“Life is political. There is no way around it, and the more that Hillel and the dormant pro-Israel student body accepts and legitimizes anti-Israel hatred, the harder Jewish students will have it in the near future…” – Nadiya Al-Noor and Maxwell Adelstein in a post following a horrible anti-Israel incident in Baltimore college that left Jewish students in trauma.
Assi Azar makes the peace sign as he is surrounded by supportive students at Goucher College, Baltimore, November 5, 2015.
We never expected our college to be one of those anti-Israel schools. Our school, Goucher College in Maryland, was around 30% Jewish. We had a very active Hillel on campus and many students were openly Zionist. We’d never really had a problem, that is, until two years ago.
The Goucher College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was founded in 2014. They sponsored an event for the hate-mongering anti-Israel movement “Existence is Resistance,” among others. They sent the campus Public Safety after Max because he dared to call them out for their lies and propaganda. They curtailed free speech and made life difficult for Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus for a year.
By 2015, it seemed as though things had died down. Or so we thought.
Our campus had a very high percentage of LGBT students. Many of these students were also Jewish. The Queer Student Union on campus at the time, TALQ BIG, was founded in part by two gay Jewish students. In November 2015, the Israel Committee at our college decided to bring gay Israeli filmmaker Assi Azar to our campus in order to screen his film Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You and discuss the realities of being gay in a Jewish society. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Well, we were about to get a nasty shock.
We reached out to TALQ BIG so we could plan the event together. They initially agreed, but suddenly they withdrew their support and demanded we cease planning the event. We were baffled. They cited anti-Israel propaganda from websites like Electronic Intifada in their decision. We told them that we were going to continue planning the event. They didn’t like that one bit.