February 10, 2015

What Universities Can Learn From Israel's Status on Campus

                                                                                                                  published at Honest Reporting                                                                      
In the post-modern university where, at least in the social sciences and humanities, facts are no longer, well, factual, the country of Israel fares badly.  Rather than information about the actual country, an abstract idea of Israel has emerged on college campuses over the past dozen years. The Jewish state appears as the single nation of the world deserving boycott of its (actual) products and academic institutions. A Palestinian narrative prevails, but it is a particular, monolithic, Palestinian narrative that leaves out, for instance, the opposition of Palestinians to Israel boycotts.

This abstract notion of Israel also shows up in countless campus forums, classroom lectures, protest demonstrations, associated students’ election campaigns and, on many campuses for two weeks of every year, as performance activism confronting students with staged “checkpoints,” photos of bloody victims and towering, cardboard, “apartheid” walls. 

Writing in an important recent collection, The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, 32 scholars consider gaps between Israel’s campus status and its real life. Among other topics, they address the assault on academic freedom that occurs if academics are boycotted because of their nationality (R. Berman; G. Brahm and A. Romirowsky; D. Hirsh; M. Nussbaum) and the absurdity of maligning Israeli institutions that not only exemplify multicultural learning and teaching but that are themselves bastions of academic freedom; the founder of the boycott Israel movement was getting an advanced degree at Tel Aviv University while advocating for its boycott (S. Wolosky; I. Troen). The book also offers a valuable, concise history of Israel (C. Nelson, R. Harris, and K. Stein), much needed because boycott movements and agitation against Israel on campus exhibit a startling lack of interest in verifiable evidence, dialogue, and the usual expectations of academic argument.

A number of writers in The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel attest to one-sided presentation of proposals and procedural moves to minimize dissenting voices (S. Musher; J.Robbins). Further, the objections of students and faculty to singling out the Jewish state for approbation alone among the countries of the world and the extreme discourse with which this is promoted are often disregarded (D. Divine; M.Kotzin). While speech codes and sensitivity to even micro-aggressions are mainstream at universities, several of the authors note that Jewish concerns about anti-Semitism are dismissed or, worse, are considered merely ways of shutting down debate (R. Fine; K. Marcus).

By paying attention to Israel’s status on campus we learn that debate on this topic is not really is possible. The veracity of claims about Israel in boycott proposals is off limits for discussion. The only questions addressed are whether or not to boycott and whether or not academic freedom or the professional organization proposing the boycott will be harmed.  Labels like “apartheid” and “colonialist” applied to Israel are not considered controversial in most academic settings. What is missing from discussion of Israel on campus is Israel: its history, people, current situation, daily life, and place in the Middle East.

Anti-Zionism at universities, notes co-editor Cary Nelson, is treated as if it is essential to progressive politics -- regardless of Israel’s genuine progressivism, its real-life democracy, its vibrant freedoms of speech, of the press, of religion, and its commitment to the rights of women, gays, minorities, and all its citizens.

This refusal to acknowledge the realities of Israel and to insist on singling out the one democracy in the Middle East for boycott may say more about universities than it says about the topic of Israel.

The American Studies Association called their Israel boycott a “litmus test” of the organization’s “stance on Palestine.” For, the current campus status of Israel is possible only in an academic environment of litmus tests, where one’s progressive credentials rest on adhering to a party line, where facts are not merely malleable but acceptable only to the degree that they fit prevailing ideologies.

Israel on campus stands out precisely because there is pushback among students and some professors to university anti-Israelism.  In fact, it may be the only major challenge to mainstream campus politics. As such, the status of Israel on campus serves as a warning of encroaching dogmatism and lack of room for diversity of thought in what we used to refer to as the marketplace of ideas.
                                                                                                  comments welcome at Honest Reporting

January 29, 2015

Acceptable Anti-Semitism?

The UN held its first forum on anti-Semitism last week, except that it was an “informal” gathering where only about half the UN countries showed up, making any resolutions impossible.

And the event only took place at all when the Western countries proposing it agreed that the forum would link anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The ambassador from Saudi Arabia (a country that doesn’t allow Israelis, or anyone with Israeli stamps on a passport, to enter) explained that the actions of Israel “are very closely linked to the rise in hate crimes, extremism, violence, and anti-Semitism." That is, anti-Semitism is the Jews’ fault.

But that’s the UN, with its 26 condemnation resolutions passed in 2012, for example, one each for Syria, Burma, North Korea, and Iran, and 22 against Israel.

How’s the rest of the world doing?

The murder of four Jewish men, Yoav Hataab, Yohan Cohen, Phillipe Braham and Francois-Michel Saada who were shopping in a kosher market in Paris, linked as it was to the Charlie Hebdo murders, got worldwide attention.

Perhaps less known is that the murderers were staking out Jewish schools in Paris, as well. Or that attacks against French Jews, including murders, rapes, and beatings have gone on for years.  This week, for the first time, the French government has sent in army protection for all the Jewish schools in France (the families have paid for guards until now).

In Malmo, Sweden, a reporter tried an experiment of wearing a kipa and taking a walk. He was called “dirty Jew” and other names, had eggs thrown at him, and was threatened with shouts of “we will kill you.” He learned that many of the Jews still living in Malmo are afraid to go out of their homes. Threats against Jews in Sweden have escalated since the Paris attacks.

England? This summer London experienced the highest number of hate crimes ever recorded, 95% of them against Jews.

It is impossible to keep track of all the anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, but here is a blog that attempts it.

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwizt and the New York City Council acknowledged it, or attempted to, but was interrupted by a shouting, pro-Arab group.  Councilman David Greenfield, whose grandparents survived the Holocaust, spoke out about the clear-cut anti-Semitism.

And here in Israel last week, a Palestinian got on a Tel Aviv bus and began stabbing people at random. 12 people in all were injured and several are still in critical condition. The terrorist said an influence on him was the promise of paradise for those who kill Jews.

Seemingly isolated incidents occurring with such frequency have way of becoming normalized, as if a high level of anti-Semitism is to be expected (as it seems to be in parts of Europe) and if expected, then even acceptable.

January 10, 2015

Je Suis Charlie; Je Suis Juif

Yesterday, I started a post that began: "We are all Charlie, not just in solidarity and sadness, but because we are targets -- even if we pretend, just to get through the day, that we're not. And nothing we do is making us targets -- not what we draw or write or say or even what we believe. We are targeted by Islamic terrorists because of who we are: non-Islamists. And when the next Islamic terrorist attack occurs, we need to stand with those innocent victims of terror, too."

Then I hurried in the rain to the train station in Tel Aviv ahead of the last trains that run on Fridays, while in Paris the next terror attack was already underway.

Today we know that four Jews shopping in a Kosher market (their names are still not published) were murdered before the police were able to stop the killers. We know that another 30 people saved themselves by huddling together in a freezer for hours during the attack. We know that French government leaders are in emergency meetings.

But we have known and the French officials have known that the Jews of France have been under siege for years. We knew that the offices of Charlie Hebdo had been fire-bombed in 2011. We knew about the twin towers bombing in 1993.

Last night the Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed on shabbat because the police did not believe they could provide protection from terror. The last time the Grand Synagogue was closed was during World War II.

We've had plenty of warnings. Now, what will the free world do?

December 27, 2014

Wait, Who's Opposed to UN Palestinian State Resolution?

Seems like someone should have checked to see if the Arab states’ resolution, presented by Jordan and Mahmoud Abbas, actually has Palestinian support.

The resolution demands that Israel shrink to the 1949 armistice lines, referred to as “withdrawing to the pre-67 borders and from east Jerusalem.”  This would be followed by the creation of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian government of Gaza (Hamas) and a number of Palestinian factions including the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) are fully against it. This is because the resolution allows for Israel’s existence, something that these organizations oppose.

And recent polls indicate that Gazans themselves support Hamas over Abbas’ Fatah.

But it’s not clear that that the Palestinian Authority wants two states either.  Even when a Hamas-Fatah partnership looked like it was about to happen – as it did several months ago – Hamas was in no way asked to change its foundational agenda of removing Jewish Israel.

Naturally, the Israeli government opposes a resolution imposed on it by the UN – not only, or even primarily, because of the UN’s constant outpouring of resolutions against Israel far out of proportion to that of any other country, but because all the issues involved in creating a state of Palestine – something that the Israeli government supports – impact the entire existing state of Israel and the lives millions of people.

The US is expected to veto the resolution, in any case.

Meanwhile, a majority of the member states of the UN have already symbolically recognized a state of Palestine.

And Europe is rapidly following suit, reiterating after every vote that the support of their parliaments are merely “symbolic gestures.”

Even with a real UN resolution, demands are only symbolic without the work of negotiation between the two countries and the work of building the political structure for the state of Palestine. These resolutions have a way of ignoring the people actually involved, both Jews and Arabs.

Repeated polls have found that in predominately Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, more residents want to be part of Israel than of Palestine.  In a recent survey, 40% of Arabs said they would move into Israel if their neighborhood became Palestinian and 27% said they wanted to be part of a Palestinian state.

Mahmoud Abbas has said that when the state of Palestine is formed, not one Jew should be allowed to live there.

November 26, 2014

Distorting the News of Jerusalem Terror

                                                                                                                  published at Honest Reporting

Inaccurate and distorting one-liners easily can be corrected. After complaints, CNN edited and apologized for both the completely false headline, “Deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque” and the disturbingly misleading, “4 Israelis, Two Palestinians dead in Jerusalem.” 

But, the systemic distortions through which media view Israel are much harder to change.

In a moment of impatience and candor, a BBC reporter interrupted Knesset Member Naftali Bennett’s short interview about the horrific slaughter that morning of Rabbis Moshe Twersky, Avrahm Goldberg, Arye Kopinsky, and Kalman Levine while they were praying in their Jerusalem synagogue: “We don’t want to actually see that picture, if you could take that down.”

BBC preferred not to “actually see” nor show its viewers a terror victim wrapped in tallit and tefillin lying on a blood splattered floor after two Palestinians had stormed the synagogue, shot people point blank, and hacked at them with axes and knives.

We can’t know what was in the reporter’s mind; we do know from analysis of how Israel is often framed in mainstream American and British media that the reporter most likely was trying to get on with the story.

That is, she did not want or need to see Bennett’s photo since the framework for her story was already in place. The story of the Har Nof terror would be about “tensions boiling” in Jerusalem and “revenge.” 

When terrorists murder Israelis, prestigious news outlets often package the terrorism into familiar and fallacious storylines. Readers’ attention is directed away from the actual violence and toward the features of predictable news frames: in this case into the false analogy of a “cycle” of violence and the image of Israel as the region’s “neighborhood bully.” 

In fact, BBC spells out its guiding misinterpretations in a “background” summary: “Synagogue attack: Months of tension and revenge attacks” that among other errors, simply leaves out Hamas’s rocket firing on Israeli civilians as a catalyst for this summer’s war.

In its gallery of photos of the synagogue massacre, Associated Press does not include a single picture of the devastation itself, though many such photographs were available from Israeli news outlets and across social media. By contrast, BBC and AP did not shy away from graphic imagery during the Gaza war. Indeed, they seemed to seek out casualties, replaying scenes from Gaza endlessly.

These storylines are built from distortions. No matter how much support terrorists receive from Palestinian leaders, other countries, and from the specific groups that sponsor the killing, the perpetrators appear as isolated individuals up against the powerful State of Israel.

And bizarrely, the murder of Jews praying in a synagogue or Israelis waiting at a bus stop is equalized with the resulting deaths of terrorists themselves. The CNN headline, 4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead…” alludes to this pattern.

Here is the New York Times:  It brought to 11 the number of Israelis — including a baby, a soldier and a border police officer — killed in the past month.

“In the same period, Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian citizen of Israel who had approached their car with a knife, setting off days of rioting; shot dead two drivers who plowed their cars into pedestrians in Jerusalem; and killed a suspect in an attempted assassination… “

The phrase, “in the same time period” suggests that there have been killings on both sides. But the deaths of terrorists – here called “drivers,” -- occurred because they were in the act of murdering people at random. The other altercations are included to bolster the cycle storyline.

Like the BBC, the New York Times makes clear their perspective in their own news analysis that includes this unsupported (and unsupportable) claim: “extremists on both sides seem to be acting increasingly beyond the control of Israeli and Palestinian leaders.” 

The fifth Israeli killed at Har Nof was Police Master Sargent Zidan Saif, a member of the Druze community. He died in a shootout with the terrorists while heroically protecting fellow Israelis. Thousands of Druze and Jewish Israelis attended his funeral.  An interfaith gathering was held outside the Har Nof synagogue complex in which Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics denounced terror in Jerusalem.

There are many other stories in Israel than the ones we have become used to seeing in the press.

                                                                                                comments welcomed at Honest Reporting

November 17, 2014

The Terrorist is being Treated in the Hospital

                                                                                              photo  by Sebastian Schiener
                                                                                                                   published at Times of Israel

There is something jarring about this sentence in the news. “The terrorist is being treated in [the] hospital.”
Wounded by security personnel too late, the terrorist had already murdered 26-year-old, Dahlia Lemkus, whose neighbors knew her as “the kind, giving, loving young woman” who was studying to be an occupational therapist. He had already stabbed two other people and sent a third into shock.

Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for this attack. By responsibility it is meant that Islamic Jihad has congratulated itself for supporting and accomplishing the bizarrely un-brave act of jumping out of a car and stabbing random people with a knife.

Meanwhile, Israel mourns Dahlia, and the others killed by Palestinian terrorists this month: on the same day as Dahlia, 20 year-old Almog Shiloni from Modi’in who died after being stabbed in Tel Aviv as he was on his way back to his base; Chief Inspector Jadan Assad, the Druze border patrol officer who was killed by a terrorist ramming his vehicle into people in Jerusalem, and teenager, Shalom Baadani, who had been riding his bicycle and was killed by the same terrorist at another location nearby. The week before, American-Israeli 3-month-old baby, Haya Zissel Braun and 22 year-old Karen Yemima Mosquera from Ecuador were killed by another “car terrorist” at a Jerusalem light rail stop. While all these funerals have been going on and over a hundred Israelis this month have been dealing with injuries from terrorism, “the terrorist is being treated in the hospital.”

And, rightfully so. Because, as in America, perpetrators in Israel who survive their own acts of terror get quality medical treatment and the benefit of Western law.

Fatah and Hamas leaders have stated that stabbing people with knives or running into them with cars is a “natural response.” If this is the case then treating, in an Israeli hospital, someone who has set out to murder any Israelis he happens to see must be an unnatural response.

But both are learned responses.

It does not come naturally to decide to stab passersby with knives or to intentionally run over a baby with a car. Nor is it simply natural to try to treat humanely even those who commit such actions. These are learned behaviors.
At Dahlia’s funeral, her sister, Michal, implored Israelis to go on, emphatically, with every day life.

Treating the terrorist in the hospital; going on with life in Israel; not letting hate take over: some things to stand one’s ground for.

                                                                                                      comments welcomed at Times of Israel

UPDATE:  And now there are four more murders.  Four people killed and others injured while praying in their Jerusalem synagogue

November 05, 2014

Why Fly El Al?

You’re going to Israel anyway. Might as well start the experience of Israel at the check-in line, the gate, the plane ride.

Just don’t plan to go on Friday evening or Saturday. El Al does not fly on Shabbat or on Jewish holiday days. Or serve non-Kosher food. Though it does serve additionally wrapped extra (glatt) Kosher meals and vegetarian options.

Israel’s national, though since 2004, privately owned airline has two slogans: one for the Israeli market and one for everyone else. The Hebrew slogan is הכי בבית בעולם literally, the most at home in the world. El Al translates this as “your home away from home.”  The English language slogan is: “It’s not just an airline; it’s Israel.”

When Jews immigrate to Israel, it is called making aliyah. Going up. But it is also called coming home.

The most “at home” in the world and “it’s Israel” are really the same slogan.

There is something qualitatively different about this plane ride. Is it the greater noise level? Or that people seem to already know each other, or act as if they do, when they get on the plane? Is it that the food is not like airplane food: the salads cold, the entrees hot, and the bread fresh? Perhaps it is the haredim? They’ve had some bad press on El Al lately but more routinely it might be the everyday-ness of a minyan at the back of the plane. Or is it all that standing in the aisles and visiting? Maybe it really is the food.

Or maybe it is the fact that El Al is the world’s safest airline.

So you can relax in a way you haven’t relaxed during all your travel preparations, even though you’re now flying to the Middle East from, for example, Southern California -- 14 ½ hours non-stop from Los Angeles.  

Of course, this safety conflicts with what you’ve been reading in the news because – truth in advertising -- (It’s not just an airline) it’s Israel.

October 20, 2014

Recognition in the Middle East

                                                                                                                         Tel Aviv -- photo: Reuters

In the UK and Europe, politicians are declaring recognition of a state of Palestine that does not yet recognize the state of Israel.

Yasser Arafat, the first leader of the Palestinian Authority, never did recognize Israel. Even after the handshake with Yitzchak Rabin and the shared Noble Prize for Peace, Arafat continued to wear an image of Palestine that included all of Israel; the Palestinian National Charter that claims Israel has no right to exist and endorses violence to achieve this goal -- never has been changed. The PA operates under this Charter even today.

Meanwhile Hamas, ruling over Gaza, explicitly broadcasts its non-recognition of Israel in its Charter and public statements. The fully Palestinian controlled state of Gaza has not renounced its campaign of firing rockets and missiles at Israeli civilians. And yet, there is a sudden urgency in Europe and the UK to recognize a state of Palestine.

Prime Minster Cameron, who abstained from the British Parliament vote, specified that recognition will not affect diplomacy, and Sweden’s Prime Minister clarified that his parliament’s vote is intended to encourage two states.  Sounds benign but these recognitions seem confused.

The Gaza half of Palestine speaks and acts with unambiguous commitment to violent elimination of Israel. This is not encouraging for a two state solution.

Nor is the West Bank half of Palestine, presided over by Mahmoud Abbas in his ninth year of a four-year term, especially encouraging. President Abbas states both that not a single Jew shall be allowed in the future state of Palestine and that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state should not be required; after all, neither Jordan nor Egypt said the word, Jewish, when they made peace with Israel.

Of course, this word game wasn’t operating when Egypt and Jordan signed peace agreements with Israel since there was no question that they recognized Israel as a Jewish state.

In popular culture in the Middle East, mentioning Israel at all causes conflict.

A recent example:  two Arab-Israeli singers are participating in Arab Idol, the most popular show on Arab television. When the program displayed a map showing all the countries of the participants, viewers were outraged because Israel was included. Quickly an apology was issued and the two singers who live in northern Israel were now shown as living in Palestine.

Those governments outside the Middle East wanting to encourage the two state solution would do well to notice that the state of Israel still needs to be recognized there as well.

September 30, 2014

Only One Safe Place in Middle East -- For Christians

                                                                                                                                       photo Armenia Information Portal

According to someone who speaks with authority on the subject, there is only one place in the Middle East that is safe for Christians. And it’s the same place that’s safe for Jews. 

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest who is Arab-Israeli, reported last week to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation for Christians in the Middle East and called for an end to the “witch hunt” against Israel. 

“Every year in the last decade a hundred thousand Christians were killed throughout the Middle East, meaning that every five minutes a Christian was killed because of his faith … those who could escape persecution by Muslim extremists, fled, and those that remained are second- if not third-class citizens, under Muslim rulers,” Nadaf said.
“In the societies of the Middle East, there is one country where Christianity is not persecuted,” he said, referring to Israel. “Moreover, there is freedom of speech, worship and security warmly bestowed by Israel, the Jewish State.  

"Leaders, peace activists, end this witch hunt against the only free country in the region..."

Interestingly, Father Gabriel’s statement that one million Christians, because they are Christian, have been killed in the past ten years--the official Vatican calculation--is disputed.  A BBC challenge claimed that because the war in the Congo accounts for the highest percentage of these deaths, it’s inaccurate to attribute the deaths to a religion, that these people were simply caught up in a civil war and further, that blaming Christian deaths on Muslim terrorism is “nonsense.”  

During these past ten years, little attention has been paid to the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
It seems that Middle Eastern Christians are following the Jews in a double way.  Not only are they being forced from their homes by persecution and threats of death -- nearly all the centuries old Jewish communities (2 ½ millennia in the case of Iraq) were decimated due to persecution and attacks -- like the Jews of the Middle East, the Christians’ stories are disputed and silenced.

The only country of Middle East with a growing rather than shrinking Christian population is Israel. There are four times as many Christians in Israel now as there were in 1948.  

September 29, 2014

In Praise of Student Supporters of Israel

                                                                                                                     photo by Israel Campus Beat

                                                                                                                       published at Times of Israel

In spite of the many biases, phobias, anti-"isms" and micro-aggressions studied at universities, anti-Israelism does not seem to be a familiar term in most academic settings.

When, at a rally, Israelis are called “Nazis”; when Israel “apartheid” weeks set up on campus; when there is a performance piece about “Israel/Palestine” involving simulated blood, or amplified shouting that Israel should not exist, as in “from the river to the sea/Palestine must be free,” these are simply referred to as free speech.

Students cannot expect that there will be allotted time for Israel’s perspective, or a sharing of “competing narratives” or that Jews will be considered a minority.

As a first world, successful, capitalist, democratic, progressive, multicultural, open society, with a strong military, a starting point for academic discussion of America is often its responsibility for most of world’s problems and its racism. Imagine trying to argue on campus for what is wonderful about America.

Arguing for Israel, students often need to counter claims that are not based on facts but are supported by a view of facts as simply agreed-upon interpretations.  For example:

Anyone spending even a few days in Israel can tell that the apartheid label doesn’t apply (and that this slander diminishes the experiences of people who lived under actual apartheid in South Africa).  But present the overwhelming evidence of Arabs and Jews going about their everyday lives in shared shopping malls, restaurants, buses, and trains; point out that all Israeli citizens are subject to the same laws or that Israeli doctors, professors, Knesset members and Supreme Court judges are Arabs as well as Jews, and your comments may simply crash against the chant of “apartheid wall.”

This stalemate occurs in part because, as a supporter of Israel, you naturally think the argument is about Israel. But creators of Israel “apartheid” week focus on only one state and it is called Palestine.

The separation barrier (the 95% chain link fencing/5% wall that reduced suicide bombing by more than 90%) stands, for them, as an arbitrary intrusion into the country of Palestine – a hoped for territory covering all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza -- from the river along the Jordan border to the Mediterranean Sea at Tel Aviv.

When you realize that they actually mean No Israel, you may find yourself free falling through an Alice in Wonderland space where up is down and the one progressive country of the Middle East is the only one called out as oppressive. (At least, this was my experience.)

The more you know about Israel, the better, but this knowledge will not be persuasive to boycott advocates or apartheid week promoters.

Facts will be useful if you are talking about specific events. Like this. How have the lives of Palestinians and Israelis been impacted by the Jews unilaterally leaving Gaza in 2005?  If you are in a setting where the people with whom you are speaking know that there are no Jews in Gaza and accept that Israel is a sovereign democratic Jewish nation then, yes, facts will be valuable to share and debate. This setting may hard to locate in public campus forums.

The facts are also valuable because knowing them will help you keep some equilibrium when you are going though that Alice in Wonderland free fall.

But facts will not help you argue against ideologies.

Anti-Israel voices on campus have a great deal of ideological support. For starters, there’s the ideology of post-modernism within which there are no impartial facts-- only narratives open for interpretation.

However, your interpretation, because it appears to privilege the oppressors (Israelis) over the oppressed (Palestinians) is not credible.

And your objection that Israelis are not oppressors, even if you also voice your disapproval of particular Israeli policies, likewise is not credible because Israel is Western and first world; it has a powerful military, a high standard of living, a thriving economy, and so on. It is, necessarily, an oppressor.

Because you are standing up for Israel, the one Jewish country of the world, you too are supporting an ideology: Zionism. Knowing that Zionism is the belief that Jews, like the other peoples of the world, have a right their own country, or even if you simply appreciate the reality that Israel is a democratic Jewish state, you can count yourself a Zionist.  It’s not an especially valued ideology on campus, pretty much like American patriotism isn’t especially valued in these post-nationalist times.

Like any other workplace, a university is a cultural setting in which some values are valued over others. Power relationships impact, if not our real freedoms, at least our sense of freedom to say what we believe. It can feel scary to stand up for a minority opinion in any setting.

When, in spite of it all, you get out there with an Israeli flag and say that you support Israel you are doing something important for yourself and for your campus. Most students on campus are not concerned or knowledgeable about Israel but may be open to learning about it.  Because of your presence other students learn that there is more to this story than what they have been hearing. You’ll influence some of these students. You can impact boycott voting even if you can’t expect to influence boycott activists.

And take pride that as a pro-Israel student you are demonstrating one of the longest running and highest campus values: speaking truth to power.