We love the way two college students, Eric Harris and Jeff Pawlak, responded to their frustration at the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement on their campus several years ago – they found an innovative way to help people reframe their picture of Israel.
The company they launched, Israel Framed, sells Israel-themed artwork that shows the beauty, diversity, and inspiration of the Holy Land – a nice counter to the images of war and hate often portrayed in the media.
The idea for the business started six years ago, when the two were college roommates at the University of Maryland, College Park. There, they — like many pro-Israel students on American campuses — witnessed increasing enmity toward Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and campus-wide demonstrations disapproving the country’s policies directed at Palestinians.
They also felt a divide between the media depiction of Israel and the place they had each spent some time, both through a Birthright trip, and Pawlak during a semester abroad at Tel Aviv University.
“We felt very strongly about Israel and believed that it was getting an unfair picture in the media,” 24-year-old Pawlak from West Hartford, Connecticut told The Times of Israel. “We were also concerned that BDS was controlling the conversation.”
Their response was to merge their entrepreneurial spirit with a pro-Israel concept. A few months after graduating, they came up with the idea for Israel Framed while they were working at the same large commercial bank. . . .
“We couldn’t understand how so many educated people could have such a skewed idea of what life is like in Israel,” said 24-year old Harris from Potomac, Maryland. “We wanted to portray Israel in a different light… to offer framed art products to portray the positives of Israel, with the idea that these beautiful pieces of art could help to change the dialogue.”