It is not enough

We may think that it is sufficient to sit with folded hands and silent lips on our college campuses and ignore groups that claim we have no right to live in our land.

But it is not enough.

We may think that it is sufficient to overlook the mainstream media’s invectives spewed at us — both their subtle biases and overt accusations hurled at us — that these will eventually pass, and that since there is nothing new under the sun, disregarding such things will make them go away.

But it is not enough.

We may think that it is sufficient to refrain from challenging our professors who claim our state is a racist one, and who claim that Jews are not entitled to self-determination; that Jews are not allowed to defend themselves; that Jews are not allowed to live anywhere we desire — especially not in our heartland, Judea & Samaria.

But it is not enough.

We may even think that it is sufficient to give detailed rebuttal to our intellectual opponents whom we may deem to be fair-minded, decent people. We may believe that facts are all that is necessary to defend our position and plead our cause.

But it is not enough.

It is not enough to sit. It is not enough to overlook. It is not enough to refrain. It is not enough to defend.

If someone calls us inferior, the correct response is not to try to explain why we are his equal. The correct response is not to attempt to rationalize his prejudices and to persuade him of our inherent value. To persuade is to accept that his argument has merit. His position is morally repugnant, do not give credence to it; do not normalize it; do not legitimize it.

It is not enough to believe that anti-Semitism is bad. Yes. Anti-Semitism is bad. But, more importantly, we must remember that being a Jew is beautiful. Say that to yourself. Repeat it. Never forget it.
Being a Jew is beautiful.

This is our credo. This is our soul. This is our doctrine which we will fight for; we will live for; we will die for.

Being a Jew is beautiful.

Jewish culture; Jewish heritage; Jewish history;  Zionism — the manifestation of our pride in who we are and the emancipation of the Jewish people. All of it is beautiful. We will not apologize for it. We will not cower because of it. We will not refrain from speaking of it; from singing of it; from shouting it wherever we go.

Being a Jew is beautiful.

So we will be fire. We will be bold. We will be fearless. We rise because we are free.

Let me repeat that. We are free. No man gave us freedom; San Remo did not give us freedom; the UN did not give us freedom; the British did not give us freedom. We are free because we were born free. And it is our obligation to affirm that we are free in every step we take, every thought we think, every endeavor we pursue.

It is not that we merely have the right to exist. We do not need to be constantly told that. We know that. That fact did not begin when the world consented. It does not end when the world marches for our death.

We do not merely have the right to exist. We have the right to live and to live abundantly. And there is a difference.
In this coming school year I believe that we will see anti-Semitism rise to new levels, both on college campuses and in general. It is thus our obligation to ensure our civil rights are honored. It is also our obligation to celebrate what it means to be a Jew, and the manifestation of Jewish emancipation: Zionism.

Make no mistake:  It will be challenging and there will be moments where we will grow weary. We will be attacked on all sides from different groups that seek to deny us what is rightfully ours which no one can take away from us. They will dismiss us as unfit to have equal rights and access to our homeland. They will lie about us and subject us to soft segregation — which they will cloak in the veneer of “academic curriculum” and “journalistic impartiality.” But we will keep our eyes on the prize.

We will walk with pride, honoring the legacy of our ancestors and our history, “the renown of which,” as Herzl once wrote,  “though remote, is eternal!”

Now, shall we begin?

About the Author
Chloé Simone Valdary is an expert in Israel-Engagement in the millennial space. As a Tikvah Fellow at the Wall Street Journal, she developed a blueprint on the topic of Israel advocacy on campus -- namely what works, what doesn't, and how to make it better.