Harold Ohayon
Harold Ohayon
A Wandering New Yorker

A Helping Hand

Jewish speakers shouted down at speaking events. Israeli guests chased off campus. Hillel branches targeted. Jewish students harassed, ridiculed, demonized. Behold the reality that is campus life in the United States of America.

With a stroke of a pen, President Trump has lent his support to those of us who have felt the sting of anti-Semitism whilst studying at university. It is utterly baffling to hear some within the Jewish community decry this act and try to besmirch the President of the United States for this kindly gesture. Some have claimed this move will ‘Other’ us, some claim it will stifle debate about Israeli policy in regards to the Palestinians. These responses are totally unwarranted and unjustifiably ignorant of what Jewish students face on a daily basis. We are constantly dehumanized, attacked, ridiculed and bombarded. Far Left campus groups have branded us the ‘Other’ for years now. This faux concern about ‘Othering’ comes the same individuals who have played blind, deaf and dumb when confronted with our plight for quite some time now. And if anything, President Trump’s action will create incentives for colleges to protect us from the ceaseless attacks against us. And in response to those who think this move will silence debate on Israeli policy, please remove your heads from the sand. Pro-Israel speakers have been chased off college campuses, Jewish groups have been targeted time and again, and anyone showing even the slightest support for Israel is often ostracized and condemned. I do believe these are the things that actually stifle and shut down debate, and these hostile tactics continue to grow in popularity day by day. Those who claim President Trump’s move will all of a sudden quash discussion are so blinded by their hatred for the man that they fail to see the reality that exists on campuses across the nation.

While at university I often heard venomous and hysterical shouting about how Palestine will be free ‘from the river to the sea’. For those who are unfamiliar with this statement, it means that Israel will be annihilated and replaced by a Palestinian state. Anti-Israel activists openly shout this from the top of their lungs, and they are never curtailed by campus security.

Due to my centrist Zionist views, I have been labelled a ‘baby killer’ and have been told to ‘get the f— out of Palestine’.

I was chased off campus once because I had the audacity to have an Israeli flag with me.

I have sat in classes where people have openly praised Hamas and have denied Jewish history. I have also seen several professors nod and give their silent approval when anti-Israel students would spout propagandist lies that distorted the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

These are but some of my own experiences, and I have read countless stories of far more egregious happenings within the once hallowed halls of higher education.

College campuses have become toxic environments where many Jews have to constantly be on the defensive. Colleges, in theory, should be places where respectful dialogue is held. Such dialogue could build bridges that would branch out to the wider community and help foster environments conducive for positive change. That is not what is happening today. President Trump’s action is the first step in helping alleviate our suffering.

Those who are attacking the President should be ashamed of themselves. While Jewish students have been verbally assaulted, these individuals who condemn President Trump remained silent. When pro-Palestinian groups have spread their slanderous propaganda across campus, these Jewish opponents to President Trump looked on and did nothing. When Jewish students have been encircled, demeaned, insulted and frightened, these critics of Trumpian policy stood back and offered no comfort or help. And some far Left Jewish groups even smirked while the rest of us stood our ground against an increasingly hostile horde.

President Trump’s move to help the besieged Jewish students of America is commendable. A quick Google or YouTube search can illustrate what we have been struggling against on college campuses for years. His action has not made us the ‘Other’. No, his move offers us protections that will make life tolerable once more. Nor will this silence debate, for debates have been silenced long ago. Pro Palestinian groups and other Left-Wing movements have created a totalitarian atmosphere on college campuses where only one view is tolerated and any dissenting opinion, ones that would actually create debate and discussion, are brutally suppressed. But thanks to President Trump, colleges and universities may finally wake up and defend their Jewish students and our right to exist in peace.

About the Author
Expat New Yorker living in the Land of the Rising Sun: Trekking to random parts of the globe, debating countless things under the sun, and attempting to learn to cook Korean food.
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