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Columnist Leora Eisenberg

{The Jewish Press welcomes guest contributor, Leora Eisenberg}

It’s no wonder that pro-Israel activism on campus struggles when its anti-Israel counterparts make up their facts. Usually made up of wide-eyed “liberal”, “progressive” students eager to change the world, anti-Israel groups tote their status as populist human rights groups while thriving on dubious narratives that nobody questions.


What is remarkable, however, is that these groups rely on sources such as Al Jazeera+ (more commonly known as AJ+) and the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) for their “facts.”

Under any normal circumstances (or rather, non-hypocritical ones), these “human rights activists” would be condemning Al Jazeera for its Qatari funding and agenda– Qatar is one of the biggest human rights violators, known for human trafficking, forced labor, and little freedom of movement, among other things. Since AJ+ markets itself as a liberal, progressive outlet that fits the “human rights” agenda of bashing Israel, more and more college students are falling into its trap.

College campuses nowadays are in love with silently radical media like AJ+ for its feigned liberalism and focus on STORIES rather than facts. In an age of safe spaces and micro-agressions, students are more attuned to “narratives” than reality. AJ+ and the IMEU (which I’ll discuss below) help foster those delusions by relying on fiction rather than facts.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) is an American organization which promotes dubious understanding, while claiming to “offer journalists facts, analysis, experts and digital resources.” If one ventures onto their home page, one finds stories– heartbreaking ones, admittedly– that are minimally researched and wholly one-sided. Even its “fact sheet” is rife with anecdotal references meant to elicit pity– only perpetuating a victim mentality.

The best talking point on the sheet was a reminder of Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 terrorist attack in Hebron. This reminder was followed by a statement saying that “Palestinians fear that Israel plans to repeat this takeover with the Temple Mount.” This “takeover” was a widely condemned TERROR ATTACK (that was recognized as such by the vast majority of Israeli society and the Israeli government)– but while the IMEU uses it as part of its pro-human rights, anti-Israel agenda, it fails to mention any Palestinian terror attacks (of which there were two in the past two days, killing one) which are still waiting to be condemned by the Palestinian government. The IMEU claims to “offer facts,” but I’m only being offered a loaded (and poorly researched) narrative.

AJ+ and IMEU are hugely present on social media, making themselves widely accessible to their activist base, which is generally between the ages of 18 and 21, the age when many attend college and are susceptible to jumping on the “movement bandwagon,” so to speak, of anti-Israel activity. The “progressive” students who fight against Israel feel good about their seemingly liberal sources which provide them with ample ammunition in their battles for human rights. Human rights are indeed a worthy cause– but their current reincarnation on college campuses is, in many cases, little more than a PR stunt and a fad. If these students really cared for human rights, would they be using Al Jazeera as fact? Would they be defending their arguments with statistics? Would they be against Israel?

These seemingly “liberal” sources are also only seemingly true. Reality and fact-checking seem to have been pushed to the campus wayside in favor of narratives and hypocrisy. Students, whatever side they belong to, need to know what is actually going on rather than what they delude themselves into thinking. So instead of using Al Jazeera and IMEU as veritable sources, students should find sources not funded by rampant human rights violators and information-fabricators. They should instead find outlets that actually tell the truth.


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Leora Eisenberg is a high school Israel activist who writes on Israel, anti-Semitism and Judaism. Her writing has been in numerous publications in America and Israel. She will be the CAMERA fellow at Princeton University in the fall.