Jacob Baime has been selected as the new executive director of Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), the college pro-Israel advocacy organization.
“I’m very passionate about pro-Israel campus affairs,” Baime said. “I’m a product of it,”
Baime explained that he first got involved with ICC as a college student himself when he and other Brandeis students received a grant to travel to D.C. to lobby on behalf of Israel.
“At the time it was the largest such group to go,” he said.
The ICC was founded in 2002 to encourage just that kind of pro-Israel leadership on college campuses across the U.S., working as a partner organization with Hillel and other Jewish and Israel campus groups.
“Theoretically ICC is the central address for Israel on campus,” Baime said.
Baime is coming to the position with a lot of experience. He most recently worked as area director for AIPAC in the New England region and prior to that had served as national field director for AIPAC as well, roles that have a direct relation to the kind of outreach and organization on college campuses that ICC does but with a somewhat different philosophy about it.
“There’s a difference in how they approach campuses,” Baimes said. “AIPAC sees campus work as a means to an end while the ICC sees the campus as an end in itself.”
Baime is quick to point out that although he found a way to express his desire to support Israel through AIPAC, it doesn’t mean it’s the only valid one.
“There’s got to be an outlet for everybody,” he said.
Those outlets can come from not only ICC programs but coordinated campaigns with other campus groups that have similar goals of celebrating Israel, Baime said.
One of the central focuses for ICC is the movement on some college campuses for campaigns to boycott Israel and otherwise isolate the country in a process known as BDS.
“Combating BDS is going to be absolutely essential,” Baime said.
How to do so is a more complex question but Baime remains optimistic.
“There are opportunities to forge new ties between colleges in the U.S. and Israel,” Baime said, explaining how it could encourage a positive counter to BDS.
Baime takes his place as director in mid-October but is already thinking about all the ways to further his ideas to promote Israel and pro-Israel advocacy.
“I’m looking forward to helping empower the whole Israel campus network,” he said.