2016 Second Place Winner

As a Jewish student looking down the road to college, how can you prepare yourself to  combat anti Semitism on the college campus.

Written by:  Dafna Meyerowitz

I know I will face many different types of challenges when I go to college. Recently, it has become very well known that anti-Semitism has become more common on college campuses, especially because of the conflicts in the Middle East. The rise in anti-Semitism can easily be connected to Israel’s conflicts with Palestinians. Instead of arguing with people, my goal is to educate others, as well as myself.
In order to educate them, I first must know my enemy. Therefore, best way to combat anti-Semitism is by knowing what they will say so I can be ready to defend myself and my people. Many people who are anti-Semitic feel that Israel belongs to the Palestinians and that Israel unfairly kicked them out. They frequently accuse Israelis of using “unnecessary force” in fighting against the Palestinians. The Israelis are often accused of attacking and the media often portray the Palestinians as simply defending themselves.
However, I need to realize that these ideas come from social media and other news sources, so most people only see the one side and assume that we are always wrong. They believe Israel has no right to the land. Therefore, I need to educate them because they do not know the truth. Palestinians, and other Muslims, often claim that Israel is their land, but as it says in Bereisheit, Hashem gave the land to Israel. In addition, the Muslims have three holy sites, and the two most important ones are in Saudi Arabia. Palestinians gave themselves the name Palestinians to make themselves sound like the legitimate settlers in the land. However, Palestinians mainly came from Jordan and settled in Israel much more recently. In order to educate them, I would present them with historical facts and reliable objective information.

In addition to educating people about the history of Israel, I must also teach them about the current conflicts in the Middle East. There are a lot of people who do not know about the conflict in the Middle East, and they only know what the biased media tells them. Throughout Israel Palestinian terrorists have been stabbing Israelis and hitting them with cars. In the newspapers, they make Israel sound bad and like Israel started it. When an Israeli defends themselves and kills the attacker, the newspapers make the headlines sound like Israel is the one attacking. For example, a common New York Times headlines says “Palestinians Shot by Israelis.” However, it is not until you read the article that you find out that it was really an Israeli defending himself from a Palestinian attack. Nowadays, people can longer be anti-Semitic, so instead they are often anti-Israel.
Another way to deal with anti-Semitism is to ignore their comments. There are some people who refuse to listen to the other side, and therefore there is no point in arguing with them. However, most people have never met a Jew and they are just basing their ideas on the news and not real interactions with Jews. Therefore, sometimes the best thing for me to do is by being a good role model so they learn the truth about the Jews.