Having often watched young pro-Palestinian activists yell their prescribed chants and ditties outside Ecostream, and flashing “V for Victory” signs, I am reminded again of how often it seems “cool” to be a pro-Palestinian activist among some students in colleges and universities around the world.
With the younger members of the BDS, it appears as if the protest is all fun and games to them, and there have been several occasions when they really have no idea what they are supposed to be doing outside the Ecostream store, even the ones who have been indoctrinated by their activist parents. Some of them do understand what they are protesting against, but some do not, and others have, on occasions, whispered across to our group, asking us what this protest is all about! (One girl thought she was at an “anti-war” rally. I truly wonder if she expected to see “Ban the Bomb” icons!)
But in all seriousness, what is it that attracts some students to groups like the BDS, PSC, and other anti-Israel organisations?
Here’s some theories/suggestions:
1.) To some young students, it is simply “cool” to join with a so-called anti-authoritarian group, to be “rebellious” against a “conservative” stance.
2.) One must also think of the activist apparel: A brightly coloured Arab headdress (often an exotic keffiyeh) wrapped around the shoulders, with bold colours of their flags waving overhead, armed with the mission of freeing or saving something (rather like ‘save the whales’ or ‘free the oppressed proletarian’’) – perfect for the aspiring activist looking for a cause!
3.) It is also the simplicity. Pro-Israel supporters must know their history, treaties, and the content therein. They must know how Israel really operates. Pro-Palestinian supporters have to learn a simple, recurring pattern: the land, they are taught, was stolen, and the Israelis are supposedly the oppressors of the alleged indigenous population! Any doubt can be soon be assuaged by (completely unbeknown to them) a biased media! Some do not even realise that there is another side to the story because they have never been told anything else!
It is a heady mix: from the apparel, the flags, the chants, and the simple self-proclaimed mission of liberation -perhaps this is why young people are drawn in.
We hope and believe the truth will bring them out.