This post was contributed by Simmons College CAMERA Fellow, Allison Moldoff..
In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, pro-Israel college students have taken an active stance on social media. While members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) plaster hate throughout their social media channels, pro Israel groups have a different approach.
In the new campaign, “Waiting For A Real Peace Partner,” created by Cal Poly Pomona students and Broncos for Israel leaders Dana and Doron Feuer, the message is simple: find Israel a real peace partner. The campaign points out the real aggressor in the Arab-Israel conflict-Hamas. With the trending hashtag, #FreeGazaFromHamas, these students are hoping that their voices will be heard and their message will be clear. Israel is not the enemy. Hamas is.
Dana Feuer, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, states that, “students who support Israel on campus have been fighting an uphill battle against the hate groups and I really hope that this social media campaign gives campuses across the nation a positive boost.”
During and after Operation Protective Edge, there was an evident rise in the expression of anti-Semitism, not only in Europe, but also throughout college campuses in the United States. There have been countless incidents throughout the country where members of SJP and anti-Israel students have harassed and assaulted Jewish students. In fact, just last month, a CAMERA Fellow at Temple University was attacked by a student who did not agree with his beliefs.
These acts of aggression and the violence of Israel’s enemies need to stop. Jewish and pro-Israel students around the country hope that these new social media campaigns promoting peace and the fact that Israel wants peace will stop them from being targeted and harassed for their beliefs.
The “Waiting For A Real Peace Partner” Facebook Page states that, “the Palestinian people have been caught in the terrorist agenda of their own government for over a decade. It is time to stand up for peace and recognize that responsibility for suffering in Gaza belongs to Hamas.”
Other pro-Israel social media campaigns like, “This Is What a Zionist Looks Like” have been gaining major traction online. CAMERA Consultant, Chloe Simone Valdary, created the campaign, which incorporates iconic images of well-known actors, activists, and musicians who identify (or did, during their lives) as proud Zionists.
These social media campaigns are critical messages for pro-Israel students to express. Valdary says that the “’This Is What a Zionist Looks Like’ campaign represents our collective conscious decision to take ownership of who we are: Zionists. Unafraid and proud. In taking back this term, we seek the end of the cultural appropriation of our heritage by racist student organizations that seek to deny our people civil rights.”
Feuer adds that, “the ultimate goal and intent of our campaign is for the pro-Israel community to share a united message. We want to make it very clear that Israel wants peace and always has.”
These messages are quite relevant, given the recent behavior of SJP founder Hatem Bazian, who made a statement calling for a complete academic and cultural boycott of Israel on September 23rd, the Eve before the Jewish New Year. As TruthRevolt.org author and University of Minnesota CCAP student, Ron Feingold, states, “The attempt to isolate Israel extends to a boycott of Jewish and Israeli on-campus organizations as well. Professor Bazian has also commanded his group to demand “No to University Coordination and Strategizing with the ADL, JCRC, AJC, Stand With US, ZOA, Israeli Consulate to Limit Students Pro-Palestine Constitutionally Protected Activities.”
In response to Bazian’s statement, CAMERA along with 14 other organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Israel hatred sent a letter to the administrators of the University of California at Berkeley alerting them of the “call to action” posted by SJP founder and Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian.
It is the hopes of CAMERA, Valdary, Feuer, and many other students that the pro-Israel and Jewish community will stand a united front against aggressive students who want the destruction of the Jewish State.