An AFI Leadership Statement

Published Work

Al Sokolow

Davis Faculty For Israel (DFI) 


"UC Davis is not unique among major universities in the United States in maintaining close ties with Israeli institutions. Most other UC campuses also have extensive collaborations, with faculty at UC Berkeley co-authoring with Israeli academics more than 1400 publications in recent years. Examples of major US universities in other parts of the country that have similar connections include Cornell which operates with the Technion an applied science campus in New York City and the University of Chicago which works with Ben Gurion University to develop water purification technologies.

The remainder of this report highlights specific projects and areas of collaboration at UC Davis." - Al Sokolow



Published Op-eds by afi students

The Aggie

Choosing Love Over Hate

AFI addresses the hateful rhetoric surrounding their organization and members.

On March 5, we stood and watched in horror as the place we call home was defamed. That day we had a tabling campaign called “Choose Love,” where we distributed shirts with “love” written in Arabic, Hebrew and English. We spent hours the night before preparing for it, only to find various organizations had set up for a demonstration the next day. The rhetoric quickly became personal as so-called “facts” about Israel were displayed. They held posters saying “Justice is our demand, Palestine is our Land,” “Resistance is justified when people are occupied” and one of the most personal ones, “Gofman has got to go”.


The Aggie

Why do Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism Never Get The Proper Attention?

The hate speech did not end there. A few minutes later, one of the speakers specifically singled me out, “invited” me up again to speak and stated how AFI “is complicit” and that we “lie and are hypocritical.” This speaker continued by saying, “[We] are alone on this campus because [we] stand for racism, genocide and massacre,” and that, “The UC Davis community stands for Palestinian people.” He then turned the direction of the audience to my fellow board members with the intention of intimidating them and silencing their beliefs. In that moment we felt so alone, so scared, so unprotected and subjugated — as if no one cared for us or our protection on campus.


The Aggie

What Israel Means to Me

Daniel Vainish, a fourth-year political science and philosophy double major and an LGBTQIA student, feels an irreplaceably strong bond with Israel. Since 2008, same-sex families have been allowed to jointly adopt, compared to the limited “co-guardianship” rights that were instilled before. In the Israeli Defense Force, openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender soldiers serve without hindrance in all branches of the military. Transgender soldiers’ transitions, injections and surgeries are also covered by the military’s health insurance — something the U.S. has never done.

“In most places I need to stand up for my identity and beliefs as a gay Israeli Jew,” Vainish said. “Israel is a place where my identity is protected by its legal system, a place where I’m not relegated to a minority status because of who I am. I know there is a place that will welcome me for who I am. I am so excited to celebrate this monumental time in Israel’s history with Celebrate 70.”


The Huffington Post

My 15-Day Journey Confronting Divestment at UC Davis

"Fifteen days.

I only had 15 days in office before my university faced the Divestment, Boycott and Sanctions Resolution. As the incoming president of Aggies for Israel, the University of California, Davis' pro-Israel student organization, I was elected 15 days before leading my community through the largest hurdle pro-Israel students face on a college campus: Divestment.

Fifteen days to plan, strategize and act. Fifteen days to delegate, collaborate and struggle. Fifteen days to lose sleep. Fifteen days to gain the trust of a whole community and empower them to believe in me, as a leader, and to believe in themselves.

But those 15 days don't define me." - Julia Reifkind


The David Project

Building Bridges: The Successes of the Pro-Israel Community at UC Davis

'"I want to talk about Israel,'"she said.

“OK, shoot,” I replied.

At this point, my knowledge of Israel was minimal. I knew where it was located and I knew Israel was historically the United States’ ally. Besides those basic concepts and perhaps small flashes regarding current events on various news stations, I knew very little, and never imagined that it would matter and leave a lasting impact on me. After all I wasn’t Jewish, so I never felt any obligation to commit myself to the subject." - Ryan Wonders