Tuesday, March 22, 2005

American Jewish Congress

Today was an interesting day. I didn't have any classes, but I did have an event to attend. I went to a conference about anti-Semitism on campuses, which went very well in the begining. We tackled all the problems, mostly on Columbia's campus, and each student was given an opporunity to speak. After the initial speech though, the conference on anti-Semitism turned into a right-wing abuse of the left-wing Jews.

Now, I know some people will agree with the right here, but understand a few things.

1 - The conference was supposed to be on anti-Semitism, and turned into a pro-Israel campaign, bashing the Palestinians for what they had done. No matter how right or wrong they may have been (I personally agreed with some of the ideas), it was completely out of context. Now only were they alienating Steve and Bari Weiss (a student at Columbia), they were also making a mochery of why we were all there.

2 - They were there to listen to the students, but they didn't do that at all. All the people who attended could do was offer their stories. Except for a moving speech by a Holocaut survivor, which was totally appropriate considering Hunter's situation, most of it was crap. Everyone was a Columbia graduate, and no one really cared about the students. The only people who were talking about the issue at hand were Anthony Weiner (congresman from Brooklyn), the 8 students present, Michele, and Rachel Fisher. It was a disgrace that the AJC invited us there and talked about their own accomplishments and opinions.

I just want to end it with this, my message. I know this is completely obvious to all of you, but I didn't realize the importance until afterwards. I made a small, 1 minute speech about educating children. I basically said, in as few words as possible, that every child they know needs to go to Israel to learn the truth. If you haven't been to Israel, you can't say anything, because you don't know. I also pressed everyone to send all their young relatives to Israel, and encourage them to get involved in Zionist youth movements. It hit me when a woman came up to me afterwards and said "You know, I can tell by the way you speak, that you really love Israel, and that makes me happy."

Edit: In reponse to Dina, I know these guys are powerful, which is why I didn't say anything. I do know when to keep my mouth shut as well, and I did.

1 Shpeils


Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

"the conference on anti-Semitism turned into a right-wing abuse of the left-wing Jews."

Um, so that I disagree with. I think that while the discussion got off topic, no one started speaking about Palestinians (???) and that you have to realize that the audience mainly consisted of Columbia alumni because they were the people interested in coming!

Furthermore, while I agree that it was ridiculous that that guy was putting Steve's ideas down, I didn't think the exchange should have happened in the first place. You, Steve, and I are a bunch of 19 and 20 year old college students. If there's something my parents taught me well, it's that to be successful you should both surround yourself by successful people and take advice from successful people. Trust me that if he wasn't a successful man (and I can't remember his name because my sheet's upstairs), he wouldn't have been there! And FURTHERMORE sometimes, even when you're convinced that you're right, you have to know your place. You don't always have to make your point if it won't help you to reach your goal. The other guy--the chairman from CUNY--offered to help us. Whether you liked his views or not--it can only benefit you to make him your friend!
Of course, in a critical view: it was apparent from the way the two moderators on the panel reacted/treated the left-wing views expressed by Steve and the other student and Michele that they are out of touch with what the real pulse on campuses is. Maybe that's their problem.

And my favorite commentor, in addition to the Holocaust lady (who was really sweet to me before the event started, too), was the Randy in 20 years guy. Go him!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 10:53:00 PM  

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