Students are making support for Israel their mission

Armstrong Williams | 4/6/2017, midnight
In recent days, I watched as throngs of supporters of Israel unloaded from buses and blanketed Capitol Hill to meet ...
Armstrong Williams

In recent days, I watched as throngs of supporters of Israel unloaded from buses and blanketed Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress with a singular goal in mind: to strengthen America’s relations with our beloved ally, Israel.

Of course, this effort is nothing new. Strongly supporting Israel is one of the only remaining bipartisan issues left in a country that is deeply divided in so many ways.

For me, the most inspiring sight was the thousands of college and high-school students who were beginning their involvement in the political process, exercising their democratic rights to engage with their elected representatives. Their excitement was palpable, and it reminded me of the impact that every individual, including our young people, are able to make in our incredible democracy.

At its annual gathering this week, the AIPAC Policy Conference, there were tens of thousands of attendees, including 4,000 students.

It is heartening that so many young people would choose to take time out from their studies to advocate for strong U.S.-Israel relations. But it’s even more striking in what it hopefully means for the future of these relations: The next generation is growing increasingly engaged, and they are ready to fight for what is right, which is standing with Israel.

Despite all our differences and policy disagreements on how best to achieve a bright future for America, support for Israel still remains a largely consensus issue in this country, bringing together liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. It makes sense. After all, Israel is a beacon of American values in an oppressive region locked in a Dark Ages mentality. The very things that make America great also make Israel great.

I also observed this week that at the very same time so many Americans were coming together to celebrate our ties with an important ally in a crucial region, there were angry and misguided people protesting and challenging the very right of Israel to exist. It was a stark reminder: Israel’s enemies are there, and they are trying to make some noise. And young students are increasingly on the front lines of the battle to stand with Israel.

Those who would like to see Israel disappear from the map are constantly coming up with new, cynical methods to delegitimize and demonize the only Jewish state. Today, the conflict is being fought through the spreading of misinformation and the drowning out of dissenting voices. And at the epicenter of this brawl is the college campus.

College campuses these days are often contentious places. If you dare to vocalize your support for the only democratic nation in the Middle East, you are likely to be accused of being a racist, of trampling human rights, of supporting an “apartheid” regime. You are likely to be told that your views are not valid. Those who loathe Israel refuse to see what is so plainly obvious: Israel remains a land of hope, innovation and rule of law that champions human rights—the very things we as Americans hold dearest.