MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS MARCH 22 2023
For close to 15 years, there has been reporting on college campuses throughout the nation that the Leftist indoctrination that targeted young minds in terms of Marxist economic policy and intersectional identity philosophy were putting a heavy emphasis on another topic that seemingly was irrelevant to them: the plight of the Palestinian refugees. The blame was immediately and ferociously aimed at the only Jewish state in the world: Israel. Defenders and supporters of Israel have, since then, been playing catch-up to this indoctrination, but the chickens have come home to roost. For the first time, Gallup polling shows that Democrats have greater sympathy for Palestinians than Israelis.
From Gallup: “After a decade in which Democrats have shown increasing affinity toward the Palestinians, their sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%. Today’s attitudes reflect an 11-percentage-point increase over the past year in Democrats’ sympathy with the Palestinians. At the same time, the percentages sympathizing more with the Israelis (38%) and those not favoring a side (13%) have dipped to new lows.” Independents still side more with Israelis at a rate of 49% to 32%, while nearly 8 in 10 Republicans favor Israelis, 79% to 11%.
Some well-known cultural markers showed how college campuses became a haven for anti-Israel propaganda and hate. In 2010, during a Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) speech at the University of California San Diego, a student confronted speaker David Horowitz about his past comments regarding the Muslim Student Association and its connection to terrorist organizations. Horowitz asked if the student was for or against the statement by the head of Hezbollah that he wants to kill all Jews. She responded, “For it.”
In February 2014, the Undergraduate Students Association Council of UCLA considered a motion to promote the BDS movement. The motion gained a lot of attention when a UCLA alumnus named Ben Shapiro spoke at the hearing in a clip that went viral. After the motion failed 7-5, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Israel campus group, targeted two girls with online harassment and a complaint to the campus’ Judicial Board for the great crime of having previously visited Israel.
Later that same year, Ami Horowitz, who makes man-on-the-street videos, went to another University of California campus, this time in Berkeley. He conducted a social experiment where he waved an ISIS flag and then an Israeli flag to garner reactions from students passing by. The ISIS flag got little to no attention, and certainly no blowback (even some support), but the Israeli flag got far more negative reactions. “Israel is a thief in the night…and in the day,” one student shouted. Others stopped to shout expletives and to express support for Hamas.
Many more well-known examples of how the rot of hatred towards Israel, oftentimes by “Jewish” groups, have become publicized over the years. In 2019, Chelsea Clinton was confronted by two students at NYU during a service for Muslims killed in New Zealand for her previous support for Israel. Last year, the Harvard Crimson Editorial Board endorsed the BDS movement, and CUNY Law students selected a radical Islamist speaker to give the commencement address. This speaker was on video in 2020 attempting to set fire to a black student for wearing an IDF sweatshirt and is known to say such things as, “There is only one solution: Intifada revolution” and, “I hope that a pop-pop is the last noise that some Zionists hear in their lifetime.”
These Israel-hating activist students are no longer in the bubble of the university system, and many haven’t been for well over a decade. For too long, people have dismissed these reports as anecdotal evidence, whether it be personally given or widely publicized. Even if it was concerning, many assumed that once the students graduated and entered the “real world,” their opinion would change.
That change never occurred, because the “real world” decided that it was easier to conform with the passion of the younger generation than it was to straighten them out. This is a prognosis for many of society’s ills, but the evidence that it has had a profound effect on how Democrats view Israel is on full display in the Gallup polling.
If this is concerning, the time for complacency is over. There are many things that can and should be done by the community to turn this around. First is on the college campuses themselves. If you or a loved one is on a college campus, immediately join forces with the local pro-Israel club, like Students Supporting Israel or YAF. Both of these organizations have chapters on hundreds of campuses, and if they don’t have one, they should be started.
Second, Israel-supporting Americans must have active lobbying with politicians both at the state and federal level. NORPAC is having its first in-person Mission to Washington in three years (I’ve been attending since 2017); it’s a great opportunity to walk-the-walk and lobby on behalf of the important US-Israel relationship directly to nearly every member of Congress. These polls are well known among the political class, and many will change their tune based on what the polling data shows. Our support must be frequent and vocal. (Sign up at NORPAC.net.)
There have been many “wake-up calls” for people to see how fragile the US-Israel relationship actually is. This is yet another one. How many will pay attention this time? Hopefully, enough to turn this around, because otherwise, Israel truly becomes a partisan issue, yet another one that is subject to the endless gridlock of the United States Congress.