JERUSALEM, Israel – It’s been widely documented that antisemitic incidents across North America dramatically increased following the October 7th Hamas attacks. Many of these acts are taking place across major university campuses, but some students from big-name schools are now fighting back.
Their decision brought them to Israel to join a “Take Action for Israel” mission.
Right now, if you’re a student in support of Israel on a U.S. campus, you’re in the minority, and you may even be in for a fight.
Knesset member and former United Nations Ambassador Danny Danon met with the students at the Knesset, and encouraged them to develop strategies on how to fight antisemitic propaganda on campus.
“We are fighting the same fight, we are fighting evil. Today it’s very hard to be supportive of Israel on US campuses. Antisemitism is on the rise. We saw Palestinian demonstrations. Violent.”
The students described some of what they had witnessed.
Cornell University student Ethan Olimer told CBN News, “The university got a lot more tense after October 7th. There were protest rallies from the Palestinian side, and emails by the president that originally weren’t so positive towards us.”
Thea Libin, from Canada’s Calgary University, noted, “Shortly after the war starts and all these things start going around like Israel is an apartheid state, Israel’s genocidal. It turns into a rally of pro-Palestinian people chanting ‘from the river to the sea’. I have to go to class. I turn around, this girl grabs my Star of David necklace and goes, ‘You’re a colonizer!'”
“I go to the University of Washington in Seattle, which is a very contentious campus,” student Jacob Klatzker told us. “Since October the 7th, not only has antisemitism been on the rise, it’s been encouraged. And the media in Seattle, the media around U Dub (U. Of Washington), UDub the paper, Seattle Times, all of it has just left such a sense of despair.”
Danon emphasized to the students the importance of speaking up for truth. “Social media, it’s very easy to spread hate and lies,” he said. “And I think the majority of students are allowing it to become the narrative. I think for you, you shouldn’t be afraid from taking the stand and building partnerships, you know, with Christian groups, with other organizations.”
Virginia Tech student Vivian Cohen agreed with Danon. “Christians, looking at my social media, are some of the only people who were not Jewish to post about the October 7th massacre, and have continued to give me support,” she said.
Aaron Carlson, from Grace College and Seminary in Indiana, was the only non-Jewish delegate. He says his Christian faith connects him with the importance of standing for Israel.
“My campus is unique, Carlson said. ” We don’t have a lot of antisemitism, but at the same time, there’s not a lot of support for Israel. My role is to establish a narrative for Israel, and that means sharing the stories that I learn from here back on my campus.”
Hasbara Fellowships helps sponsor the students, and are active on almost 100 campuses, They’re partnering with IsraelAmbassadors.com, created after October 7th, to bring students to Israel to educate them in effective advocacy.
ISRAEL AMBASSADORS’ Michael Eglash told us concerning the students, “They had to be leaders who were really active against antisemitism, so they had to be really effective already.”
Students say being here will help them on their mission when they return home.
Olimer recounted, “Being firsthand, it’s a lot different than online, all the pictures and videos. The police station in Sderot being completely destroyed, all the bullet holes, and hearing from survivors, hostage families what they’re going through, made 100 percent clear that on campus I have to continue fighting.”
Dinah Elmaleh from Concordia University related, “I’ve actually joined a Jewish Alliance group of legal professionals, of lawyers and notaries. I also want to take everything that I’m learning from speaking with political dignitaries.”
For his part, Danon told CBN News he wishes he could bring thousands of students to see the full reality of what Israel is facing.
“They gained tools and confidence to go back home and to fight antisemitism on campus,” Danon said.