BY NATAN SHARANSKY – OCTOBER 31, 2023
“Even the presidents of leading universities—unlike the president of the United States—have refused to denounce Hamas’s evil, speaking instead about violence on both sides. Those who protest microaggressions are unable or unwilling to differentiate between the most awful forms of pogrom and the legitimate self-defense of the attacked.
As a result, if 20 years ago to be openly and proudly pro-Israel was bad for students’ careers, today it is a threat to their physical safety. The number of antisemitic events, including physical assaults, has skyrocketed since Oct. 7, and campuses are now flooded with the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” For those unfamiliar with geography, this means that there is no place for a Jewish state on the world map.
Israel is currently fighting a war for its survival. We realize that Hamas crossed a red line on Oct. 7 and that for the state to continue to exist, we have to win. In fact, we know that we are fighting not only for ourselves but for the future of the free world, to preserve the values of democracy and freedom in the face of an organization that would destroy them completely.
In a different way, the United States is also fighting a war for its survival. American universities crossed a red line in the aftermath of Oct. 7. The struggle for campuses is therefore a struggle for America and its values—for an America that is liberal, that supports free speech and human rights, and that protects all of its citizens, regardless of race or creed, from vicious, lawless assault.
In 2015, following the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and on Jewish targets in Paris, I asked the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut whether he thought there was a future for Jews in Europe. He responded that he could not answer my question directly, since he was not part of the organized Jewish community, but that he worried there may not be a future for Europe in Europe—that is, for a Europe that cherishes liberal values and is willing to defend them in the face of barbaric assault.
If there is to be a future for America in America, it is time to step up in defense of its core values, and in this American Jews can play an important role. Let us start with a March of One Million: students, parents, Jewish organizations, and allies coming together in support of academic freedom and against a primitive ideology that silences truth and justifies murderous rampages as a form of liberation.
We have done this before: In 1987, hundreds of thousands of Jews marched to Washington, D.C., to support their brethren in the Soviet Union, chanting the slogan “Let my people go.” In 2002, thousands rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol in opposition to terrorism and support for the Jewish state.
Only this time we will be fighting not only for our own people, but for America as well—for the values it represents and for its continued role as a beacon of light around the world.”