For many organizations devoted to the elimination of the Jewish state, Israel Apartheid Week (IAW)—which most recently lasted for two weeks in March—is the climactic moment of the year, complete with aggressive propaganda, ugly stunts, and vicious lies. Having interviewed a number of Jewish students on multiple campuses, Carly Pildis comments on the ways this event, and anti-Israel activism more generally, becomes an occasion to harass and to threaten Jews:
Israel Apartheid Week—which now takes place on approximately 37 campuses around the country—is an annual event of protests, rallies, film screenings, lectures, and actions designed to promote the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) of Israel and the idea that Israel is a colonialist apartheid regime. It is increasingly funded by the schools themselves: this year . . . Harvard provided the Palestinian Solidarity Committee with $2,050 to host Israel Apartheid Week. . . .
The Israeli government and its policies are out of the reach of these student activists, but Jewish students and other campus community members are right there—and boy, do they make a convenient target. . . .
Israel Apartheid Week is sponsored intimidation. It isn’t about learning or debating; it’s entirely about attacking. Harassing Jews because of their Jewishness is not a consequence; it’s the goal. Think about it: could you imagine any other school-sanctioned event, in today’s climate, in which a minority is deliberately singled out for harassment? If Jewish students were standing outside [places where] halal meals are served or outside Muslim cultural centers harassing the students within, with their classmates taunting them with chants and slogans, . . . I would advocate the university censure the students.
Yet Hillel houses and other Jewish institutions are routine targets of coordinated harassment and demonstrations. As Pildis notes, “Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that regularly organizes IAW events, is calling for a boycott of Hillel and Chabad of Emory University.” She also details some of her own experiences as a student ten years ago, which, in her words, seem “quaint” compared to what occurs at universities today:
I was [once] screamed at in the dining hall by a fellow student who told everyone around us that I [had] spent my time in Israel killing Palestinian babies. Another student told me he hoped my entire family would be murdered by Palestinian terrorists. I had a classmate show up for a Halloween party dressed as a suicide bomber, and my roommates were puzzled when I threw him out of the party. While attending another party, I mentioned I was heading to Israel to do academic research. Someone around me actually booed.