Sunday, September 25th | 29 Elul 5782

July 25, 2018 11:48 am

It’s Hard to Raise Jewish Children in an Anti-Israel World

avatar by Leon Kushner


A display erected by Penn Students for Justice in Palestine during its “Israeli Apartheid Week” campaign. Photo: Penn SJP.

As Dennis Prager has said many times, parents who defend Israel and proudly identify as Jews should be wary of sending their children to many college campuses, which are often blatantly anti-Israel. It’s not easy to be Jewish parents in the West and it’s harder still to be Jewish students.

Let’s put it this way: If you are paying for your child’s education, then you have an obligation — and the right — to investigate the school’s record on antisemitism, BDS, Israel, and the general politics of that school. Would you send your kids to schools in Iran or Saudi Arabia? Of course not. So why would you send your kids to schools that share similar anti-Israel views?

Case after case shows that apolitical parents, or even mildly pro-Israel parents, are often shocked what their kids say and believe when they return home. But they shouldn’t be, because these schools typically advance a one-sided attack against Israel.

Pro-Israel and pro-Jewish speakers are often not allowed to speak. Student unions are often infiltrated by radical Muslim students. Jewish conservative and pro-Israel students are verbally attacked on campus — and sometimes physically as well.

As Jewish parents who find ourselves with children who have been “educated” to hate Israel and distance themselves from their own faith, we are also faced with a quandary: If we try to defend Israel and Jews to our kids, we risk alienating them. That is a very legitimate concern.

Typically, when I am faced with university students who have been indoctrinated to hate Israel and attack her from all angles, I do not get into heated debates with them. Rather, I simply ask them if their professors who accuse Israel of every crime under the sun also taught them about the many terrible crimes in theocratic Muslim states, and in terror-sponsoring states such as North Korea, Russia, Cuba, China, etc. In most cases, they do not.

Israel is not perfect. No country is. But attacking the only Jewish state and ignoring the rest of the world’s bad players is antisemitic, plain and simple. You need to talk with your children about these issues; doing so will educate you as well.

Leon Kushner is a retired software developer, father of three wonderful children, and a husband. He is the son of Holocaust survivors and very proudly Jewish.

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