Erris Langer Klapper

How Not to Become the Face of the Campus Fools

Photo Credit: Times of Israel

A close friend told me it’s time to share my voice in support of fighting the virulent wave of antisemitism sweeping our college campuses. I don’t disagree with her, but I must admit that I’ve been staring at a blank screen for 3-hours now. What can I possibly add? A quick perusal of articles yields countless hits of thought-provoking and spot-on commentary on the many nuances surrounding the insult that has befallen us Jews after the horrific injury of October 7.

Since Never Again is arguably a phrase that has lost its meaning, perhaps we can adopt Enough Already.

There is such a wealth of misinformation out there that, but for the circumstances, it would be comical. Just this morning, I watched a video that made its way around the globe in a short 24-hour period. It is of a Columbia University student who took herself down to NYU with a friend because apparently NYU students called for backup, and she hoped that “NYU stops.” When asked, “Stops what?” she said she didn’t actually know what NYU was doing and turned to her Ivy-league-educated friend to inquire, “What are we protesting?” She literally said those words. While these are snippets out of an embarrassing 35-second clip, the video in its entirety is even more embarrassing. This girl answered a call for action on a campus across town and came to protest what, again? She doesn’t know.

While this may be an extreme example, it is not an outlier. Facts, fiction, who cares? Why not jump on a social justice bandwagon when you know nothing about the region, the conflict, the history, the people, or why you rode the subway down to NYU in the first place? My heart almost goes out to this girl who is quickly becoming the face of the fools.

Let’s separate some fact from fiction:

  1. What is Hamas? Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to wipe Israel off the face of the map, from the Jordan River in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the West. These savages are not freedom fighters taking a page out of Gandhi’s playbook, or even Nelson Mandela, to draw a more apt comparison. These are murderous terrorists. If you care about the Palestinian people, protest to free Gaza from their clutches.
  2. Stop Confusing Israelis and Jews with Netanyahu’s Government: While I am not a supporter of the Netanyahu government, I am also not a supporter of sitting idly by after an attack such as October 7, attacks on the Northern Border and Iran’s latest display. Prior to October 7, Israelis had regularly taken to the streets in droves to protest against the Netanyahu regime, and with good reason. But regardless of who you support, Israel is a sovereign nation. Can you picture the US sitting idly by under similar circumstances?
  3. The Number of Palestinian Deaths Justifies Anti-Israel Protests. Many sources state that the death toll initially reported was grossly exaggerated, while other sources cite rising numbers and uncertainty regarding the breadth of the humanitarian crisis. No one rational would deny that a dire situation exists; but no one can deny that there was no such crisis on October 6. Let’s be clear: One innocent life lost is one too many. Hamas brought this utter catastrophe on its people, and the consequences are unbearable.
  4. Let’s Be Honest About the Protests. Too many students are not that different than the nameless girl in the video. They have no idea what they are protesting because they are simply not familiar with the geo-pollical complexities of that hotbed region. Yet, they have jumped on the bandwagon. One friend explained that her Jewish child is pro-BDS because, she suspects, their connection with Israel is less strong than the connection of previous generations. But is her kid not protesting alongside hundreds calling for death to the Jews? It is shameful that these kids simply do not understand the intricacies of the region, and while their grades and SAT scores gained them entrance to prestigious universities, their willingness to spew rhetoric not based in fact speaks volumes. It is even more shameful when Jewish kids embrace that garbage; if your Jewish kid lacks a connection to Israel, then you need to dig deeper. My heart goes out to parents who have the need to explain. I’d be mortified, too. What if one of my kids started speaking out or protesting about issues they are not fully versed in and my attempts to reel them in failed? What if my kid became the poster child for what is quickly becoming the woke, stereotypical college kid, led by the nose by agitators?
  5. Protests Have Been Largely Confined to Campuses. While there have been protests elsewhere, college campuses seem to be the focal point of this latest three-ring circus of blatant antisemitism. Many Palestinian Americans have taken to the streets in some cities, but we are not currently seeing a wave similar to the George Floyd protests, which justifiably drew consistent and large crowds comprised of people from all walks of life outside campuses. Could it be that outside agitators know that many college kids are so busy attaching themselves to causes without first engaging their brains that the ground is ripe for this type of incitement? Who in their right mind would go to protest and be unable to verbalize what they are protesting? I want to believe that most Americans cannot and would not get behind a cause that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, the death of the Jews, and the embracing of terrorists. We may be a politically divided nation, but even we have our limits.

I don’t know where we go from here. Some parents will identify, and some parents will jump down my throat, defending their kids for knowing precisely what they are protesting – but isn’t that even worse? No offense, but I am glad it’s not my kid. There is a teachable moment here: first, learn all the facts, and then, if you still feel the same, have at it. But the situation is bad enough. Don’t add insult to injury out of ignorance.

Isn’t it enough already?

About the Author
Erris is an attorney, wife and mom and a candidate for a Master's Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She is a blogger for The Times of Israel, and her articles have been featured in various publications including Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Town & Country, Elle Decor, Country Living, Woman's Day, Redbook, Esquire, Yahoo News, Beyond Your Blog, YourTango, The Jewish Chronicle, Algemeiner, SheSavvy, Kveller, Parent Co, The Mighty, Grown and Flown, Mogul, Beliefnet, All4Women, the Journal of Educational Gerontology, Her View From Home, The Good Men Project and Scary Mommy. Please follow the links to her social media accounts.
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