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Ben Hersch ’17: Advocating for Israel


Sophomore Ben Hersch, originally from Edison, New Jersey, was recently appointed president of the club AU Students for Israel. In his role as president, Ben has been able to make connections around campus, and promote the role of Israel in the world community, something that is close to his heart. 

Her Campus American University: How did you first become involved in AU Students for Israel?

Ben Hersch: I had been involved in Israeli advocacy since founding my high school’s Israel advocacy club as a Junior. I was brought on to AUSFI at the end of the 2014 Spring semester by Alana Herbst (past president) as the executive board’s social media chair. I took a more active role in the club last semester, evolving my position to an overall communications chair, where I was responsible for operating our Facebook, Twitter and Mailchimp accounts, as well as designing our new cover photo and advertisements for our past events.

HCAU: Why did you decide to take on a leadership role in the club?

BH: After interning for a few organizations which focused on Israel advocacy, the Leadership Action Network, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, coupled with a network I have built at AU through my involvement with Hillel, I felt like I could continue to help AUSFI’s progression.

HCAU: What have been some of your favorite moments of being president of AUSFI?

BH: While I have only been president for a little over a month now, I truly value the conversations and interactions I have had with other Israeli advocacy based campus leadership. I believe that you can only effectively advocate for a cause if you understand a variety of perspectives, and I also enjoy learning why other people are so passionate about a cause that is important to me.

HCAU: How does AUSFI distinguish itself from the other four student-run pro-Israel groups on campus?

BH: Each Israeli advocacy group on campus offers a different and valuable perspective to the AU community. Because AUSFI as a club advocates for Israel through a lens that values each perspective, I feel like our club can better act as conduit to promote cohesion between each group. Despite differing opinions on situations in Israel, I believe AUSFI has and will continue to operate in a way that promotes open dialogue regarding the varying perspectives. While political views regarding the state of Israel varies greatly, we can all come together in agreement that Israel is a nation worth advocating for.

HCAU: Has being involved with AUSFI either altered or strengthened what you would like to do in life?

BH: While I really do not know what I want to do after college, I do know that I want to remain an active voice in discussing Israel and right now AUSFI has given me the opportunity to do so.

HCAU: How can other students get involved in AUSFI?

BH: If you are interested in getting involved with AUSFI, message me or any of our board members on Facebook. Like our page, AU Students for Israel, attend our events, and feel free to share your opinion. We are always looking for more student involvement. 

Hopefully, as the student body continues to expand and clubs fill up with new members, Ben will be able to guide AUSFI to an even brighter future, helping to advocate more fully for Israel in the process. 

Maggie is a senior at American University studying Broadcast Journalism and International Relations. In addition to writing for Her Campus as both a featured writer and a section editor, Maggie is also involved in Greek life, an American University Ambassador, and is currently interning in the newsroom at Voice of America. When Maggie is not writing, she can be found obsessively reading Buzzfeed, going back through study abroad photos from London, and dreaming about Baked and Wired cupcakes. After graduation, Maggie hopes to work as a correspondent in Europe, and use this as an excuse to travel the world as much as possible. 
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