US college students visit Israel: Empowered to combat campus antisemitism

‘It’s not a photo you can click away from. It’s in front of you, something that’s real now.’

By Pesach Benson, TPS

A delegation of pro-Israel student leaders from prominent US universities who have witnessed significant rising antisemitism are visiting Israel to learn first-hand about Hamas’s October 7 massacre and the war in Gaza. After visiting the frontlines and meeting with officials, the students are strategizing how to combat antisemitism and propaganda on their campuses.

The group of over two dozen students, from universities such as UPenn, MIT, Cornell, Colombia, Brandeis, Temple, and Johns Hopkins, are spending a week visiting the Israeli communities devastated by the attack.

“The first day, we were able to bear witness in Sderot, so we were able to see a lot of those photos that swept the web on October 7. To be able to see these places in person, it’s hard, because it’s not a photo you can click away from. It’s in front of you, something that’s real now,” Vivian Cohen, a student at Virginia Tech, told the Tazpit Press Service.

MK Danny Danon, Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN, was one of the officials who met with the group at the Knesset on Thursday.

Read  WATCH: 50,000 Canadian Jews march in solidarity with Israel

“They learned a lot. They saw that they have support in Israel, and we are fighting evil,” Danon told TPS. “We are fighting evil against Hamas, and they are fighting evil on campuses, antisemitism and BDS.” He was referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Danon stressed, “It’s important because we see evil is becoming wider and stronger. All over the US, we see violence on campuses, and sometimes, the administrations themselves support those hate crimes. That’s something we should not accept.”

The student’s itinerary included Sderot, the “car cemetery” where burnt cars with blood stains and ashes are being gathered, and Tel Aviv’s Hostage Square where they met with families of the 129 captives still being held in Gaza. The students also met soldiers.

“We are here to tell the world as Jewish students that we will not be silent in the face of antisemitism on campus, that we are proud to be in Israel at this historic moment.” said Cornell University student Ethan Oliner.