CohenLindseyMidterms. The bane of any Boston University student’s existence, the dreaded moment that appears at the same time every year but always seems like a surprise.  My fellow students and I have been dealing with these necessary evils for the last few weeks, maybe feeling miserable, maybe complaining to our roommates, maybe buckling down and studying before our big tests.


Aren’t we lucky if that is the focus of our minds right now? Whether or not we’ll get an A on a test at a top university?  Life on this side seems easy. At least compared to what Israelis are dealing with right now.

Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine recently submitted a letter to the editor to The Daily Free Press, expressing their disappointment that Boston University would condone a vigil held in honor of terror victims in Israel in the past weeks. Apparently they were offended, because acknowledging that terrorism exists in Israel and there are people walking around stabbing Jews simply for being Jews is … “toxic” or “dehumanizing”, because these victims do not deserve to be honored? They even mentioned that Palestinians had been killed, but conveniently left out that those Palestinians killed were caught in the act of attempting to stab innocent civilians on the street, knives wielded.

Well, I was a little confused. SJP failed to mention why the Pro-Israel community was speaking out about terrorism. They failed to mention exactly what was happening in Israel, but I’d like to enlighten those who are interested in knowing more.

Yes, I have been studying for exams, but in between typical college problems like trying to get to class on time and finishing papers, I work in media, specifically media in Israel. I read articles every day about what goes on. I spend hours calling witnesses on Skype and getting the real story. Yes, my days are occupied with learning midterms. But they are also occupied with learning that the average Israeli citizen today is not afforded the same security that I have, that the past few weeks have been a constant fight in their minds of whether going outside is worth the very real risk of a terrorist attack in bus stations, in school buses, in markets, anywhere. For the first time in a long time, I call friends in Israel and I can hear fear in their voices. These past months have been difficult. It has become a daily occurrence to read about random stabbings, cars running into bus stops and attempted murders, some thwarted by Israeli police and citizens, some not.  I think about how easy it is for me to walk out of my dorm, head to the gym with my headphones in, and walk back home barely aware of my surroundings.  That unawareness could be the difference between life and death in Israel. There are real victims in this conflict and SJP claiming that a vigil to honor innocent victims of terror attacks is offensive is not social justice, it is censorship.

This was originally published in The Daily Free Press and was written by Boston University CAMERA Fellow Lindsey Cohen.

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