Being Jewish and pro-Israel in college: 2010 vs. 2015

"Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual anti-Israel initiative, in May 2010 at the University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.
"Israeli Apartheid Week," an annual anti-Israel initiative, in May 2010 at the University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.

This week, I was able to talk to many Jewish students from around the world (including a friend from my alma mater who is visiting Israel) about what it is like to be a Jewish student on their university campuses.

I graduated from college just about a year and a half ago, and although much has stayed the same, it’s getting more difficult for Jewish students.

When I entered college in 2010, my professors were accommodating when I needed to miss class for the high holidays. Yet there always seemed to be a bonding event on Yom Kippur, and I had to miss tennis practices if I wanted to be on the Hillel board and attend Shabbat services and dinner. These little things made me feel different from the other students, but by far the greatest source of difficulty as a Jewish student on campus was the way I related to Israel.

I remember receiving a terribly inaccurate email, passed through my school’s list serve, calling Israel an apartheid state that commits war crimes. I remember getting an eviction notice put on my door, “mocking the eviction notices sent to Palestinians by the IDF.” I remember someone coming up to me in the dining hall asking me how “you [Jews] could do all of those terrible things to the Palestinians.”  I remember being ostracized in a class and receiving a grade less than I deserved because the paper had pro-Israel content. I remember sitting in a meeting hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine, the group leader asking all the other students to disregard my opinion and that of my friend because we were from the pro-Israel group. I remember when I found swastikas drawn in the bathroom stalls on multiple occasions.

It was difficult being on a campus that was dogmatically critical of Israel, with an undercurrent of anti-Semitism. I have surmised that nearly all Jews around the world face the same problems that I faced in college. And on my campus, the Claremont Colleges, it is only getting worse.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates