As a person who is involved in politics, specifically the Middle East conflict, I have seen very hostile protests, demonstrations, etc… But I never expected to witness it on my own campus, especially right here in New York City. That all changed however, as I walked into school on October 8th 2014 and saw members of the Students for Justice in Palestine group laying on the floor of my campus, covered in sheets drenched in “blood,” and holding up signs encouraging an “intifada,” calling for the “boycott” of Israel, and spewing lies and hatred that are counter-productive to 21st century values. As I stood by what they call a ‘die-in,’ draped in my Israeli flag, wearing glasses that had the Star of David strewn across the lenses, I was quickly identified by SJP and targeted. In the beginning, a member of their group tried to get me to leave, however I refused, I had a right as a student to be there and voice my opinion.
As I stood there, listening to the lies and hate they were spewing, being called despicable names by some of their members, having somebody ask me if they could “wipe their a** with my flag,” regret and anger filled my heart. You’d probably expect me to be mad at the lies they were spewing and hate they were encouraging, and of course I was, but that’s not what really hurt me. What hurt me was the fact that people in the 21st century, people who believe they are “progressive,” can act in such a fashion, as well as target and try to intimidate their fellow students, as they did to me and some of my fellow club members.
As I walked around the circle of the group of students that had gathered to see what all the ruckus was about, and began to hand out pro-Israel pamphlets, I was able to sigh a breath of relief, so to speak. There were students that told me they were “disgusted,” “appalled,” “shocked,” and “disturbed,” by the hate being displayed, the hate that burned in the heart of the participants of that ‘die-in.’ It was gratifying to know that so many students are waking up and challenging the hate that is displayed all too often. It is about time that SJP and their mindset, is challenged on campuses across the nation. I support their freedom of speech, I support their right to organize, but what are they really accomplishing? All they’re doing is dividing campuses, driving a wedge further between both sides of the conflict, and bringing the Middle East conflict to college campuses.
Dear SJP, I am here to once again reach out my hand and extend an olive branch to you. As part of the generation of college students that have been raised in times of constant war, times of hate, and times of division across the world, I say enough is enough, I am sick of it. Instead of trying to isolate one part of the student body, why don’t you reach out to us, the “other side?” Accept our offer of peace, join us pro-Israel students in constructive dialogue and joint events for peace, and let’s take control of our world. Ever heard the phrase “history repeats itself?” Well, I understand that we have our differences in opinion and we have our reserved judgments, however if we don’t put our differences aside, unite, and work on a better future, together, then we will just end up contributing to the conflict and we will not be doing anything to stop it. Grab my hand, join me, and let’s work on encouraging peace on campuses across the country, as well as places around the world. After all, if we don’t change our world for the better, who will? The time is now.