Forum: Community Members Talk About the Current State of Anti-Semitism

9 Jun
In the May issue of the Jewish News, we asked the question: What are your thoughts on the current state of anti-Semitism?

Madison Bryan

     As a student at New College of Florida, a radically far-left school, I walk through a campus of people that know I’m an outspoken Zionist, and I routinely am ostracized because of my pro-Israel beliefs. Beyond textbook examples of anti-semitism such as seeing Swastikas around town and hearing people make anti-Jewish jokes, there is another issue some people fail to see:  anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment are inevitably intertwined.
Jewish students on campus are afraid to speak out against the anti-Israel sentiment on campus out of fear of losing friends.  What’s more: there is an organization on campus called “STOP: Students Targeting Oppressive Powers” with Israel at the top of their list.  In the cafeteria, there is a bulletin with quotes from civil rights activists that are taken out of context and put against Israel, with a slash through the country.  There are signs comparing the Ferguson case and police brutality cases around the United States to Israel’s current government.

There is a radical notion sweeping my campus, as well as campuses around the nation, that Israel is a big, bad, oppressive power that needs to be stopped.  Images of people bloodied, images from decades ago of people hung (with no evidence of its occurrence in Israel), and more are scattered around a list of “500 Innocent Gazan Children Killed” that I get to look at every day when I eat lunch.
Of course, people who do not know any better will begin assuming that Israel is a brutally oppressive power.  Unfortunately, people believe this hoax, without paying any mind to the current terrorist organizations present in the Middle East. Hamas and ISIS aren’t the issue to students around college campuses – Israel is.  This state of the far-left college campus inevitably ties into anti-semitism for a few reasons.
 First of all, without Israel, there is no Jewish state. Without a Jewish state, there is no dependably secure and safe state for the Jewish people of our future. During the Holocaust, the land that is currently Israel was called the “Palestinian Mandate.”  Perhaps World War II would’ve had a different outcome if the Jewish people subject to genocide had a secure state to retreat to for safety from anti-semitism.
Beyond college campuses, there is imminent and obvious anti-semitism throughout the world.  People fail to see that terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East will not raise a white flag and respect Israel’s borders or security.  These people fail to recognize that by definition, terrorist groups have no regard for diplomacy and will not stop in an agreement to half of the land.
As a global population of almost seven billion people, Jews account for less than 0.7% of the world and should be able to rely on a safe home that proudly stands at about roughly the size of New Jersey.  In short, Israel and the Jewish people, for our culture and safety, cannot afford for the land to be any smaller.
During my weeks spent in Israel, not once did I see what has magically made its way to the internet; not once have I seen Arabs being oppressed or forced to leave the country; not once have I seen any of the “Jewish Hierarchy” that our Western media (and my college campus) shows.
When I speak up against the anti-Israel sentiment using my own experiences, many people fall silent. I’m not afraid to speak out against anti-semitism on my campus. As a young Jewish woman, I’m confident in not being a bystander to anti-Jewish jokes and I refuse to be silent when people wrongly spread false accusations about Israel. Without Israel, world Jewry may face a difficult future – making it harder to ensure that “Never Again” remains a reality.

Madison Bryan is a student at New College of Florida and is a Jewish Federation Young Ambassador. She traveled to “March of the Living” and to the AIPAC Policy Conference with The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.


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