If you are an American Jew in college (or know one, was one, will be one, etc.) please indulge me the following two theoretical scenarios:

Scenario 1: It’s basketball rivalry week. The college colors have been flying all over campus, pep rallies are being held, stores are selling body paint by the gallon, and each and every student is counting down the minutes until class is out, the weekend begins, and tipoff is upon them. Suddenly, a day before the big game, a solid and dedicated contingency of your classmates march to the quad, head to toe in your bitter rival''s colors and preaching to anyone who will listen that “college is a time of open-mindedness so perhaps we have it all wrong. Maybe the other team is the team to get behind, we have enough support already, and our rivals sure could use our help." 

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Scenario 2:
For those who are not into sports it is Green Week on campus. Dozens more recycling bins, (separate ones each for paper, plastic, and glass of course) are placed around campus. People ride bikes to class instead of driving. Students, with the stench of idealism upon them, pledge to not do laundry for the week. Suddenly, a large group of students march into the quad, throw trash on the floor, ride motorized scooters powered by diesel fuel, and make fun of Al Gore. They begin preaching to anyone who will listen “college is a time of open-mindedness. Maybe polar ice caps have it coming to them, and besides, the environment is so powerful and we are just weak humans, maybe we should do what we want and let the environment bear all the responsibility.”



I am assuming the response to both scenarios would be a mixture of shock, revulsion, and anger. After all, rivalry week is a time of unity, not dissention. The pride of your school is on the line and you need every ounce of support at this critical time. Green Week is a time to raise awareness about the cataclysmic demise of our planet, eventually leading us down a path of Terra Nova-like desolation. Foolish and misguided opposition has no place at a time when our very existence comes into question.

I assume most, if not all, Jewish American college students reading along are nodding their heads along with me by now. Before you go about the rest of your day I have one more question: if you agree with all I have just said why on earth are so many of you intent on taking the exact opposite position on the treatment of Israel on campus?

Moment Magazine (created by renowned author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel) Student Blogger Leigh Nusbaum wrote a post last week suggesting students remove their “Israel Filter” when discussing Middle Eastern issues in the classroom. She struggles with the question: “How can I, someone who is Jewish and who cares about Israel, say that Israel is not the most important part of the study of the Middle East?” She is actively looking for ways to mitigate Israel and its prominence in the Middle East. It is not only a problem in the classroom, she asserts, “but also in the news.” Additionally, she notes how some students who stand up for Israel are given the moniker “The AIPAC monitor” and that “it is not necessarily a nickname to be proud of.”

Leigh is hardly the first American Jewish College student to express these sentiments, a cursory glance at my Facebook wall will net me a handful of like declarations on a daily basis. It is time for everyone to understand that for Israel, in a perilous region in a perilous world, every single day is Rivalry Week and Green Week. The pride of Israel is always on the line, as we are held to a much higher standard than the rest of the world. The question of continued existence is posed twenty-four-seven. I can understand the desire to learn from a fresh and diverse perspective and perhaps Israel being filtered out could even be beneficial at certain times, but the reality is that our enemies will never filter Israel out of the Middle East and we cannot allow that to go unchecked. The ability of a country to be filtered out is the luxury of a nation not besieged. Israel is not one of those nations. Therefore, each abandonment from a Jew is one hundred times more toxic than a carbon emission.

For all Jewish students, Israel must be one of the unflappable principles of your new found self-determination. You don’t have to agree with everything Israel does and you don’t have to have a certain set of politics, but the issue of Israel must never be off the table. Hatikvah should be your “Be True to Your School” or “We Are the World”. Israel needs you and you need Israel, so I implore you, clean out your “Israel Filters”, put them back into place, get out of the quad, paint yourself blue and white, and stand up for your heritage, your birthright, and your people.

Now give me an I!
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