The Maccabee Task Force was created in 2015 to combat the disturbing spread of anti-Semitism on America's college campuses. We believe the BDS movement is at the forefront of this troubling trend. We maintain that BDS is an anti-Semitic movement that crosses the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into the dangerous demonization of Israel and its supporters. We are determined to help students combat this hate by bringing them the strategies and resources they need to tell the truth about Israel. These attacks on Israel and its supporters won't be going away any time soon. Neither will we.
David Brog is the executive director of the Maccabee Task Force, an effort launched in 2015 to combat the anti-Israel BDS movement. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), were he served as executive director for its first ten years. Before CUFI, Brog worked in the United States Senate for seven years, rising to be chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter and staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has also worked as an executive at America Online and practiced corporate law in Tel Aviv, Israel and Philadelphia, PA.
Brog is the author of Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State (2006) and In Defense of Faith: the Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity (2010). In 2007, the Forward newspaper listed Brog in its "Forward 50" most influential Jews in America. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
National Field Director
Bryan Griffin is a lawyer, writer, and specialist in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Born in Florida, Bryan received a Masters of International Affairs with a specialty in the Middle East from Columbia University in New York City. He holds a Juris Doctorate, Masters of Management, and Bachelors in Classical History and Political Science from the University of Florida. On November 15th, 2013 Bryan was sworn in as an attorney by United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court. From 2010-2013 Bryan held the elected office of Soil and Water Supervisor of Alachua County. At Columbia, Bryan was named the Editor in Chief of the Journal of International Affairs. As a lawyer, Bryan has experience in both civil and criminal work, including a trial in front of the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York, the nation’s oldest federal legal venue. Bryan is the author of the widely popular book The Encyclopedia of Militant Islam, published in 2015. Bryan has been named a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.
Shian Knuth grew up in the southeast where she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida. She holds a Bachelor's degree in History with a focus on Jewish studies and civil rights. Shian previously worked in marketing and public relations at a Fashion PR firm in New York City. She also developed a large online following as a prominent fashion blogger. She co-founded her own marketing firm, working with clients all over the globe. Shian has experience with advertising, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and copywriting.
West Coast Campus Coordinator and Events Coordinator
Ariel Barrett is a cultural anthropologist hailing from from Missoula, Montana. She graduated with honors from the University of Montana, was designated a University Scholar and completed her undergraduate studies through the Davidson Honors College in Cultural Anthropology. Ariel received her Master of Arts degree in Applied Cultural Anthropology from the University of Montana where she focused her research on women's rights in the Middle East and the the practice of honor related violence and honor killing among Muslim immigrant communities in western countries.
Growing up in Montana Ariel spent much of her high school and college years promoting and organizing interfaith education and cross cultural dialogue opportunities within the local community. She served as President of the local Hillel and co-founded Interfaith Missoula in addition to volunteering with the Missoula Interfaith Council and a number of other non-profit organizations. Ariel also worked for the European Foundation for Democracy, a Brussels based policy institute that focuses on issues including human rights, integration, and radicalization in Europe.
Before joining the Maccabee Task Force, Ariel worked for several years in University settings providing student programming and advising as a certified DSO and immigration advisor to international students coming to study in the United States.
East Coast Campus Coordinator
Benjamin Sweetwood recently graduated with honors from Columbia University in the City of New York. While at Columbia he majored in political science with a focus on international relations and Chinese foreign policy. He has provided research for some of Columbia’s leading political science professors. Ben has worked at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, providing research for various scholars. He also worked as a personal research assistant to noted author, columnist, and pundit Jonah Goldberg. At Columbia University he chaired the American Enterprise Institute’s Executive Council, was President of Christians United for Israel, and was the Vice President of Students Supporting Israel. In 2015, Ben was awarded the Roger Pilon Fellowship, a yearly scholarship honoring a student of high academic achievement who works to advance the ideals of classical liberalism. Ben also blogs on political issues and world affairs, and his writing has appeared in such publications as The Times of Israel and The Tab.
Midwest Campus Coordinator
Lea Speyer is a former journalist responsible for breaking stories that uncovered antisemitic and anti-Israel activity plaguing universities around the world. Her work has been picked up and featured in media outlets such as Fox News, Daily Mail, Algemeiner, Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Washington Free Beacon, the Forward, the Observer and College Fix. Prior to her campus reporting, Lea served as the founding editor in chief of Breaking Israel News, which connects the global Christian Zionist audience to reporting about Israel.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Lea holds a Master’s degree in Government from IDC Herzliya, where she specialized in Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security studies. She focused her research on the influence of religion on ideological formations. Her work on Islamic radicalization has been published by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Lea received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Yeshiva University. During her time as an undergraduate, she interned for prominent think-tanks in the areas of international relations and the promotion of women in politics. You can follow Lea on Twitter at @LeaRSpeyer.