Superhero as educator: Commissioning "Captain Israel"

StandWithUs, an international organization that produces and disseminates pro-Israel educational tools and challenges misinformation concerning the Jewish state, commissioned “Captain Israel” as a way to reach those who may not seek information via the usual avenues.
“Our mission is to educate about Israel, its history and strategic threats, its hopes and dreams, and the Jewish connection to the land of Israel over the last 3,000-plus years,” says Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based organization.
“We tell that story in a variety of ways – through films, speakers, missions to Israel, materials on the Internet, conferences, books,” says Rothstein. “‘Captain Israel’ is one more tool to educate people of all ages, in a fun way.”

Roz Rothstein

The comic book appeals to those who may not necessarily take in the information in the more conventional ways, says Rothstein, such as a conference or from the organization’s website, so it provides a way to connect to an even broader audience of “those who need to know about Israel,” she says. The information is the same as that found in other StandWithUs publications.
StandWithUs brings educational tools to college campuses and communities seeking to educate their respective constituencies about Israel, in the face of delegitimization efforts.
“You have to get to the root of the attacks and be proactive, which is why we print and produce a variety of materials on a range of topics,” says Rothstein. “We put together well-sourced materials, based on actual facts from the Israeli and U.S. governments, so that people understand that there’s this campaign to lie and misinform about Israel.”
“Captain Israel” is offered on the StandWithUs website, and since its December launch, response has come from a myriad of readers. “A full variety of audiences have ordered it – Jewish community centers, Christian groups, youth groups, synagogues and churches; it hasn’t been one kind of person,” Rothstein says. “Standard educational materials may get dry after a while and people get numb to the issues. This is a vibrant, moving way to tell the story, through the eyes of a hero.”
With more and more misinformation coming from anti-Israel efforts, Rothstein says that StandWithUs is fielding a growing number of requests from college campus organizations, churches, and communities with shops that are being lobbied not to sell Israeli goods. The organization serves as a catalyst to empower communities to  create educational programs and positive actions.
“One recent and successful example was the Buy Israeli Goods (BIG) Day,” Rothstein says. “The anti-Israel, anti-peace movement targeted Mar. 30 as their day of action and we took that away from them and made it into something positive.”
The second issue of “Captain Israel” will take on the Global BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) movement against Israel. “BDS is a very negative and hostile movement and we decided that, since it was escalating and trying to promote campaigns throughout the world, we would try to use it as the main theme,” says Rothstein. “We’re calling it the Barbaric Destroyer Snake.”
The third issue will likely address the rapid and historic changes in the Middle East, as well as the UN. “At Durban II, the UN’s ‘Human Rights’ Council – and I put that in quotes, because it really doesn’t focus on human rights – made a sham of itself and embarrassed itself,” she says. “It is now planning Durban III, which will make a new mockery of human rights. We will use ‘Captain Israel’ as part of a multi-vehicle strategy to make sure that people understand that the Human Rights Council is once again a non-human rights council.”
In March, Rothstein and Dr. Roberta Seid described the BDS movement in their opinion piece, “The Sinister One-Two Punch: Creating Hatred Again,” published on JewishJournal.com.
“This is the pattern of anti-Israel groups, whether on campus or in communities,” Rothstein says. “They first get people really angry and disgusted at the state of Israel through a litany of half-truths and lies. Then they call for punishment against Israel.”
The hope is that “Captain Israel,” together with StandWithUs’s other educational tools, will help arm those interested in truth, justice, and the way of peace.
For more info visit www.standwithus.org

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