Tonight, April 30th, on Live! with Lisa, I spoke on-air by telephone live with two brave college students from Ithaca College about an ugly incident on campus today that made them feel emotionally intimidated as Jews and pro-Israel supporters. Here is the email I received today before the show:
On Tuesday evening, the members of the Student Alliance for Israel wrote a letter to the student leaders of Students for a Just Peace expressing our upset with their use of the Palestinian flag on Israel’s Independence Day. We copied that to the school president, Thomas Rochon and the school newspaper, The Ithacan, to inform them about the sentiments we see on campus. SJP sent a very aggressive and manipulative response to our email, in which the same parties were copied. After our returned clarifying response to their email, Beth Harris, a full Politics professor as well as the SJP faculty advisor, wrote an email propagating her stance on the argument to the entirety of the politics department asking for their support. Later that day that email circulated around several academic departments and was then forwarded to students.
In Beth Harris’s actions, she has practiced a highly unethical use of power. She took our argument entirely out of context to gain support over us and push us down. She emailed the President of the Student Alliance for Israel, and used censorship as an intimidation tactic to pressure her concession. I consider that a personal attack a student and a public attack on the students on campus who support Israel.
Then after today’s Student for a Just Peace demonstration on the academic quad simulating Israel’s use of check points, where students dressed and acted as Israeli soldiers holding guns then acted out shooting and beating pregnant women and children, my feelings of personal and public attack have exponentially escalated. The alienation we feel for being Israel supporters while members of the campus community has left us at times in an inconsolable emotional state and reluctant to participate in campus life.
Other Jewish students and Israel supporters have contacted me through email, phone call, and text message explaining their upset and feelings of criminalization by SJP. This is not a safe environment for us. This is not an environment where I and my fellow Israel supporters feel anything but distress, upset, and fear about the climate on campus. The actions of Students for a Just Peace, Beth Harris, and the several professors that came out to support them today are absolutely unconscionable and paralyzing to the Israel-supporting members on campus and the entirety of the Jewish Community.
We ask you please, for your support during this difficult time on campus. Is there anything you can do to help us to continue to support Israel? Any resources you have would be appreciated! Thank you so much in advance for your time!
2. If I lived in a college quad and saw this, I too would be extremely emotionally upset. It would be like watching Nazis goose-stepping on my front door. It doesn’t mean these students don’t have the right to protest. As a matter of free speech, they do. It doesn’t mean the pro-Palestinians don’t have the right to inflame the conflict, disseminate misinformation, and display propoganda in furtherance of their side of the issue. They do have this right. Nevertheless, it is both sad and outrageous that an international conflict is being brought to the center of an American college campus. This isn’t the UN. And this isn’t about an American issue. It’s about an issue and a conflict occurring thousands of miles away.