I was not surprised when seeing Columbia University ranked #1 in the Algemeiner’s latest study of The 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students. It has been over a year since I co-founded Students Supporting Israel on campus, and everyday our team wakes up ready to fight for Israel.
It is important to mention that Columbia University as a school and administration is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israel. The problem stems from the number of professors and student groups on campus who have pledged themselves to destroying Israel’s image and right to exist. This powerful union has hijacked the campus narrative, harassed Pro-Israel students, and done everything in its power to create a hostile environment for anyone who supports Israel.
Today, it is relatively comfortable to be a Jew on a U.S. or Canadian campus if you are a Jew who does not openly show their support for Israel. There are about 4 student groups at Columbia University who’s sole purpose is to pursue an agenda in delegitimizing Israel’s very right to exist. After years of denial and neglect by those in charge of fighting for Israel on campus, these 4 groups have made alliances with over 30 other student groups and convinced countless professors to support their cause. This has created an overwhelming amount of support for the anti-Israel movement, which uses legitimate Palestinian suffering as a tool in demonizing Israel.
These groups collectively host events, almost on a daily basis, that target Israel from different angles. These events are marketed to all Columbia students and I have heard things like “terrorists are freedom fighters,” “Hamas is a liberation movement,” and even “Jews dying by the hands of Palestinians is only normal.”
Many of the schools on this list have beautiful Jewish community centers that give Jewish students many benefits. Nonetheless, accessibility to a variety of amenities on an off campus building does not mask the reality on the ground. The Algemeiner clearly factored on anti-Israel activity as something that directly affects Jewish life on campus. To be honest, I don’t know how one can consider Jewish life as “good” when supporting Israel outside of these “safe spaces” has become so unsafe.
The reason the anti-Israel movement has been so successful is because we have allowed it to get to this point. If the Jews/Pro-Israel students united to protect Israel, regardless of their political right or left wing views and regardless of their opinions on what state solutions should look like, then the anti-Israel movement would be weak.
Unfortunately, most Jews do not care about Israel and if they do they do not really want to get involved with what is going on. We should not fall victim to a repeated history. Pretending it’s all good because of Jewish resources, is blinding oneself for the sake of comfort, at the price of their survival.