WATCH: SSI Debates Anti-Israel Students on West Coast College Campuses

February 22, 2019
Screenshot from YouTube.

Students Supporting Israel (SSI) released a video on Feb. 17 documenting various man-on-the-street style debates with students on West Coast college campuses.

SSI President Ilan Sinelnikov, Director and Strategic Partnerships Elan Chargo and founder of SSI Columbia Rudy Rochman went to UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, San Francisco State University, University of Washington, University of Oregon and Portland State University as part of their 2018 West Coast Van Campaign to seek a dialogue with students on Israel and Zionism.

One part of the video shows a student telling Rochman that the Israeli flag is offensive because it suggests “that you are pro-Israeli government.”

“No, you’re pro-Israeli people,” Rochman replied. “It’s an actual people.”

The student replied that others may see it differently, prompting Rochman to say, “It’s the wrong way to take it. The same way I would say to an Israeli that it’s wrong for you to see a Palestinian flag or to meet someone who’s a Palestinian and directly assume that they’re bad.”

Another student thought Zionism meant “endorsing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine”; when Rochman explained that Zionism means that “the Jewish people have a right to exist,” the student said, “You’re gonna feel for those people [Palestinians] because they have less. They’re dying more, at least what it seems to look like from everything that the media shows.”

“There’s no future without Palestinians, and there’s no future about Israelis,” Rochman said.

On one campus, a man started yelling at Rochman for supporting “genocide” for wearing a T-shirt that had the word “Israel” on it. When Rochman asked the man if Palestinians have ever murdered Jews, the man denied it.

“They kill colonizers, that’s who they kill!” the man said.

At another campus, a student asks Rochman why SSI is featuring a sign associating Palestinians with “terrorist salaries.”

“The Palestinian Authority is actually paying people who are going and killing Jews,” Rochman replied. “We need to be able to condemn that.”

The student argued that “the Israel Authority is doing that, too,” prompting Rochman to say, “They’re not paying anybody to kill. If an Israeli citizens goes and kills a Palestinian, they are jailed and they are condemned by the entire society.”

Other students admitted that they didn’t know much about Israel or Zionism and that groups like SSI are needed to educate the student populace about it.

“There is an ideological warfare on Israel on campus,” Sinelnikov said at the end of the video. “The bias, the misinformation and the lies are outrageous. And for that reason, Students Supporting Israel engaged. We want you not just to support Israel from your home, but we want you to take your pride and support to Israel to campus.”

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