Assaf Weiss, a Graduate Student at Columbia Law School, says we must protect American campuses from the BDS movement and the violence faced by Jewish and Israeli students. “The BDS activists’ message was clear: The only freedom of speech worthy of protection is their own. Those who disagree, or dispute their view of the world, would be violently disrupted.”
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement held its annual “Israel Apartheid Week” on Columbia University’s campus last week, spreading violent antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda. Nevertheless, Apartheid Week is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the year, the BDS movement has gained momentum across the United States, and life on campus is becoming increasingly difficult for Jewish and Israeli students who are being silenced by its lies, bullying and vicious acts.
Even before applying to Columbia Law School, I had heard about the anti-Israel atmosphere on American campuses and in my previous position as a senior adviser to an Israeli minister, was familiar with the BDS movement. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of the anti-Israel propaganda and the actual experience of being an Israeli-Jewish student on an American campus.
When I got to campus, I decided to see for myself what BDS was really like and went to the first BDS event. We were told that all audio and video recordings were strictly forbidden. The facilitators then gave a presentation that was nothing short of propaganda and indoctrination. We were told that Israel was established by “colonialist Jews” who destroyed the existing Palestinian state. One of the organizers, from Students for Justice in Palestine, told us that terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens were justified, adding that “this is what you get when you choke a people for 69 years.” All around me, the crowd of about 50 students clapped and cheered.
I left the lecture shaking, terrified. I knew that BDS spread lies and misinformation about Israel and Jews, but it was the first time I had witnessed firsthand a dynamic group of educated and ambitious young people cheering and celebrating the murder of innocent people.
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