Goucher, every day you are asked to make decisions; about dining halls, about classes, and about opinions. A hot topic is the conflict between Israel and Palestine. In the last edition of The Q, there was an article that gave the readers an ultimatum, “stand behind an apartheid state… or stand in solidarity with a group of people struggling for dignity?” The question was also asked as to why people fear the creation and the members of the group Students for Justice in Palestine. To that I answer: I do not fear you, nor do I reject your existence on this campus. I feel that SJP has as much a right to exist on this campus as Hillel does. However, I do not and will not stand with SJP in certain actions of theirs. I will never support the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. Remove my identity as an Israeli, remove my identity as a Jew, and what is left is an American who spends every day of his life struggling with a debilitating auto-immune disease known as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Israel is one of the world leaders in many fields of medical research, including creating medicines and attempting to find a cure for MS. Asking me to support BDS is asking me to put my health on the line when I do not need to.
My story will end here. The point of this article is to show that the most vocal side should not dictate how you (the Goucher community) make your decisions, or even if you make a decision at all. I implore all of you to educate yourselves, and not to just listen to the loudest voice (regardless of what that voice is saying) and accept it as true. Goucher, please don’t listen and accept. We are on a campus where it is very easy to be educated about an issue that you may not know a lot about, but recognize your sources. If you are asking a fellow student (myself included) or a faculty member, there is going to be a bias behind their words. Books and articles will also carry strong biases. You must learn multiple sides if you want to make your best decision.
Choose to be a part of SJP, or choose to stand against them. Choose to stand with Israel or choose to stand against it. Don’t choose any side, stay in the middle. None of those choices are wrong. The only wrong choice is the uneducated one. Don’t only listen to SJP, and don’t only listen to Hillel. Learn on your own. No single group can give you all the information you need. Only you have the power to educate yourself. Only you have the power to make a decision. Nobody can do that for you, and it is your responsibility to not let them try.