Christians United for Israel (CUFI) on Campus national campus director Jessica Marzucco and Trinity Western University CUFI on Campus activist Michael Loughrin talked about this harassment and more at the CUFI conference in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve had students who’ve had rocks thrown at them,” Marzucco told TheDCNF. “They have been spit on. We’ve had our students … who have been afraid to walk back to their dorm after the divestment hearing because of the hatred and anger in the room.”
The national campus director referred to the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement on campus, which seeks to deprive Israel of funding by petitioning university administrators to sever their ties to businesses that aid Israel. She called Students for Justice in Palestine’s campus presence “the most intimidating factor” on campus, but also addressed the role played by professors and administrators.
“The most influential [factor] is the administration,” Marzucco said. “It is those professors on tenure who are not going anywhere, who are in the classroom intimidating students who want to speak out in support of Israel and shaming them into silence and, in some cases, their grades are at stake just for disagreeing with what the professor says.”
Marzucco and Loughrin condemned what they termed the “propaganda” of the BDS campaign and addressed the economic impacts of the BDS movement.
BDS “has a massive negative effect on Palestine and especially the West Bank where there is industry and there are jobs at stake,” Loughrin said. “If people really want to do BDS, they better get rid of their iPhones, they better get rid of their GPS system … and there’s all kinds of other innovations that are taking place with water and energy development.”
Loughrin said that BDS could also be rebutted by either using the letters to stand for “Build, Develop, and Support” or by simply removing the “D” to get “BS.”
The national campus director pointed to the role that outrage culture plays in the Israel-Palestine conflict. (RELATED: Pro-Palestinian Students Disrupt Vote To Pull Out Of Companies Supporting Israel [VIDEO])
“I believe that with our generation, the millennial generation, anger and outrage is seen and displayed as the side of truth,” Marzucco said. “If you are this angry that you are tearing things down, of course you must be right. I believe even that is a form of propaganda and manipulation. … The level of outrage has nothing to do with who is right.”
Marzucco claimed the passage of anti-divestment legislation at Hawaii Pacific University, “the most diverse university in the United States,” as one of the group’s most notable accomplishments during the 2017-2018 school year. However, HPU spokeswoman Lianne Yamamura said that no CUFI on Campus chapter existed as a registered student organization at the school and that no anti-divestment legislation was passed when speaking with TheDCNF. The CUFI on Campus website posts a testimonial from an HPU student identified as “Nathanael.”
The national campus director reported that CUFI on Campus had more than 600 student activists at more than 300 campuses across the U.S. and Canada.
“Israel is a leader for human rights in the region,” Loughrin noted. “If you want to look at, let’s say, women’s rights, for example, look to Israel because they’re the only one in the entire region that has a level of rights and protection and equality given to women in the society.”
The Trinity Western student said Israel has aided as many as 4,000 Syrian refugees with food, clothing and transport to hospitals. He also said Israel is the safest place for Christians in the Middle East.
“Because history is on our side and facts are on our side and hope is on our side, our best tactic is just education,” Marzucco said, referring to pro-Israel campus activism. “The other side: they have their buzzwords, they have their emotional hot topic buttons and we tell our students: the facts are on our side. We just have to educate.”
“Everyone wants to support the victim. That is admirable,” the director said. “What a lot of people don’t understand is, in this situation, Israel is the David. Israel is not the Goliath.”
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