The Protest Pandemic

Re-using a Times of Israel image showing a lone pro-Israel demonstrator by the Columbia U student encampment

How are kids at elite universities so easily sucked in to a cause they know little to nothing about, and where are their parents?

Thankfully my two kids are at colleges that aren’t being taken over by crazy students who are protesting what they think is a cause and yet they are propping up a Jihadist terrorist network. They actually spend their time working, studying, and hanging out with friends. They are not ignorant. My daughter is on the board of her school’s Hillel. They have met with Muslim students and have dealt with some, but relatively mild, antisemitism on campus.

I’m trying to comprehend why the campus protests have gotten so out of control. First, I think about the fact that many of these students were socially isolated during COVID. My kids were too, but the pandemic affected everyone differently. That period caused a surge in stress, anxiety and depression, especially among teenagers, causing them to yearn for a sense of belonging and purpose.

I also heard Shai Davidai, assistant professor at Columbia who has been the loudest voice challenging the college administration since October 7, 2023, say that at Columbia since many applicants have similar academics, the school looks for students who are social activists. I’m sure this is true for other elite colleges.

There is also plenty of evidence that Iran, Qatar, Hamas, and other countries/groups of interest infiltrated theses students’ minds long ago and are pulling the puppet strings. Follow that with the desire to be accepted and join a cause. Watching the protests spread like a pandemic, we can see firsthand how Nazi youth got sucked in so easily nearly a century ago.

Has anyone noticed that rallies in support of Israel are peaceful and loving, whereas the pro-Palestinian protests are violent, sometimes even murderous? Yet the most elite schools in the US, and the world, can’t seem to get these students under control. Moreover, they can’t even seem to prevent these students gone wild from banning Jews into certain areas, like the library at UCLA. Perhaps some of them are in on the action. After all, they have taken millions, probably billions, of dollars from the same countries funding these students.

Do these kids’ parents know that they are paying tens of thousands of dollars for their children to skip school, intimidate innocent Jewish students, destroy property, chant and yell in support of a terrorist group that would throw many of them off a building, if given the chance?

If only the student activists recognized that they are not actually expressing their free will. At this point, they are so far gone with peer pressure and group think, they may not care. If only they were open to actual education and conversations. If only these students could think for themselves. Isn’t this what college is supposed to be about?

I’m not sure where we go from here, but in the short term these students and college administrations should be held accountable.  If these were my kids, I would ensure they spend the summer being de-activated and educated. Otherwise, we’re in for a very scary future with this generation, if they manage to graduate.

About the Author
Reba Stevens is a public relations executive who grew up in Canada, lived and studied in Israel and has been in the US for the past 25 years.
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