March 3, 2004

C.U. Israeli, Indian Communities Meet

Print More

The Cornell Campus Committee of the US-India Political Action Committee teamed up with the Cornell-Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday night to discuss the common goals of the Indian-American and Jewish-American communities, and to discuss ways for Cornell students to become politically active.

Representatives from USINPAC, a national organization devoted to providing a political voice for Indian Americans, spoke about the importance of political involvement among college students.

“It is so important for the youth of this country to be involved politically if they are going to have a long-term major impact,” said Abhi Shah, president of the USINPAC Youth Committee. “In order to continue the movement that has started, to increase it exponentially, it is very important for the young generation to get involved.”

Raj Shah ’06, president of the USINPAC Cornell Campus Committee, explained why he believes the Indian-American community at Cornell should become active in University and national politics.

“It’s hard to get more active at a later age, and there’s so much activism on this campus already. We think it’s a perfect place to get students involved now,” he said.

Sumanth Krishnamurthy, president and CEO of a government contracting company based in Maryland, who also spoke at the event, concurred.

“The Indian-American community has had great success in medicine and academia, but when it comes to politics, there has been almost no initiative,” he said. “There’s only one real way to be a part of this country — you have to be involved in government.”

Of great concern to both the Indian-Americans and Jewish Americans present was the issue of global terrorism, which was discussed at the event.

Nissim Reuben, an international affairs fellow for the American Jewish Committee and an Indian of Jewish descent, spoke of the many commonalties between Jewish people and Indians.

“The Indian-American and Jewish-American communities have so much in common — hard-working, educated, family values — so many similarities exist between the two,” he said. “Israel is one of India’s closest friends, and India is one of Israel’s closest friends. We share the same democratic ideals. Both nations have been the target of terrorism. We need to pull together to fight this terrorism.”

Abhi Shah agreed.

“Instead of trying to fight terrorism by ourselves, the two communities can partner and come together and leverage the relationships that both parties have, in order to accomplish one goal,” he said.

Overall, the leaders of CIPAC and the USINPAC Cornell Campus Committee were very pleased with the event.

“I think there was great balance between CIPAC members and Indian-American students. People were mingling and they were really enthusiastic,” said Jennie Berger ’04, president of CIPAC. “I hope that this is the start of a great political relationship between two minority populations in this country who have a lot in common and can do a lot of good together.”

“It’s great to see Indian Americans and Jewish Americans together learning about being politically active because they are two similar groups with very similar interests, so it’s only fitting that they would come together for events from time to time,” Raj Shah said.

Reuben was also pleased to observe the interaction between the Jewish Americans and the Indian Americans at the event, and expressed hopes that the two groups would be outspoken advocates for common goals in the future.

“Seeing Indian Americans and Jewish Americans sitting together, enjoying each other, and enjoying Indian food and Israeli food — it’s very encouraging. Nowhere will you see more synergy than between these two communities,” he said.

Archived article by Andrew Beckwith