Anti-Israel protesters surround meeting of wounded IDF veterans with students on Stockton University campus in New Jersey.
By: A7 Staff
In recent years, university campuses have become a breeding ground for antisemitism. Fueled by the BDS movement and other pro-Palestinian movements, anti-Semitic incidents have increased exponentially.
In a recent survey by Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), 95% of Jewish students and recent alumni described antisemitism as an issue, with three out of four describing it as a “very serious problem.”
As part of the efforts to combat campus antisemitism and misinformation, Belev Echad, in conjunction with Chabad on Campus, organized 2 IDF wounded veterans to visit college campuses across the United States, sharing their stories of courage as well as facts about the State of Israel and the IDF. Belev Echad is a New York-based organization dedicated to helping wounded veterans of the IDF reintegrate into civilian life with the love and support they need to thrive.
Describing the impetus for these tours, Rabbi Uriel Vigler, Director of Belev Echad, shared, “These campus tours are a crucial way to combat the anti-Israel bias so prevalent on college campuses. Or Porat and Ofir Nijar, two wounded IDF veterans, kicked off their cross country tour with a visit to Penn University.”
On their second stop at Stockton University in New Jersey, Or and Ofir were met with protesters waving Palestinian flags and photos of those they say were killed in violence in the region. Campus security ensured the safety of the event, with protesters surrounding the conference room where Or and Ofir met with campus students.
Aron Bognitsky, a Stockton University student, shared his thoughts after hearing from the IDF veterans. “It’s sad to see the conflict. It’s sad, and it’s not simple. We need to have these important conversations.”
When asked to describe his takeaway from the evening talk, he said, “More so than anything else, misinformation is the devil, and ignorance is bliss. My position is to help people be informed and to really understand. I want to figure out where our differences lie. Listening to what these guys have to say tonight makes me realize we need to have these conversations more openly and more often.”
These situations show us how important it is for us to speak,” reflected Or Porat on their experience at Stockton University.
“I think the perspective we gave the students is vital and will leave an indelible impression on them,” added Ofir. “We are giving people the tools to change people’s minds. We are letting people know that Israel only wants peace, and not war.”
For Rabbi Vigler, protesters only underscore the necessity of these campus speaking tours. “Through bringing wounded IDF veterans that share their experiences, students are empowered to offer their perspectives with facts from those on the ground in Israel. As Ofir and Or continue their campus speaking tours, I hope they can share their important message with as many students as possible.”