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.