College campuses have become the location of many of the recent anti-semitic hate crimes in the United States. It’s been increasingly common to see swastikas painted on dormitory walls, to hear threatening anti-Jewish verbal attacks, and even to witness physical assaults on Jewish students. Many students who are committing these hate crimes justify their religious intolerance with their political views. They claim their actions are a protest against Israel and its government’s actions in the region.
The turmoil between the Palestinian and Israeli states arose during the post-Holocaust displacement of European Jews, when the United Nations set aside land for the Jewish people in Palestine, then a British colony. This country would come to be known as Israel, and expanded as Jews immigrated to their newly promised land, giving the Israeli government near absolute power in the region. This caused a violent dissension between the Israelis and Palestinians, who fought for control of Jerusalem—the holy city of both Judaism and Islam. Due to the the Israeli government’s violent acquisition of Palestinian territories, many have sided with the state of Palestine, whose citizens have been suppressed by the Israeli military.
The demonstrations on college campuses throughout the United States, which protesters organized to show support for the Palestinian people, have led to a different form of persecution, rooted in a growing anti-semitic sentiment. This inherent oppression goes largely unpublicized and unpunished, causing many Jewish students to feel insecure about expressing their religious and political beliefs and even unsafe about living in certain dormitories and attending classes. Many of the people enacting the hate crimes feel that because they support the increasingly popular anti-Israel perspective, all of the their actions regarding the subject are appropriate. This thinking is inherently flawed, and people who express their beliefs on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot generalize the issue and turn it into a reason to subjugate a minority.
The conflict is incredibly multifaceted and full of complexities. However, those on either side of the issue should never resort to hateful actions to further an agenda. As many young people enter into the debate, it is imperative for them to fully understand the situation and separate religious and ideological conflicts from the true problems. In order to reach a solution, it is necessary to realize that criticism is different from persecution. As the issue continues to worsen in the Middle East, we need to remain fair and objective in the United States if we want to end either conflict—foreign or domestic.