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On GW’s Campus, Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

student government


George Washington University


On GW’s Campus, Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism

Submission about SR-S18-21


The following is a submission from Emma Enig, a GW Sophomore, regarding SR-S18-21. This opinion does not reflect the views of The Rival.

College students have always been on the frontlines of change, protesting and advocating when they are passionate about a certain cause. However, it’s always a shame when someone unwittingly falls for harmful propaganda. This is exactly what has happened on college campuses across the nation, including GW, where students are led to repeat anti-Semitic tropes under the guise of social justice.

When it comes to attacking Israel, many students and pro-Palestinian activists believe they are doing something righteous on behalf of the underdog. They feel that they are on the right side of history, demonizing the Jewish state for alleged war crimes and human rights violations. However, when their arguments are based on lies and misinformation, they are clearly in the wrong, especially when they attack other students in the process.

If I were a student who didn’t know much about the Arab-Israeli conflict, I too would probably fall for SJP’s propaganda. They’re very persuasive, using imaginary statistics and intimidation tactics, while actively refusing to engage in constructive dialogue. How do we work towards remedying this pervasive miseducation on GW’s campus? Question your leaders, your professors, and your peers about their views on Israel.

Anti-Semitism has taken on many forms over the years and it is important to understand how anti-Semitism is now commonly masked as anti-Zionism. Engaging in anti-Semitic behavior or rhetoric is never acceptable. Here’s a simple guide to help you determine if someone is displaying anti-Semitic sentiment:

  • Are they saying that the Jewish state doesn't have a right to exist or advocating for Israel’s destruction? That’s delegitimization, which the US State Department deems anti-Semitic.

  • Are they making claims that Israel commits heinous, murderous acts that aren’t grounded in factual information? That’s demonization. If something sounds crazy and outrageous, it’s probably fake. You should question it and do your own research. Does it sound completely outrageous that Israelis make matzah with the blood of Palestinian children? Of course it does, and this libel myth has been a tool of anti-Semites since the Middle Ages and been responsible for the destruction of countless Jewish communities.

  • Are they singling out or criticizing Israel for something that they wouldn’t criticize any other country for doing? Do they think every other people has a right to a state except for the Jews? That’s a double-standard.

Unfortunately for SJP at GW, the propaganda they showed our campus last week for Israel Apartheid Week fails to pass those guidelines. While they refuse to engage in dialogues with students who disagree with them, they attempt to promulgate a false narrative of the Middle East to the student body.

They have also unintentionally increased awareness on campus of how Jewish students are affected by anti-Zionism. Students who are otherwise comfortable with their Jewish and Zionist identities at GW are being scared into silence and shunned from certain social circles on campus. No student should feel intimidated, uncomfortable, or targeted by student organizations, and just because groups like SJP claim that they aren’t anti-Semitic, doesn’t mean they actually aren’t. If your actions follow the basic guidelines outlined above and if you cannot stand up and say that your ultimate goal is peace and justice for all people in this conflict, then you’re not pro-Palestinian, you’re simply against Israel—and in this instance, you’re also anti-Semitic.

It’s harmful and counterproductive to say that every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic because it prevents free flowing discussion regarding the Middle East’s only democracy. However, it’s equally detrimental, if not more so, to mask blatant anti-Semitism under the banner of social justice. The Jewish people deserve justice. The Palestinian people deserve justice. And the students at GW deserve to learn the truth and not to be fed anti-Semitic hate from SJP.

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