Get to know Hali Haber
Q: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get involved in this sort of campus work?
I grew up in South Florida, very disconnected from Judaism and Israel. It wasn’t until my time at the University of Central Florida, where I met other Jewish students, was invited to Chabad, and went to Israel on Birthright. When I came back to campus, I noticed that there was an on-campus club for almost everything (even a chocolate tasting club) except for Israel. This is when I revived a dead group, Knights for Israel. I found myself, overnight, gathering a team of other Zionists on campus to tell Israel’s story to our peers. As a student, I worked with CAMERA, and when I was a senior, I applied and was hired to work with CAMERA’s campus team! This August marks my fifth anniversary here.
Q: Tell us about the sorts of things that students are experiencing when it comes to the topic of Israel on campus.
When I was a student, the topic of Israel, from an anti-Israel perspective, mostly focused on history and land. Now, while that is still very relevant, our students are facing discussions of intersectionality, and constantly combating disgusting anti-Israel campaigns like the Deadly Exchange Campaign. As our country faces difficult times, unfortunately, anti-Israel students take what is happening and spew lies to put the focus on Israel. Our students have a difficult environment on campus.
Q: What sort of work do you do at CAMERA? What’s your day like?
As the Director of Campus Programming and Strategic Relationships, I oversee the day-to-day work of our staff. I also manage our campus advisors in the US. We work as a team, with our UK and Israel staff, to run our two programs: the CAMERA on Campus Coalition and the CAMERA Fellowship. The CAMERA on Campus Coalition supports independent pro-Israel groups on campus. We provide funding, research, and other resources to these student groups to make them the most successful they can be. The CAMERA Fellowship consists of a cohort of 50 students. We have seven different tracks that focus on writing, events, social media, the Latino community, the UK, and Israel. Our CAMERA Fellows are the eyes and ears on their campuses when it comes to Israel. They are the first to respond to an anti-Israel program, article, or professor on their campuses. I also build and maintain relationships with other organizations and professionals who work in the Israel world.
Q: What inspires you?
What inspires me most is seeing students who are so excited about their published article, or a successful event that they hosted. We work to inspire our students, and in turn, they actually inspire us.
Q: What do you love about working for CAMERA?
I get this question a lot (especially during interviewing season). Prior to getting involved in Israel activism, I was a film major. Film and video editing have always been my passions, and when I found another passion, Israel, I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose my first. CAMERA allows me to take my skills and utilize them in my day-to-day work. So in addition to managing our campus team, you can sometimes find me editing short videos about Israel or CAMERA.
Q: If you could improve the coverage of one news outlet, which would it be? Why?
Wow. This is a difficult question. There are a handful of biased news outlet whose coverage I’d want to improve, so if I could change this question a bit, I would ask, “On campus, what is one area of the university that you would change the coverage of Israel in?” The answer to that would be the professors. There are so many problematic professors on so many different campuses. These are the people who are educating our children and grandchildren. We need professors and academics on college campuses who are not biased, have a diverse syllabus, and teach the facts!
Q: When you’re not working for CAMERA, what do you do for fun? What’s your idea of happiness?
Every Friday, our Executive Director and President of CAMERA, Andrea Levin, asks me where I am planning to hike that weekend. In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, especially Hiking, skiing, and watersports. I’m also most happy when I am traveling and visiting new countries and national parks.