What Do You REALLY Rally For?

 In Combatting Antisemitism, Honesty, Compassion, and Respect, Nurturing Honesty, Respect, Compassion, Student Rights
I eagerly stride through George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus on route to the UN Relief & Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees building. In my hand, I carry words passionately crafted to be delivered via speech, to promote children’s rights, tolerance, and peace. The rally I’m about to attend, organized by the global campaign, #endjewhatred, will call out and condemn UNRWA’s failure to stand firmly against the indoctrination of refugee children with anti-semitic blood-libel, the glorification of terrorism, and the encouragement of child martyrdom.

Concurrently, on campus grounds, a Palestinian student organization plans to protest a rightful cause— one involving the administration’s alleged selectivity in offering Palestinian students trauma services (GW Hatchet, 11/18/21). I fully empathize with this effort, as EVERY student deserves equal rights at ANY institution. This well-merited gathering, however, quickly turns into a condemnable act of antisemitism, defamatory misinformation, and pure hatred. The juxtaposition and irony of the moment suddenly hits me: On my way to
rally for a peaceful cause, its antithesis is personified.
I find myself standing face-to-face with the cumulative effects of mistruth and hateful indoctrination of our GW student body. 

As I walk across Kogan Plaza, my body tenses from the outrageous language of signs and hate speech: “GW is a ZIONIST propoganda machine,” “2,4,6,8, Israel’s an Apartheid State!” “War crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing…” Surely nothing we haven’t heard before— the misinformation, the lies, the fact-twisting, the libelous propaganda. But the rhetoric’s timing is viscerally offensive considering the current climate on campus: Anti-semitic attacks continue plaguing our campus grounds, and with no serious accountability or abatement in sight. 

As a Jew and an Israeli, my stomach churns in disgust. Engagement with the group would be utterly useless, if not confrontational and ugly.  I make my way through to find my friends (also appalled) on the plaza’s north end. Despite the anger stirred up inside of me, my feelings lead me elsewhere— thinking of the prospect of educating these students about the facts and objective reality on the ground. Here we witness what UNRWA has engendered, allowing the perpetuation of hatred to tear through our community. 

I now feel more than ready to deliver a speech countering the hate that just hit our campus. I relay the message that this rally surpasses the purpose of “ending Jew hatred.” It is to call out organizations like UNRWA who enable the indoctrination of children with radicalized notions of the world that result in the tragedy over triumph seen in our world today. It calls on the very hate speech witnessed just moments ago, which empower children toward violence, sacrificing personal dignity and futures to their own detriment. 

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