Apr. 16, 2015
Gary Rosenblatt‘s letter to high school seniors getting ready to move on to college is very worth reading, urging Jewish students to read up on Israel before moving onto campus.
These days, unfortunately, the government in Jerusalem is a target of widespread criticism, particularly regarding its Zionist ideology and its dealings with the Palestinians. I worry that too many Jewish students are not aware of what they will face and what they will be hearing in the classroom and on campus, from professors and fellow students, about Israel the oppressor, Israel the apartheid state, etc.
The tactics of the BDS advocates often are over-the-top. They are meant to shock and grab attention and they can be disturbing to encounter. You may face “die-ins,” where pro-Palestinian students play dead in protest of civilian deaths during the most recent Gaza war. You may face mock checkpoints, where you will be asked for your ID, echoing the treatment of Palestinians seeking entry into Israel proper. And you may face mock eviction notices where students find notes taped to their dorm room doors in objection to the fact that some Palestinian homes are cleared out to make room for Jewish residents.
Many of you have positive feelings about Israel in your gut, developed over the years from your home life or involvement with a synagogue and/or Jewish education in your early years. Perhaps even a trip to Israel. But you may feel less than confident if called on to explain or defend some of Israel’s controversial policies.