Ignorance on Zionism leads to antisemitism – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on August 16, 2020

Campuses have long been a breeding ground for radical, even completely illogical, anti-Israel bigotry. But as an alumna of the University of Southern California (USC), I always took solace in the fact that my alma mater had my back as a Jewish student and as a leader in the pro-Israel activities on campus. Unlike the University of California schools, USC was a stalwart for Jewish students. Not so anymore. The dramatic change in campuses like USC that were previously beacons of hope for Jewish students demonstrates how severe the situation is with rise in antisemitism. The toxic campus culture has become so radical it is targeting even people who are fighting for equality and social justice.

Last week, Rose Ritch, the (former) vice president of the universitys undergraduate student government, resigned from her position in a poignant letter after enduring a months-long online bullying and harassment campaign against her to impeach her. Ritchs crime was nothing more that being a Jew and a Zionist two things that have apparently become unsafe to be on USCs campus today.

In Ritchs letter, she explained, Ive been told that my support of Israel has made me complicit in racism and that, by association, Im racist... Students launched an aggressive social media campaign to impeach my Zionist a**... My Jewish and Zionist identity has helped shape every part of who I am, and they cannot be separated. The targeted harassment of Ritch is nothing more than pure unadulterated antisemitism, and here is why: no other student would be canceled, harassed, bullied and pushed out of office for supporting any other country in the world. Even horrendous human rights abusing regimes like Syria, Iran, or China. There are no campus groups focused solely on combating human rights violations in Iran, on boycotting China or on holding Syria accountable. Only the Jewish state.

Similarly, no other liberation movement is subject to the level of fomenting rage and irrational criticism that Zionism is. Only Zionism, the movement for Jewish self-determination which for the record, again, is not mutually exclusive and does not negate the right to self-determination for any other people invokes fury from the Left and the Right.

How dare the Jews the most systematically oppressed minority from all of human history have independence? Todays anti-Zionism is evidence that classic antisemitism hasnt gone anywhere. The West, in particular, is quick to condemn antisemitism, but for a Jew to demand equality? That threatens the deeply rooted colonialist mindset of so many who believe theyre doing us a favor by condemning Jew hatred today. They will nod and agree that antisemitism is bad, discuss how the Holocaust was terrible, pay lip service to Never Again, but all of that is meaningless if they only support us when we are dependent on their protection.

There is a reason the majority of Jews support Zionism: Because the human drive for independence and self-determination is innate, and thousands of years of history prove that we are the only ones capable of defending our right to exist. Zionism demands that the Jews be treated as any other nation, no more and no less. As Zeev Jabotinsky wrote, We do not have to account to anybody, we are not to sit for anybodys examination and nobody is old enough to call on us to answer. We came before them and will leave after them. We are what we are, we are good for ourselves, we will not change, nor do we want to. It is only someone with hate in his heart for the Jewish people who is threatened by Zionism, because to be anti-Zionist isnt to dislike Israels policies, its to be against the Jewish right to self determination. That is antisemitism.

It deeply saddens me that a student leader at USC experienced abuse at a level that necessitated her resignation from a student group, to protect her own mental health and personal safety and all for no other reason that she is a Jew who believes in the liberation movement of the Jewish people Zionism. USC has already pledged to fight antisemitism, but the university must take action to correct the cultural hostility and ignorance surrounding anti-Zionism or antisemitism will only intensify.

The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.

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Ignorance on Zionism leads to antisemitism - The Jerusalem Post

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