It is commendable that there are programs to educate incoming college students about the anti-Israel arguments and movements that they will confront when they get to campus. But Bess Adler’s essay (“Tips for fighting campus anti-Israel activity”, May 23) is regrettably meager.
As reported, StandWithUs offered advice to address the canards about Israel and its relationship with the Palestinians. While their intent is noble, such responses are paltry and tepid. For examples, Ms. Adler wrote that “If there is an anti-Israel group â€¦ that brings a hate-filled speaker to campus â€¦ (then) “attend â€¦ the lecture with a group of friends and ask … questions in a polite and non-inflammatory way.” Here’s another: “During ‘Israel Apartheid Week’â€¦ ‘apartheid walls’ are brought to campuses to whip up anti-Israel sentimentâ€¦” The recommended response? Hand out cups of SodaStream drinks!
Such anemic suggestions trivialize the sophistication as well as the danger of the anti-Israel campaigns. If this is the best that those of us who support Israel can offer our young adults as they head for increasingly hostile campuses, we are appallingly impotent.
Here is what we ought to be doing. There should be full-size posters of a bombed bus; there are many to choose from: #5, #37, #142, #960 are just a few, each graphically showing the very real danger that Israelis have had to live with. Every reference to the death of Rachel Corrie should be met with tall posters of all the Israeli Rachels who have been killed in terrorist attacks. Large posterboards should be erected showing the dramatic decrease in the number of Christians left in Bethlehem since the 2000 second intifada. Condemnations of the Israeli military should be compared with the vicious Syrian government attacks on its own people. A list of beheadings perpetrated by Islamic extremists on Christians – the numbers are in the many hundreds – should be distributed everywhere calls for BDS are made.
The pro-Israel community must be much more assertive in pointing out the rabid savagery of Islamic extremists and the duplicity of their defenders. Suggesting that our college students can refute bigotry with cordial conversation and letters to their college newspaper is a feeble and ineffectual response.