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A Student's Epiphany

A Student's Epiphany

Let's not wait till the next attack to actively fight against anti-Semitism.

by

I have grown up hearing the horrors of anti-Semitism, as the grandchild of survivors it is only natural that their experience taint mine, so I've always had a certain appreciation for the trials and tribulations of being a Jew. Though living in the States, it’s something I hadn’t really been subjected to.

Sadly enough, that has changed. Anti-Semitism has resurfaced in an ever-increasing anti-Israel world, and college campuses have provided a breeding ground for anti-Semites around the globe. The old messages are back and this time with a renewed cruel vengeance, for they are using the darkest times in our history against us, comparing the Holocaust to the Palestinian refugee problem, and Ariel Sharon to Hitler.

We wait until some group triggers us enough times in an offensive manner, and then we react.

As someone who studied abroad in Israel, worked in Israel, and recently returned from the Hasbara Fellowships (www.israelactivism.com) in Israel, I have realized firsthand the misconceptions, half-truths, and blatant lies advanced by those who wish to hurt our cause. And I am sick of taking it all sitting down. We wait until some group on campus (or on the world stage) triggers us enough times in an offensive manner, and then we react.

A perfect example happened here in San Diego. The week that I returned from my study abroad in Israel was "From Oppression to Liberation Week" at UCSD, formerly known as Anti-Zionism Week. This university-funded program allows the Muslim Student Association to freely promote not only anti-Israel, but anti-Jewish materials that transcend free speech and dives headfirst into aggressive anti-Semitism.

The papers tell students that Jews want to make everyone their slaves and their dogs.

As I walked around campus I was appalled at the pictures and documentaries of Israeli soldiers shooting Palestinian children and raping Palestinian women, the leaflets distributed falsely quoting the Talmud, claiming the Jews raped young non-Jewish women because we consider them animals, the quotes from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and the papers telling students that Jews want to make everyone their slaves and their dogs.

We knew this was coming; we'd had our experience the year before. And yet we waited for it to happen to respond. This is going on worldwide, we wait until we are hit to respond, we wait until Israel is in big trouble to decide to care, we wait until someone from our community is murdered by terrorists before we decide to follow the news. We always react. This attitude has cost us dearly, for we are losing the ever-important propaganda war.

Being proactive does not mean being anti-Arab or anti-Palestinian, nor does it mean being politically incorrect. All it requires is time and effort in educating yourself and those around you about what is really going on.

Knowledge of the issues is the only way we'll win.

One of our greatest mistakes is fighting without the right ammunition; knowledge of the issues is the only way we'll win.

We need to be active, not only advocate. Get involved. There are a plethora of organizations that serve our purpose. You can boycott places that boycott Israel. You can write letters to the editor. Once you get beyond all the misconceptions and realize the injustice of the situation, speaking out will be a catharsis. You will not only help Israel, you will help yourself.

The anti-Semites have new fuel lighting their hatred, lets not let them educate the world. Let’s extinguish the falsehoods before it is too late. This is not a part-time job; it is a year-round endeavor. Let's not wait until the next attack (God forbid) to react.

Published: December 7, 2002


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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) alin, January 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Great to read that people like you still are around...

I'm glad to read your article... we need people like you around to fight injustices about not only your religon but about/from other religons and people...

(5) Benzion, December 9, 2002 12:00 AM

what actions?

This appeal - to do something is often heard these days. But the actions you mentioned- are not productive. Writing letters even everyday to the editors, unions, politicians - is not effective. Try it - you will know it. Did you try to fight false Arab propaganda with "noise" about TRUTH? Such demonstrations, flyers and articles in student press which propagate the message: "Arabs are murdering Jews", "Arabs spread unti-Semitism around the world" "Arabs only goal is a destruction of Israel", etc... This is the ONLY true message which most Jews know anyway without additional learning you mention.
Did you try doing this on campus?

Yours by birth,
Benzion

(4) Anonymous, December 9, 2002 12:00 AM

I agree,it is time to get involved..now!!

I am sooo glad to see that the young ppl are standing up.I support u,in prayer, for i am to old to go,but i can spread the word. GOD bless you and all that work with you.

(3) Maurice Bouchard, December 9, 2002 12:00 AM

I need a list of who boycotts Israel.

Hi, Can you please supply me with a list of who boycotts Israel so I don't do business with them? Thank you

(2) Julie Rehman, December 8, 2002 12:00 AM

Students in the North are having same experiences

I can totally relate to Yael's story about what is happening on the UCSD campus. We are having the same problems up here in Sacramento on our campus, but the frightening thing is not only how anti-Semitism is growing, but the greater concern is the total apathy and lack of support from our fellow students. For example, we recently sponsored a program titled "Middle East 101" whose purpose was to build understanding among Jews and non-Jews who supported Israel about the current issues and how to advocate for Israel. The most unexpected thing happened. Instead of having a room full of supporters of Israel, we had a room full of Palestinian and Arab students. I looked around the room and did not see but a couple of Jewish students, no Jewish faculty members, and no one from the Jewish community at all even though this program was publicized in the community. What a mess we have here. G-d willing, we will find some support up here soon because as the other groups are getting stronger and their voices are being heard, we are silent and loosing ground very quickly. I wish you success in your advocacy efforts.

Julie

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