As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
There is a serious threat facing Israel’s long-term standing in this country resulting from a prolonged campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state on campus. But it’s probably not what you think.
What commonly incurs Jewish indignation are the more blatant anti-Israel spectacles. They range from “apartheid walls” – barriers erected by anti-Israel students to signify the Israeli security fence – to mock security checkpoints, from boycotts and divestment initiatives aimed at impeding university investments in Israel to hostile anti-Israel protests such as last year’s disruption orchestrated by students at the University of California, Irvine, of Israeli U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech.
While these hostile activities unquestionably are meant to portray Israel as an oppressive and illegitimate state, such inflammatory acts do not resonate with the vast majority on campus. In recent focus groups conducted by The Israel Project, a diverse set of students was nearly unified in its opposition to boycotts and other such tactics, regardless of the students’ feelings about the Jewish state.
The use of these tactics is certainly growing, but support for them is not.
In the fall semester of 2010, a watered-down resolution calling on Princeton University to sell non-Israeli hummus alongside the Sabra brand was defeated overwhelmingly because it smacked of a boycott. At Columbia, a mock checkpoint, where volunteers were blindfolded and forced to kneel at “gunpoint” in front of students dressed as barking Israeli soldiers, failed to resonate with more than the radical fringe of the student body.
The real danger is that the present campus environment in the United States may adversely affect the future of U.S. support for Israel. Americans may never become Israel haters, as we see in parts of Europe – hostility has been mainstreamed there, potentially affecting diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, and London has been dubbed the “Mecca of delegitimization” by the Israeli think tank Re’ut – but they may cease to be Israel lovers.
Last fall, the student Democrats at a prominent university wrote to the pro-Israel student leadership of the university that they had adopted “a policy of non-endorsement on Israel-Palestine issues.” The student Democrats explained that there was too much division in their own ranks to continue to co-sponsor pro-Israel student activities.
Such a letter may not make your blood boil like an apartheid wall, but it is far more ominous.
For decades the pro-Israel community has enjoyed bipartisan support for Israel in the United States. Congress members from both parties typically vote overwhelmingly in Israel’s favor. This support influences the actions of the White House, which in turn acts to protect Israel from the scourge of hostility it faces elsewhere in the international community.
While young people and particularly mainstream Democrats exposed to hostility on campus may not now or ever join the movement to boycott Israel, over time they may feel less sympathetic toward the Jewish state and more ambivalent about the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. When these young leaders become the next generation of Democratic Party representatives, it may become much tougher to garner those large bipartisan majorities.
While it is important to oppose walls and boycotts, it is far more critical that we create the kind of environment on campus that will sustain two-party support into the future.
David Bernstein is executive director of The David Project.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites
Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.
Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.
Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them
Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.
The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.
Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East
Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.
Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering
Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.
Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world
Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life
It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident
“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-real-danger-to-israel-on-campus/2011/01/12/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: