Mon, Jul

Deprogramming Useful Idiots


OP/ED - Let’s be clear about a few things.

Antisemitism should have no place in America — not on college campuses or anywhere else. 

In every generation, students have been the conscience of the world because they are free from intimidation or concerns for repercussions. 

I am troubled by the divisions in our community, as we find ourselves faced with challenges and conflicts that are painful, difficult to manage, and nearly impossible to communicate about when emotions are high. Despite my disappointment in the behavior of some, I am heartened by those who are working to bring us together, and the strength of the ties that bind us as a community. 

You want to do the right thing. I get it. You want to stop the killing of innocents in the Gaza Strip. And that is laudable. But you are doing more harm than good. You are endorsing the violence that Hamas seeks to perpetrate, even if you think you are protesting peacefully. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you are actually their pawn. Some refer to you as their “useful idiots”. 

Hamas doesn’t care about the innocent people being killed. In fact, it is largely responsible for their deaths with their deliberate placing of their military assets in the midst of civilian areas. While you may care about the innocent Palestinians, Hamas does not. In fact, part of its strategy is to see civilians killed so that you will target your resulting anger at Israel. Your support for Hamas’ tactics is making the situation worse for the innocent people of Gaza as well as the worldwide Jewish community.

Hamas wants to eradicate Israel and wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Through your protests, you are unwittingly supporting their horrific mission.

You may think Israel’s aim is to commit genocide, but you have it backwards. It is Hamas who seeks to commit genocide. Whether you are yelling “From the River to the Sea,” sitting in an encampment or asking for divestment and sanctions against Israel, you are supporting Hamas’ mission.

Your act of protesting, whether you are pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel but against the war–whatever your reason– is harmful.

Even if you are a Jew who is advocating for a ceasefire, you are not helping. You are contributing to antisemitism because you are inflaming a prejudice that for years has been lying dormant beneath the surface.

The hate you are expressing is making Jews around the world afraid for their lives, including your fellow Jewish college students (some of whom have to take classes from home now).

For many of us, memories of the Holocaust are now uppermost in our minds – memories of our ancestors’ murder because of antisemitism. We are afraid that the mass killing of Jews will happen again. Hamas would revel in this, just as they did in the murders, rapes and beheadings they committed in their October 7th rampage in Israel. 

Jew-hatred is spreading like wildfire. We need to stop this epidemic. Many have asked how so many Germans just stood idly by while their Jewish neighbors and friends were sent to concentration camps and murdered in gas chambers or during mass shootings. Well, you now are not just standing idly by, but are actually pawns in the effort by radical Islamic terrorists to eventually accomplish their clearly stated goal of destroying Israel, killing all Jews, and then flipping all of western civilization to come under Islamic control. What side of history do you want to be on? I beg you to stand down.

If you really want to protest against something, protest against Hamas. Demand that these terrorists return the hostages. That would be a worthy cause to get behind–and one that could alter the course of events in the Middle East. We must continue to hope for peace. That has to be our one true aim.

Extremists target you because you are the most easily influenced, and they have access to you. They are frequently not fellow students. Be aware of who is talking to you. Be alert to whether the facts are accurate or not. Think carefully before you pick up a sign and start chanting words that may incite violence and ill will.  No college student should ever feel unsafe on campus

Whatever happens next, remember that there will always be the next right thing to do. There is always a way to move toward the horizon of our values. “Where life is precious, life is precious.” So, find your internal truth and turn against entities like Hamas that clearly and proudly express their desire to kill all Jews, and spend a moment to comprehend that Israel’s ethos is a desire to be a peaceful neighbor, all the while not ignoring the reality that she lives in the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. 

(Mihran Kalaydjian has over twenty years of public affairs, government relations, legislative affairs, public policy, community relations and strategic communications experience. He is a leading member of the community and a devoted civic engagement activist for education spearheading numerous academic initiatives in local political forums.)