A new initiative from the Zachor Legal Institute is partnering with existing pro-Israel groups to help protect Jewish students on campus. The initiative, dubbed Zionists On Campus, is headed by Lizzy McNeill, who told the Journal in a phone interview that the initiative is talking to students to get an idea as to what they’re dealing with on campuses. It then aims “to provide resources to help them combat anti-Semitism, BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] and aggressive anti-Israel activity on their college campus.”
As an example, she pointed to the San Francisco State University Zoom webinar featuring Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member Leila Khaled that Zoom canceled in spite of the university claiming the event was allowed under academic freedom.
“These are the types of things that we are seeing a rise in on college campuses,” McNeill said, “and they are being claimed as freedom of speech, and we think the administrations are in a way enabling intimidation and harassment toward Israel-supporting Jewish students.”
“We think the administrations are in a way enabling intimidation and harassment toward Israel-supporting Jewish students.”
Zionists On Campus also provides educational material as a way to combat anti-Israel forces on campus. For instance, when Israel Apartheid Week is held on a college campus, Zionists On Campus has a timeline on their website that features a timeline of Palestinian violence against Israelis, showing the effectiveness of the security barrier in the West Bank.
“In the future we would like to have events with students that would be a counter to these types of Israel Apartheid Weeks,” McNeill said. “We are looking to be a little bit more aggressive than the average Jewish club on campus, and that’s because we think that there is an extreme rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses.”
Marc Greendorfer, founder of the Zachor Legal Institute, told the Journal that they’re also looking into ways to take action against professors who create a hostile environment in the classroom through their support of BDS and anti-Zionism. “The only way to know for sure is to have students on campus who can report to us and tell us what’s going on to see if it’s actionable.”
He added that the initiative isn’t meant to create competition with other pro-Israel groups; it will work with them to “address those extreme circumstances where students are really left with no recourse and they need somebody to step in and tell them their legal rights and to provide them with the information they need to combat the disinformation.”