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As a college student, I have become jaded to the endless cycle of unofficial “weeks.” We have Kick the Smoking Habit Week, Free Love Week, Save the Oceans Week – a week for every cause under the sun, with concerts, sit-ins, and creative protests for and against everything imaginable.
One of these “weeks” has always managed to scare me. Israel Apartheid Week, held earlier this month, is an international and extremely well organized event. According to its website, Israel apartheid Week is dedicated “to contribut[ing] to this chorus of international opposition to Israeli apartheid and to bolster support for…full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands – including the Golan Heights, the Occupied West Bank with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – and dismantling the Wall, and the protection of Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes and properties….”
Frankly, my first reaction was sheer amazement. Israel gets an entire week of protest? In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive, vote or even appear in public without a male escort. In Egypt, child labor is still a fact of life. In Iran, stoning is still practiced as a form of execution. I wondered how much protest time those countries get. A quick Google search revealed the answer I thought I’d get: absolutely none.
As I said, I’m scared. Why? These meetings were held all around in the world. There were events scheduled in venues ranging from Oxford, England, where I spent a happy summer as a visiting student at New College among many Jewish friends, to Norway, where a small community of fewer than 1,500 Jews has experienced several recent instances of harassment.
As a Jew, I see these protests as a direct insult not only to the Jewish state, but to academic freedom itself. As a young person, I have to wonder why my generation has turned so radically against the state of Israel.
Sometimes I wonder if maybe it’s all in my mind. I often ask my less religiously inclined friends if they feel threatened by the anti-Israel vibes going around campus. The response usually is “What anti-Zionism? I don’t see any.” But I can’t possibly be the only one who notices signs that scream “End the Occupation of Iraq and Palestine Now” and “Stop Supporting State-Sponsored Terrorism in Palestine.”
Given the chance, I’d ask the creators of Israel Apartheid Week whether they care about any of Israel’s many positive achievements. If they would rather not take the time to research it, I’d be happy to tell them that Israel is the only country in the region to outlaw “honor killings”; that Israel recognizes fifteen different religions and even allows Arabic to be an official language of the state, on par with Hebrew; that Israel offers legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political party.
In fact, Israel is a country in which the Supreme Court not only hears the side of Palestinians, but often rules in their favor. I would ask anti-Israel activists if they think they’d get a fair trial in Egypt or Libya.
Are we fighting a losing battle? Even one of my most politically astute friends commented that while it’s a pity more countries aren’t censured for their crimes, “what is going on [in Israel] is apartheid.” After briefly considering the realities of life in apartheid-era South Africa with the current state of affairs in Israel, my friend did budge somewhat, admitting the analogy was imperfect.
My friend’s misperception is precisely why we need a We Support Israel Week. Oh, we have our parade and all, but I want to see our side show the same type of diligence and organization expended by the anti-Israel students.
How about some protests against companies that do business in the Sudan or Darfur? How about women’s groups protesting in front of the UN against countries that allow honor killing? We could even have hip-hop concerts, since that seems to be a major part of the protest schedule.
I’m giving this lecture to myself, since I’m not on campus enough to engage in much advocacy and I could do more when I am. I applaud those on campus who do take a stand and put in their time to speak the truth. This article is hopefully a step in the right direction for me.
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The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors
It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”
The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?
In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities
Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
At the American Jewish Historical Society, there was an excellent program about Jewish women in the Civil War. The audience learned about such colorful women as Phoebe Yates Pember who served as a nurse, with 15,000 patients coming under her direct care during the war and Clara Solomon, a teenager who chronicled the Civil War.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
At the end of 2012, I was in Israel and looking out at the Jerusalem night sky. I was filled to the brim with inspiration and decided to challenge myself to become a more educated young woman. Simply put, I was going to read as many books in a year as possible. I’m not sure if that would actually have made a difference in my level of education but it seemed like a fun goal at the time.
Many Jewish people, including myself, avoid Holocaust movies because it is far too painful to watch the dehumanization of those we love. Still, facing what is painful is an important part of life. “Lion of Judah” is not an easy film to watch, but for the next generation it will be a valuable resource for educating children in a world without survivors. More importantly, it is centered on the incredible, Leo Zisman, the Lion of Judah.
Whenever I got praised for an achievement, I feel like I should say that half the praise goes to my parents. Although they can get on my nerves, I am really blessed with a mother and father who have molded and shaped me (by any means necessary) to become a successful human being.
Growing up, I remember my father’s Rosh Hashana ritual. He read the story of Rabi Amnon of Mainz, who had his tongue, hands and legs cut off for refusing to convert to Christianity – for choosing to remain a Jews. I would run away from the table sobbing in terror. Even at the tender age of six, I knew that being Jewish made oneself a member of an endangered species.
Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.
We are forgetting the lessons of the churban Beit HaMikdash, how we were not finished off by Rome, but destroyed ourselves through mindless hatred and zealotry. We bled each other dry through violence and bigotry until we were weak enough for Rome to come in and step all over our broken bodies. Rome did not defeat us – we defeated ourselves.
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