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figthing antisemitism

Standing strong: Israeli Knesset members empower campus leaders against antisemitism

A delegation of 20 Jewish student leaders from top universities across the United States and Canada recently gathered in Israel to discuss strategies for fighting rising antisemitism on their campuses.

Their trip, organized by Hasbara Fellowships and Israel ambassadors, included meeting with key Israeli figures, including President Isaac Herzog and Knesset Member Danny Danon, as well as touring the Negev region to meet with Israelis impacted by terror attacks.

This comes on the heels of several high-profile incidents where university administrators have failed to unambiguously condemn antisemitic speech on campus, with student-led calls for Palestinian liberation and objections to study abroad programs in Israel that some Jewish students felt crossed the line into antisemitism. The inability or unwillingness of universities to set clear boundaries on anti-Jewish hatred has raised alarm bells for many.

The university students shared harrowing stories of harassment and intimidation they’ve faced back home, ranging from hateful social media posts to their dorm room doors being set on fire. While the severity varies from campus to campus, the students arrived feeling unsafe, frustrated and determined to push back.

Knesset Member Danny Danon speaking with Jewish student leaders (Photo: Screenshot)

During their trip, testimonies from terror attack survivors and being a witness to the aftermath of rocket damage in southern Israel brought a sobering sense of reality when compared to learning about the events via news reports from afar.

“It’s a whole different meaning...I’m seeing it live,” shared one student who described their visit with bereaved Israeli families.

Armed with first-hand experiences and connections, the students now feel more confident to return to their campuses as pro-Israel advocates. Ideas include raising awareness of Gazans’ suffering under Hamas rule, passing student government resolutions to recognize Hamas as a terror organization, and building coalitions with Israel-friendly groups to organize educational and solidarity events.

Danon offered a hopeful perspective: "When these students return to their campuses, they will not remain silent. They will stand up and confront the lies and hate. Empowered with the truth of what they witnessed in Israel, they will be capable and uncompromising advocates for the Jewish state in the face of antisemitism."

With antisemitism raging on campuses across North America, these students offer a glimmer of hope. But as one implored during their trip: “Let’s not leave these students fighting alone on campus.” Their brave actions in the face of hatred set an example for all who care about the future of Jewish students.

Fighting a monster like antisemitism requires a diverse coalition of allies. As these courageous students take up the mantle on campus, they cannot wage this battle alone. Support from the Israeli government, Jewish communities worldwide, Christian friends of Israel, and all people of conscience who value democratic, open societies will be critical.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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