timing and broad appeal of Manhattanville’s new Women’s Leadership Institute. To recall a redolent American aphorism, “As General Motors goes, so goes the nation.”

Ladies, lead the way…

For more information about program offerings or sponsorship opportunities, contact 914-323-5150 or email business@mville.edu.