Op-Ed: The Last Jew On Campus

There is a problem when Jewish kids are fearful of being Jewish on campus.

Published: Monday, June 01, 2015 11:34 AM, Arutz Sheva

His first name is Michael. This much I can say. But he’d rather not give his last name publicly or the name of the university under discussion.

So already we understand the problem. We know there’s a problem when Jewish kids are fearful…just plain fearful of being Jewish on campus.

But he’s not “religious.” His parents always vote for Democrats and he thinks like they do. He is a Liberal. He’s 20. Because he’s a Liberal he was offended by my book on Islam and the media. He gave it a one star review and now regretted doing so. The book got him thinking, he said. Would I please answer one central question?

“Why can’t the Israelis make peace with the Palestinians? This always comes up at school.”

“Who brings it up?” I asked.

“The Palestinians. They keep asking us and we don’t have the answers, nothing they want to hear.”

“Never mind that there are no such people as Palestinians. Who does the talking on your side?”

“There’s me,” he said, “and plenty more of us, but dwindling.”

“How many on the other side?”

“Well,” Michael said, “we have about a thousand Palestinians on campus and we meet some of them regularly whenever we can.”

“How does it go?”

“It always ends badly. They keep asking the same question and they blame Israel for everything. Then they blame the rest of us.”

“Are these discussions done calmly?”

“There’s no reasoning, if that’s what you mean. We get shouted down. Sometimes there’s the threat of violence. Most of the girls left our group.”

“They’re afraid?”

“They end up crying. It’s totally frustrating.”

“Do you explain that in Israel a million and a half Palestinian Arabs have full rights, which they don’t enjoy in any Arab country?”

“That doesn’t work because they start hollering about apartheid and everything else. When we try to make our case they walk out. Or they drown us out shouting, you know, Allah Akhbar. We once invited a rabbi but they wouldn’t let him speak. Are we wrong to hold meetings with them?”

“Personally, I find that it never helps. But you’re in college, a place where everything should be discussed and debated.”

“Impossible. They just want to make their argument. If we don’t sign their boycott Israel petitions, BDS, they make life unbearable.”

 “Did you sign?”

“No. But others did.”

“How nice.”

“Sometimes I feel like the last Jew on campus,” Michael said.

“Are you afraid of them?” I asked.

“Yes. So is everybody. You can’t imagine the pressure. They run the campus.”

“So it’s hostile and there’s no talking with them.”

“We try,” Michael said, “and the more we try the worse it gets.”

“Will you keep trying?”

“I guess. I guess we have to. But it does seem hopeless.”

“So, Michael, what was your question?”

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. The new thriller from the New York-based novelist, The Bathsheba Deadline, a heroic editor’s singlehanded war on terror and against media bias. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: www.jackengelhard.com