Hello, my name is Tatiana Rose Becker and I am a Zionist. That is not one of the first things people learn about me, but it is definitely the most important. It was not always this way. I grew up in a household that valued the Jewish culture over the religion, so I was left without a huge part of my heritage. I only began my spiritual journey into Judaism when I came to college and sought out my campus Hillel on a whim to see what they were like. I didn’t have a lot of Jewish friends growing up, and I never had the opportunities to celebrate our holidays like some of my new friends had their entire lives. I was what some people call a “bad Jew.” Recently, though, my life has taken an interesting turn.
This past summer, I had the absolute privilege to be a part of the FSU Hillel Taglit Birthright trip to Israel. I must preface that I have always been very politically active and an activist for community rights and the rights of students, but I had never considered the possibility of being an advocate for the Jewish state. Needless to say, given my position now, my life was changed in those ten days. I left the US not really knowing what it meant to be a Zionist and a supporter of the state of Israel and of her people- my people- and I came back with something I can only describe as fire in my soul. This fire has empowered me to become an activist for Israel in every way possible: at my school, with the government, with my friends, and even in my family where Israel was never really a topic of conversation before.
Spending just the last day and a half at the CAMERA Student Leadership Conference, it reminds me so fervently what it means to be a part of the pro-Israel movement. It symbolizes something so divinely greater than me, greater than my friends, greater than CAMERA, greater than most people understand. It symbolizes the sovereignty, protection, and rebirth of the Jewish people. CAMERA’s conference has given me the tools and the strength and the reassurance to face SJP, BDS, IAW, PAW and any other extremist groups head on, along with groups organizations who don’t give an accurate portrayal of the conflict, like J-Street. I have been reminded that these movements against the state of Israel are both slanderous to her name and non-peaceful causes.
The workshops being held by CAMERA are the best I have experienced in any pro-Israel collegiate student seminar to date; I have attended a few of them, for the record. CAMERA has the ability to be succinct and effective at conveying their message and giving us the facts. I feel as though this is the most productive conference I have been to dealing with real issues I am facing on my campus every day. They are effective means of fighting the slanderers, the liars, the de-legitimizers, the racists, the counter culture, and those in our midst who are so poorly misinformed that they equate Zionism with racism.
I am relatively new to the advocacy for Israel scene. My friends outside of Hillel and Noles for Israel see this as a weird immediate shift in my life- all of a sudden I went to Israel and came back, and now I am this “Super Jew” who has to fight for my cause. What they do not know is that the ten days I spent in my homeland with my people and being able to stand at the Kotel- these things changed who I fundamentally am at the core of my soul. They don’t understand that my activism isn’t just to protect the state of Israel but to protect the sanctity of my homeland and deter those who would see her destroyed. They don’t understand that my family isn’t just my mom and dad and two brothers. I have fourteen million brothers and sisters who all need my help. I have seven million brothers and sisters in Israel who, with my help, can have children and grandchildren grow up safely in their home.
I have to thank CAMERA for giving me the opportunity to come to this conference because the critical nature of the knowledge and tools I am gaining here is so inexplicably important. Myself and the other attendees of this conference are the literal future of the pro-Zionist movement. We are the future, and the future is now.
The solution, however, and something I am personally very proud of, is that we are prepared and we are ready to deal with those who would see Israel destroyed. Organizations like CAMERA which engage college students like myself who have the same like-minded goals to keep Israel safe and ultimately obtain peace in the Middle East (a far fetched goal, I admit) are the most important thing I can do with my time and I am grateful for their existence. And though the conference was fantastic and informative, I know it is just the beginning of an uphill battle that, with the help of my CAMERA peers and friends, we will win, with valor and dignity- just as the Jewish people have always done.
Contributed by CCAP Liaison Tatiana Rose Becker