Remarks at the No Fear Rally Against Antisemitism

It’s coming from everywhere.

From members of government, from entertainers and celebrities, from the media, in our schools, on our streets, from the right, and from the left, and in the case of Hamas, from the sky and from beneath the ground. Just last week, within one week, in Boston, a gunman arrested en route to a synagogue, a rabbi stabbed, an anti-Israel rally targeting not the Israeli consulate but the ADL. In short, a white supremacist, not-a-white-supremacist, and the call to destroy Israel, all with the same goal: to eliminate Jews from the public square, or entirely, from America, and from Israel.

And for me as a professor, most painfully, it’s in the universities — which I monitor for the Algemeiner news outlet. In May, while Hamas was firing thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, and while all over North America and Europe Jews were being assaulted in the streets, synagogues and Chabad houses vandalized and burned, cemeteries desecrated, and stores smashed, the academy erupted loudly in protest — against Israel.

Literally hundreds of statements signed by tens of thousands of people affiliated with higher education. It’s not merely that these statements were filled with lies and distortions, completely one-sided, unfair, lacking objectivity, but worse: they openly admitted they weren’t interested in fairness and objectivity. There aren’t two sides to the conflict, these academics proclaimed: Jews have no rights here, it’s just the purely evil “Jewish supremacist state” doing its evil thing. Those Hamas rockets, which perhaps explained and justified the Israeli responses, never mentioned.

These are the professors teaching our students. These are the administrators overseeing the safety of our students. And these are the student peers who marginalize and harass our students.

Make no mistake. When you demonize Israel, as these thousands do, you demonize the many campus Jews who support her, who believe that Jews also have the right to a place to live in safety and security. When you—falsely, maliciously—make Israel toxic, you make your campus Jews toxic too. And when something is deemed toxic, the next step, obviously, is elimination.

And this we are seeing.

In Boston, in cities across North America and Europe, and on our campuses.

We must open our eyes, we must see what is happening, and we must not, cannot, unsee it.

We must demand our right to be Jewish, openly, publicly, safely. And on campus or off that includes, minimally, the freedom to advocate for Israel if we choose, free from violence, free from intimidation, free from harassment.

That’s what it means to reject antisemitism: to be a free people in our land and on our campuses, and everywhere.

In Israel and in America.

Am Yisrael Chai.

About the Author
Andrew Pessin is a philosophy professor, Campus Bureau Editor at The Algemeiner, co-editor of "Anti-Zionism on Campus," and author most recently of the novel, "Nevergreen," an academic satire examining campus cancel culture and the ideological excesses that generate it. For more information, visit www.andrewpessin.com.
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