The best summer of my life thus far has come to an end. Following two amazing internships, countless publications, and various leadership conferences, I could not be happier with how the last three months turned out. I met amazing people, solidified valuable friendships, and chartered a path for myself that I intend to follow until the end of time.
My experiences with the ZOA, CAMERA, AIPAC, AEPi, CUFI, and many other organizations encapsulated a very proactive, Zionist summer. I have received plenty of experience, tools, support, and an ability to stand up for Israel and to stand against the grand tyranny of Hamas and ISIS. I had some of the best mentors in the pro-Israel community take their valuable time and energy helping me prepare for the challenges that I will face. Today is that day of reckoning.
Today, I return to Claremont, California for my senior year at Pitzer College. When I do so, I will set foot in territory that is historically anti-Israel. What makes it worse is my return follows the end of a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas. It most likely emboldened my ideological opponents and it puts me at the crosshairs of a contingency of students who find my opinions problematic. It has inspired fellow Jewish members of my community to take up action to discuss the conflict. Worst of all, it has put my Jewish friends on notice.
Already, we have seen an SJP-affiliated student punch my friend Daniel Vessal in the face at Temple University. We have seen J Street U elect a new board, willing to distort reality in the name of “pro-Israel” advocacy. But personally, I am not scared. I have no reason to be. I have seen the best of this debate and I have seen the worst of it. I have seen what happens when the Jewish community truly comes together in solidarity for our beloved boys and for our soldiers in the IDF. Simultaneously, Jew-hating protestors targeted me with blood libel and referred to me as a “baby killer” in the streets of New York City.
However, I am not afraid. I am blessed to have Claremont Students for Israel. My board members are fearless, intelligent, fiercely Zionist, and above all, prepared. We are ready for the battles that lie ahead of us on the information front. We have plenty of events planned, but we have a lot of work to do. I have full faith in my friends that we will get it done. We have plenty to teach our peers, but we also have plenty to learn between now and the end of the year. Our true ability to lead a movement from the ground up has yet to be tested. Though I may be at the helm of this movement, I know that it takes a group effort to destroy the misconceptions about Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Many students, ranging from incoming freshmen to rising seniors, have contacted me expressing interest in getting involved with CSI and learning more about this conflict. In the next couple of weeks, we will begin to make an impact on the student body and on the conversation about Israel, the Palestinian-Arabs, and the Arab world as a whole. We will combat any instances of anti-Semitism, and we will combat any anti-Israel articles that come out of the student newspapers. That is my job as a CAMERA Fellow. That is my board’s job as the representatives of the true Zionist community.
So upon returning to the information front, I am ready to take on the moral idiots supporting Palestinian-Arab terror and the troubled beliefs that a two-state solution will solve a nearly century-long conflict. But here’s the real question: Is Claremont ready to see a newly-refined Zionist freedom fighter? Whether or not it is, I am returning to campus and I will not be submitted into silence.