In the winter of 2015-2016, I was given the privilege and opportunity to travel to the State of Israel. A dream that had been mine for many years was finally realized. As the aircraft entered Israeli airspace, my excitement was palpable. As the plane touched down in the Holy Land, I gave thanks. It was truly an intense feeling, to finally be in Israel.
However, I also recalled all of the lies and inaccuracies that had been circulating on my school’s campus. “Israel is an apartheid state.” “Israel’s minorities live as second-class citizens.” “Israel is racist.” By this time, I was in my third year of defending Israel on my campus. This year, I was a CAMERA Fellow. It was important to me that I see Israel for myself. What I found was a country whose values, people, and true face surprised and amazed me, and imploded the lies about this nation spread by malicious anti-Israel groups on my campus. The experience that resonated most with my campus was a lecture that my group received from the independent journalism group Tazpit News Agency.
Tazpit’s speakers took care to explain in great detail the unfairness and bias with which the great majority of foreign media reports on the State of Israel. They spoke of the flocking of foreign journalists to the American Colony Hotel, to the carelessness with which they cobbled together their reports.
During this particular segment of the presentation, I couldn’t help but think back to the time in a previous semester of college at Clark when I had the opportunity to meet Joseph Federman, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Associated Press. Federman spoke at length about his news agency’s prolific use of highly-unreliable “stringers”—unprofessional amateur journalists who work on commission to write stories in places where it would be unsafe or illegal for Jewish citizens to travel-such as area A, the region of Judea & Samaria ruled exclusively by the PLO.
With such a malice-driven atmosphere behind the dissemination of information regarding the State of Israel, is it any surprise that the climate and subsequent discourse on most campuses-including my own here at Clark- is so toxic? A man once said “A lie repeated enough times will eventually become a truth.” That man was Joseph Goebbels, a man whose anti-Semitic lies and inaccuracies surrounding the Jewish people were repeated so often and with such force in German media that they helped cause the worst genocide the world has ever seen—the Holocaust.
As an ever-optimistic college student, I wish to believe that a similar situation is not transpiring on college campuses—especially here at Clark. However when I see the unfortunate reality of campus anti-Semitism — today cloaked in the guise of “anti-Zionism”— I somehow end up dismayed. For when one examines the true definition of the term “anti-Zionism”— that the Jewish people have no right[s] to inhabit their ancestral homeland— or possess any form of homeland, for that matter- chills run down my spine.
If people are to pick a side on the so-called “conflict,” they ought to be fully informed regarding their choice. Media inaccuracies are indeed having a sinister effect at Clark and other college campuses. One need only look at a Clark Students for Justice in Palestine “apartheid wall,” or get a glimpse of the map of “historic Palestine pre-Naqba (hint: it encompasses the entire state of Israel) to understand the grave danger of biased and uninformed reporting regarding the one and only Jewish state.
Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Clark University, Patrick Fox.