Unpack With YUPAC: From the Board: Why YUPAC?
As global antisemitism rises, it seems that only in Israel can Jews feel safe and at home. The record-breaking number of reports of antisemitic incidents, many of them occurring in the hearts of Jewish communities where we once felt safe, is enough to make anyone feel uneasy. The question is what we ought to do about it: What are concrete steps that we can take to be better educated on the issues facing American and Israeli Jewry and to have a real impact on it?
The first thing that we must do is to understand the scope of the issue. Jewish students in secular colleges have reported facing verbal harassment from fellow students, hostility from professors and encountering significant amounts of anti-Israel rhetoric on their campuses. For example, over 90 institutions hosted a so called “Israeli Apartheid Week” in 2022, in which the Jewish state’s actions are compared to those of apartheid South Africa, a comparison which is obviously absurd. The attacks on Jews and Israel are real and prominent.
However, the safety of the Jewish and Zionist values ofthe administration and student body of Yeshiva University's “bubble” can lead YU students to forget about the hatred Jews and Israel face on an everyday basis across the country and the world. It’s easy, in YU, to become tepid and unenthusiastic about our support for Israel, since it can seem like it and its promise of a Jewish homeland are here to stay and are very broadly accepted.
The unfortunate truth is that to keep Israel, we must be able and willing to fight for it every day. We must constantly remind ourselves and the people around us why Israel is necessary for Jewish survival, and fight against the negative Jewish influence. The survival of the Jewish state is reliant on both our resilience and support as Jewish people and the political aid of other world powers, mainly the United States.
This is why we think that YUPAC, The Yeshiva University Political Action Club, is so important to have at YU, in the very place where some people might think that a club supporting Israel would be the least necessary. YUPAC provides students on campus an opportunity to learn about the sometimes confusing political ties between the US and Israel, and educates students on how to actively combat antisemitism through creating ties with political figures and learning about the intricacies of governmental affairs between Israel and other prominent countries by hearing from speakers and lobbying Congress directly.
Despite the daily grind of classes and schoolwork, it is necessary for YU students, although they are currently immersed in a pro-Israel environment, to have exposure to prominent thought leaders, politicians and news about Israel, American Jewry, and the relationship between the two countries.
Similarly, be it through YUPAC’s daily “News for the Jews” WhatsApp group or Unpack with YUPAC articles like this one, becoming educated on these issues, even if only a little, is critical to our community continuing to actively support Israel and fight antisemitism. If we in YU don’t take this important mission upon ourselves, who will?
We hope you’ll join us in this critical endeavor.
For more articles like this, join us on WhatsApp.
Photo Caption: The Yeshiva University Political Action Club Logo
Photo Credit: YUPAC