How Zionist students can win.
Learn about the Freedom Center’s “Jew Hatred on Campus” Campaign.
Originally published by the Times of Israel.
How do Jews declare their freedom?
We spend each year celebrating holidays that honor the Jewish people’s defiance against oppression and our quest for liberty in a handful of holidays. These include Passover, Purim and Chanukah.
While these three holidays only represent a microcosm of how prideful the Jewish people are of the stories of justice, freedom and liberty, greater stories must be told in the same manner that we honor the sacrifices of Mordechai, Judah and Moshe.
In fact, Jews can celebrate the latest miracles of the past one hundred years.
The problem, of course, remains that most Jews do not fully comprehend the links between our contemporary victories and those of antiquity. Whenever a Jew hears the word “Zionism,” they are often reminded of a vicious Jew-hating campaign of the collectivists, the Islamist extremists, and the neo-Nazis to ostracize its champions. This remains especially true on college campuses, when Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace demonize the term completely out of historical context to uphold their deplorable, false narrative. Jewish or pro-Israel students do not repeat the true Zionist story, mostly out of fear of campus censorship initiated by opinionated professors and catalyzed by their intolerant peers.
Given the hostile environment, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to project the unpopular truth and do so with certainty, clarity and without fear.
However, the reality is that ineffective pro-Israel tactics do not address the needs of the average college student, and have exacerbated the issues that Jewish and pro-Israel students face on campus. Rather than attacking those demonizing Zionism, we tend to respond by talking about the extensive freedoms Israel grants to the LGBTQ community. Instead of attacking Students for Justice in Palestine’s claims of “occupation” and “apartheid,” our retort always comes in the form of “Israel wants peace.”
From an outsider’s perspective, we dodge the harsh questions surrounding the Palestinian-Arabs and their struggles and we keep whitewashing their hardships as a nonissue compared to the objectively liberal policies of the only Jewish state. We cannot ignore the plight of the average Palestinian-Arab, but instead of brutally condemning the Arab world, UNRWA, and Palestinian leaders for oppressing them, we don’t have the initiative to address them in order to direct focus to our more liberalized narrative of Israel.
It does not matter if you are a progressive liberal or a classical liberal, the Zionist movement and the Arab world’s undisputed hatred of Jewish nationalism should unite all Jewish students to project our narrative and slam its detractors. We have to be able to discuss the values of liberation and freedom of Zionism while deconstructing the hypocritical, racist narrative repeated by SJP, JVP, and other like-minded organizations.
When we remind people that Zionism successfully brought the Jewish people back home for the first time in 2,000 years, it echoes how Moses brought the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt to our exodus to Eretz Yisrael. Telling people that Israeli Independence Day mirrors the same elation that the Talmudic Jews experienced following the story of the Maccabees makes a direct connection between our ancient history to our current redemption. Our ancestors, who kept yearning to return and exclaiming, “Next year in Jerusalem,” could not have fathomed the presence of an independent Jewish state in our native homeland of Judea.
Despite this, the pro-Israel community seems afraid to speak truth to power in the face of the anti-Semitic blacklist. In a desperate attempt to try to open dialogue with racists, the Jewish community tries to appease those who denounce Zionism under the name of “freedom,” “justice,” and “coexistence” without exclaiming how those critics believe in antithetical causes. These same people in the “Zionism is racism” crowd apologize for Palestinian-Arab terror that has butchered Arabs and Jews alike, uses its children as cannon fodder, and use concrete meant for schools to construct terror tunnels with child labor. These false “freedom fighters” continue their blatant hypocrisy while giving racist, anti-Semitic speakers a pass on college campuses that supposedly preach diversity, multiculturalism and coexistence. However, the pro-Israel and Jewish communities fail to figuratively punch the hatred in the throat and cower in fear of those who are willing to silence us for disagreeing with them. By doing so, we lose our ability to hold onto our narrative of freedom, justice, and liberation because we do not fight for it in the same way that Menachem Begin, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and other liberators did so passionately.
The fighting Jew needs to rise again.
If we cannot have Jews on campus proactively fighting the enemy, while reclaiming the true Zionist narrative, then the pro-Israel community cannot properly launch its alternative cases that speak widely to the apathetic student on campus. Supposedly, Israel should be a success story for liberalism. However, how can we address those who would identify with Israel’s continued defiance as a beacon of light in a dark region without properly addressing the hatred the anti-Zionist community loudly and obnoxiously casts in their “apartheid weeks” and BDS campaigns?
Fighting back against the anti-Israel advocates, the leftist hypocrites, and the Jew-hating bigots remains the true obstacle to winning a war that should have ended when Israel liberated Jerusalem and defeated the genocidal Arab armies on three occasions. It starts with the Zionist who refuses to give up the fight against the hatred.
That’s how we got our state back in the first place. It’s how we’ll win on campus.
Elliott Hamilton is a senior at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, studying economics and politics. He is the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Fellow of the Claremont Colleges.
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