As a former student leader who served as the National President of the Betar/Tagar Zionist Youth Organization, I am familiar with Jewish youth protests and believe they are effective means of raising conscience. Young Jews in this generation need to raise their voices in a world where Intermarriage is well above 50%, Iran is a threat to Israel and Israel is maligned worldwide.
With the annual AIPAC conference underway, over 1,000 students attended this year’s policy summit to speak on issues of importance to Israel – and to counter the many Anti-Israel voices on campuses across the U.S. In a widely circulated video today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNE4jEBMFf4 ), an AIPAC panel about “Israel on Campus” was disrupted by 22 year old Liza Behrendt, a member of Young Jewish and Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace. She stood up and unfurled a banner that read, “Settlements Betray Jewish Values” while disrupting the event. She and others previously disrupted a speech made by the democratically elected Prime Minister of the State of Israel, and have disrupted countless other events.
Watching the video, wondering how she entered the event, what took so long to remove her, and why no member of the audience removed her from disrupting the event, I was sickened. Liza Behrendt said she felt a need to confront the CEO of Hillel who rightfully barred all Hillel’s from partnering with organizations that support the BDS movement – in a clearly disgusting and disturbing expression of self hating “Judaism”.
We learn from visiting the website of the parent organization of these activists that their purpose is “dedicated to reaching a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of equality and international human rights”, and they urge young Jews and allies to “occupy Jewish institutions that actively obstruct human rights for Palestinians, like AIPAC, the Jewish Federations, Birthright, the Jewish National Fund, Hillel…”
Nary a mention of anything Jewish or remotely pro-Israel, they of course didn’t bother to mention the need for the Jewish state to survive – nor while at AIPAC do they mention the vast danger Iran poses to the Jewish people or any of Israel’s other challenges. This generation of Jewish student activists are quite clear that their “Judaism” is devoted to: “How much can we harm the Jewish state and the Jewish people?”
Reading their website one can learn: “We commit ourselves to peace. We will stand up with honest bodies, to offer honest bread…We are young Jews, and we get to decide what that means.” As student activists, I’d urge them to fly to Syria, Iran and other countries they want peace with and let their “cousins” there know they are proud, young Jews. They should walk the streets of those countries with Jewish stars letting them know they are young, Jewish and proud. Think they will last as long as they did at AIPAC as they greet Israel’s “partners in peace”? One wonders about the grandparents and great-grandparents of these kids many of whom were doubtlessly slaughtered in the streets by Europeans, Russian Cossacks, and for the Sephardim amongst them expelled from country after country – Were their family members allowed to “decide what their Judaism means?”
Their family trees have to be turning in their graves as this sickness permeates in the name of Jews because their last name may be Cohen or Behrendt. Owning a PR agency, I am sickened by these youth who use digital media to spread their message – and I hope she and others of her ilk with all their sympathy for the Arabs wonder why she is yet to take a peace flotilla to Syria – I’d be happy to pay for her to spend time there.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR has just released the PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” which is available for purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Immediate-Release-Deliver-Game-Changing-Relations/dp/1936661160