I am sorry I did not get to attend Matti Friedman’s talk at Temple Ner Tamid on June 10 (“Writer catalogues flaws in Israel reporting,” June 18). As reported by Elaine Durbach, Mr. Friedman vividly outlined the prejudice, however subconscious, that the media holds against Israel. The statistic comparing violence in Jerusalem vs. Indianapolis (23 deaths vs. 135) shows how slanted the coverage of Israel really is.
I would take exception, however, to the proffered advice to college students, which suggests they ask their fellow students to regard Israel as “just another screwed-up country.” Let’s not trivialize the sophistication as well as the danger of the anti-Israel campaigns. The only way our young adults on campus are going to be able to counter the irrational, continuous defamation of Israel is not by downplaying Israel’s flawed democracy but by making a cogent and spectacular argument against the vicious hostility of its Arab neighbors.
Here is what we ought to be providing for college students. We should import the remnants of a bombed bus; there are many to choose from: #5, #37, #142, #960 are just a few, each graphically showing the very real danger that Israelis have had to live with. Every reference to the death of Rachel Corrie should be met with tall posters of all the Israeli Rachels who have been killed in terrorist attacks. Large posterboards should be erected showing the dramatic decrease in the number of Christians left in Bethlehem since the 2000 Second Intifada. Condemnations of the Israeli military should be compared against the vicious Syrian government attacks on its own people: 220,000 dead, including 36,000 children. A list of beheadings perpetrated by Islamic extremists on Christians — the numbers are in the many hundreds — should be distributed everywhere calls for BDS are made.
The pro-Israel community must be much more assertive in pointing out the rabid savagery of Islamic extremists and the duplicity of their defenders. Our college students cannot refute bigotry with logic; that is a feeble and ineffectual response against the venomous guerrilla tactics of the anti-Israel movement.