Mindless Antisemitism at Syracuse University
Last month, I was passing through the lobby of my dorm when a jarring poster, prominently placed on the wall, stopped me in my tracks.
Emblazoned for all to see was an all too familiar image: the Star of David being crossed out. I suddenly recalled stories of how my great grandfather had to walk by very similar posters in Poland, as the Nazi movement swept across Europe during World War II.
My initial impulse was to figure out why something so blatantly antisemitic would randomly show up on our dormitory wall. And I thought that a residence staff member could help me.
To my surprise, this “adult” was the person who taped up the poster.
When I confronted the staff member, they explained that they posted it, along with other signs to honor Black History Month — noting that it had been placed next to a photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I questioned the staff member about this poster, and asked how on earth it could be connected to Black History Month. After all, as I pointed out, Martin Luther King was a strong advocate of Israel — and an outspoken voice against antisemitism.
The staff member then attempted to explain that the poster was meant to advocate for Palestinian rights. Sadly, there is an obvious double standard here. Why? Because it’s OK to cross out the Jewish star, but if the poster was of any Palestinian symbol being crossed out, the campus would be engulfed in protest and screaming students.
Anti-Israel agitators claim that by posting images such as the crossed out Jewish star, they are trying to take people out of their comfort zones through free speech. Meanwhile, they have stickers all over their doors that say “Safe Space” — and they oppose all speech that might question their views.
Today, almost everything is interpreted as hate speech. Some people who support Donald Trump are labeled as “racists” or “Nazis.” Yet true bigotry toward Jews is often accepted.
While the staff member finally agreed to take down the antisemitic sign, such blatant hypocrisy is troubling. People are now so obsessed with pushing their own identity politics, that they will step all over the Zionist and Jewish identities to do so. Unfortunately, my generation has become inflicted with the idea that it’s cool to play the “victim” and point fingers at the rest of society for somehow “oppressing” them. While they love to blame America and Western culture for problems such as terrorism, the very thing that grants them the ability to sit in their lofty college classrooms and feel so entitled is these protections.
After posting an online video about the antisemitic poster, a pro-Israel organization reached out and invited me to join them in Washington DC, at what would become my very first AIPAC policy conference. There, I met Jewish students across the nation who shared similar experiences of antisemitism on their own campus, often expressed by the BDS movement.
We were privileged to hear the advice of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Vice President Mike Pence, and American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on how we can combat the BDS bullies and those who wish to see Israel purged from existence.
However, what truly gave me hope was the attendance of leaders from the Democratic Party, whom I wouldn’t have previously assumed to be Israel supporters. I was glad to have my pre-existing beliefs challenged — and changed.
While I disagree with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer on almost everything, his address to AIPAC completely took down all political barriers. For that moment, the room wasn’t separated by Democrats and Republicans, but rather united under one goal: to protect the only true democracy in the Middle East.
Perhaps this serves as a message for progressives, such as the staff member in my dorm: you don’t have to degrade your Zionist colleagues to support a leftist ideology.
The author is a student at Syracuse University.