Teach Your Kids About Israel… Before Someone Else Does

The Jewish People have been subjugated and terrorized in wars and pogroms for millennia, the latest and greatest of which is still fresh in the minds of every Jew old enough to hear the story.  The war we are facing today though, is less apparent to the average onlooker (I bet many of you did not even know there was one). Western countries pride themselves on being protectorates of rights, and as such, it is difficult to look past the official stance of these governments, to find that today’s war against Jews is taking place on an entirely different plane: in the classrooms of North American university campuses.

You don’t believe me?  Here are some statistics drawn from two recent surveys.  78% of North American Jewish college students have observed or experienced anti-Semitism.  41% of North American Jewish college students have heard anti-Israel remarks made in class by a professor.  78% of all North American college students think Israel is an Apartheid State or are unsure if it is.*  Historically, Jews have been attacked for their religion, for their race, for their ethnicity, and for their nationhood.  Today, Jewish students are experiencing an intellectualized anti-Semitism under the guise of criticism of Israel and with the “credibility” of academia.  Of course, as the Chair of the Political Science Department of

Example of anti-Israel professors using their academic standing as a means to indoctrinate students

Touro College, David Luchins, concedes, “Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic… but when Israel is presented as the world’s greatest violator of human rights, by people who whitewash atrocities being committed all around the world, then you know you’ve got a problem.”

But how can we confront a problem we do not even know exists?  I know firsthand of the thousands (if not millions) of North American Jews who are not aware of the concealed anti-Semitism their children face in the classroom.  As President of JerusalemOnlineU.com I have grown used to people approaching me after screenings exclaiming they were shocked by the footage they saw of anti-Israel professors “lecturing” that Israel does not meet the requirements of a legitimate State.  What’s worse is that many high school students are not prepared in advance to face these situations.  Since communities do not understand the extent of the problem, they are not sufficiently educating and preparing their youth before sending them to college.

The solution to this is twofold.  1) Communities must be made aware that there is a problem on campus regarding Israel and anti-Semitism, and 2) communities must gain the proper education to pass on to their children before sending them to college.  This is where Step Up For Israel comes in.  Step Up For Israel is a new international, grassroots campaign, chaired by Alan Dershowitz and Dore Gold, designed to connect individuals and communities to Israel by providing a strong foundation in Israel education and activist opportunities.  The campaign consists of short films that provide the necessary education to distinguish between truth and lies in the classroom.  An added bonus to the campaign is the new hit PBS film Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference.  This film highlights the unique Israeli characteristics that have led to vast technological innovations and achievements.  Students need to hear more about Israel than irrational rants from their biased professors.  Israel may not be perfect, but as Jon Medved points out “there are few places in the world that are as impactful [sic] on the overall well-being of the planet” and students need to see that side of Israel too.

The kind of Israel we should be educating our kids about. [Still frames from “Israel Inside”]

As a supplement to our films, we are engaging people who want to learn about Israel through social media.  We are using FacebookTwitter, PinterestSodaheadTumblr, our websiteYouTube, and blogs to show the world what a wonderful place Israel really is.  We discuss hot topics relating to Israel, offer unique perspectives about the conflict, and provide a view of Israel’s role in the world in the larger context of history.  So be sure to be on the lookout for my regular blog about topics that affect you and your children — and welcome to Step Up For Israel.

*Alone on the Quad, The Institute for Jewish Community Research, December 2011 and National Survey of Jewish Undergraduate Students, The Israel Project, November 2011

About the Author
Amy Holtz is the President of JerusalemOnlineU.com. She had spent 15 years as the owner and operator of a chain of 25 franchised Party City stores. She sold the chain in November, 2007. Prior to that she practiced law at Blank, Rome in Philadelphia and Arent, Fox in Washington, D.C. Ms. Holtz is on Jewish National Fund’s PA Eastern Region Board of Directors and the National Center for Hebrew Language Charter School Excellence and Development board. Also find us on pinterest.com/stepupforisrael and tumblr.com/blog/stepupforisrael.