From the Desk of the Executive Director Passover behind us, we are still witnessing a very troublesome situation on American campuses, but it is a situation that needs to be put into context. To begin with, several Universities reported “outside elements pushing students to escalate the confrontation” The takeover of Hamilton Hall at Columbia marks a significant escalation, as it means the hostile takeover and vandalism of a public building. It is a criminal act, confronted by the NYPD. Students who participated in the takeover were told they could be expelled. One could ask what took them that long, but on the other hand, we can take solace in the fact that colleges are starting to react and to enforce the law as well as their own internal regulations. So who are these “outside elements”? I’m not sure who they are, but I can go by what we saw here in Scranton.

During the recent visit by President Biden to Scranton, the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) gathered across the street from the Radisson to protest against Israel’s war in Gaza. They carried mostly Palestinian flags, plus one flag of the DSA. I stood next to them, along with Dan Cardonick, carrying Israeli and US flags, one of our lawn signs, and posters of the Hostages. We were subjected to verbal abuse, and each time we even tried to establish a dialogue, were shouted down with bizarre comments, like “You are not Semites, and that is why genetic testing is forbidden in Israel” (????). It is interesting to note that several University of Scranton students were standing a full block away and refused to associate themselves with the DSA. While I have been on the receiving end of verbal abuse before, it is still unnerving.

They are also well organized… did you notice that every one of these “encampments” on college campuses uses the same tents, the same signs, the same comments? I understand coordinating a political message, but the giveaway is the use of the exact same tents. Somebody is obviously providing those tents for them and financing the operation. What is the goal of these funders?

I happen to be reading right now a book called Hitler’s American Friends that explores the evolution of the pro-Nazi movement in America during the 1930s and how they were connected or not with the German government. It describes the activities of these groups and their goal: to keep the US out of the war and to weaken the American system of government to make it ripe for the establishment of a Nazi-like dictatorship. They did not succeed because of their own internal divisions and because of the forceful intervention by the American administration. But their methods and their goals are eerily similar to the ones we are witnessing now among the movements supporting Hamas.

The American system has been very good for our people, allowing us to organize as communities and freely worship according to our ancient traditions. Democracy provided for Jews a welcoming environment in which we continue to succeed. As American Jews, it is our obligation to defend our political system, not just out of self-interest, but because it is the right thing to do. When people violate the law with impunity, as many of these demonstrators do, they are attacking the system, not a policy.

Sometimes we need to call it as it is. October 7th was not an “act of resistance”; it was an organized Pogrom. These demonstrations are not “anti-war”; they are pro-terror. Many of the students participating in them are not “student activists” but useful idiots in the service of those who are pulling the strings, giving them the message, and paying for their tents. The battle for the truth is the battle for the future of this country. Stand up and speak out.

More importantly, when November comes VOTE!


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