Once again the method of shining a bright light on fetid hatred prevails: a college student exposed those promoting hatred, and, predictably, they scuttled back into the dank corners where ugliness and ignorance breed.
Last week The Jewish Press shared the story of Brandeis senior Joshua Nass, whose television appearance on a Fox Business show was copied and pasted into a trailer promoting the upcoming Israel Apartheid Week on U.S. campuses.
Nass was livid when he began receiving calls from people asking him how he could have become an Israel hater. After his initial shock, Nass shifted into gear. He wanted the clip of him removed from the propaganda trailer, but his immediate impediment was that he had no idea who was behind the cut and paste job.
So Nass took to social media, which eventually caught the eye of other media. A story or two was written about how his likeness had been, essentially, stolen and used for malevolent purposes. But still, who was to blame? How could he find out who had done it, and then get them to remove it?
Nass spoke with lawyers about filing litigation. But he still did not know how to find and name the defendant.
During an interview with The Jewish Press, the idea occurred to him: he could do something that was likely to at least force the wrongdoers into removing the clip of him from their odious promotion of Israel hatred, something that might also out them, and perhaps even shame them into a public debate about the absurdity of comparing the richly diverse, democratic and liberal Jewish State with South Africa’s era of apartheid.
Nass decided he would challenge the Apartheid promoters. He offered $5000 of his own money to them if they would: one, reveal themselves; two, remove his clip from their promotional trailer; three, apologize; and four, agree to debate him in the public square about the comparison of Israel to Apartheid South Africa.
That challenge was made late on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Nass heard back from lots of people – so did the author and The Jewish Press – more on that further down, but nothing from the Israel Apartheid Week promoters.
On Friday, Feb. 28, before Shabbat, Nass checked the link to the promotional trailer, and saw something odd: “this video has been removed by the user.” When Nass checked it again after Shabbat ended, he saw that the video had been replaced with one that did not include the Fox Business News clip in which he appeared.
“They buckled under the pressure,” Nass told The Jewish Press in a follow-up interview on Sunday. “Not surprisingly, they did not reveal who they are, but they did reveal what they are,” he said.
“I received so many messages, especially from students and alumni, from all over the world,” Nass continued. “They all wanted to know what happened as the result of my challenge. They also told me that my speaking up was a tremendous source of encouragement to them.
“Pro-Israel students have felt intimidated on college campuses for far too long. I really think others felt like what I did was, in a sense, speaking up and out for them,” Nass added.
So a single college senior, one who describes himself as “ambitious but slightly insecure,” can add a notch in the pro-Israel column in the campus wars currently on rapid boil.
When asked what he wanted the lesson to be, the takeaway from this experience, Nass responded:
Pro-Israel students need to be supported for standing up for their beliefs. If more students knew how many others believe, just as they do, that the BDS movement is one built on deception and intimidation, and all of those students stood up and spoke out, the anti-Israel hatred would crumble. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, it’s when good people stay silent that evil prevails.
Although Israel Apartheid Week is still going to take place this month on many U.S. campuses, maybe by next year the pro-Israel students, inspired by Nass and the growing cadre of other action-oriented students, will have an effective response to the entire charade.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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