|Wednesday, October 03, 2007
|State of the
Commentary By Fred Taub,
| If my next lecture were to be about the challenges
Jewish students face on American college campuses today, it would focus on the
current level of parental involvement with their children's public school
education; meaning, virtually zero involvement.
students on most campuses are left to fend for themselves against an onslaught
of anti-Semitic propaganda, while their parents stick their heads in the sand
like ostriches pretending everything is fine. They are placing a specious trust
upon universities to instill good moral values in their children.
the same time, there is some excellent professional pro-Israel activism
happening on campuses. For starters, the Zionist Organization of America has
filed complaints to the US Civil Rights Office regarding Jewish Students at
UC-Irvine who have been harassed and intimidated just for being Jewish.
This problem, however, is not new and is actually the secondary result
of the Jewish leadership establishment ignoring campuses. In the 1980s, Arabs
on campuses campaigned to create the idea of a Palestinian state. At the time,
Zionist activists exposed the "three-phase plan" of the Arab world, which was
to first create an interim Palestinian state as a launching pad to destroy all
of Israel. The Arabs won the idea of stage one, mainly because students in the
'80s were left to fight that battle virtually alone. Parents in that generation
thought their kids were crying wolf.
Today, that battle has changed
slightly - phase two evolved into the divest-from-Israel campaign, which
promotes economic warfare against Israel. The planned stage three is a
dismantlement of Israel campaign after destroying Israel, G-d forbid,
To further their goals today, Palestinians are actively
intimidating Jewish students on campus to make them embarrassed to be Jewish,
let alone publicly support Israel. Thankfully, there are students on campuses
who refuse to be intimidated and are standing tall.
While walking on
one campus recently, I saw three Muslim women sitting on a concrete bench.
Before I passed them, I clearly heard one of the women speaking about G-d in
English, and when she saw my kippah after I passed by, the language immediately
switched to Arabic with calls of "Wa-Allah" followed by some insults in Arabic.
These students wanted to intimidate me, but I stood proud because I, too, will
not be intimidated.
It is important to note that intimidation tactics
are primarily used by the weak or those with inferiority complexes. Reverend
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught people not to fear racist intimidation
tactics, a lesson pro-Israel students need to remember.
Students are not totally abandoned, as some Zionistic groups such as Betar, the
ZOA and Stand With Us, as well as religious groups such as Chabad, have stepped
in on many campuses to bring students what they need - actual Jewish life on
campuses and the tools students need to combat anti-Israel propaganda.
At the same time, two new major initiatives have been launched this year to
help students. The first is Light Unto Nations, which produces pro-Israel
posters weekly and faxes them to campuses. Light Unto Nations is a new concept
in pro-Israel activism, as it teaches students about the great things happening
in Israel via a series of posters that can be read in one minute or less and
are politically pareve; so, every group can get behind the campaign, regardless
of their political orientation.
The second major campus initiative for
this school year is The Peace Resolution. Arab groups are pushing a campaign to
destroy Israel economically under the guise of forcing Israel into peace, yet
economic cooperation is essential to peace between nations. Nations at peace
have economic trade and nations without peace do not have trade. It stands to
reason, therefore, that we should demand the end of the Arab League boycott of
Israel before Israel makes any further concessions for peace. You can not have
peace with those who are sworn to destroy you, including those sworn to destroy
you economically, as is the Palestinian Authority, which is signatory to the
Arab boycott of Israel.
Hillel is a wonderful Jewish student service.
Their goal is to help Jewish students with their own Jewish programming on
campus. While college students are exploring their new independence, Hillel is
in a unique position to be a leader in Jewish education, but they can not do it
alone. Community leaders, therefore, need to offer their services to their
local Hillel, volunteering to teach Zionist and religious classes. Hillel has
offices and buildings that serve virtually all campuses, but without Jewish
educational content those buildings are underutilized.
campuses are a major battlefield for the hearts and minds of America and over
future world support for Israel. It has been that way since before 1948 and
campuses will continue to be a battlefield for many years to come. Remember,
today's students are tomorrow's public opinion. While great tools exist for
Jewish students on campuses, we all need to take the time to show support for
the students who are fighting Israel's battles world wide, as they are "the
other IDF." We need to redouble our efforts in support of campus organizations,
while at the same time, demand that organizations designed to serve the needs
of Jewish students are proactive.
© Fred Taub, 2007