Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the official capital of the nation of Israel. Conflict has since erupted throughout the world, as those with differing religions and political opinions from those shared by the President and Israelites are protesting President Trump’s decision with obscene language and groundless violence. Why is this? Well, it all stems from a, sadly, global sense of anti-Semitism that has been embraced by peoples and cultures since the beginning of recorded history.
Anti-Semitism might not seem like an everyday issue here in the U.S., but to the surprise of many, such discrimination and outright hatred has been a prevalent concern throughout the world for thousands of years. In the Middle East and around the world, people are being discriminated against for their religions and people groups who identify with Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism and a myriad of others.
Such actions of intolerance are neither new or rare occurrences for many people. In fact, anti-Semitism goes back to the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the men from whom the Jewish people are descended. From these times on, the afflictions of the Jewish people have been overwhelming. From the Biblically recorded event of the Jews’ four-hundred-year bondage in Egypt (around 2400 BC) to the Holocaust’s Kristallnacht, the Jewish people have faced war, famine and unimaginable loss. Yet, when the nations of the world have died off or been brought under new management, so to speak, the Jewish people have carried on, standing tall in the knowledge that God is on their side.
Now, there has been much controversy regarding the people of Israel and President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the heart of Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy there. Could this cause a decline in the anti-Semitism the world has grown so accustomed and desensitized to? There’s only one way to find out, and it involves examining how the President’s actions will affect a specific establishment here in the U.S., a place where the beginnings of both today’s victims and tomorrow’s anti-Semitists are: the college campus.
What if the opinion of the President affected the opinion of the people, and, most of all, the students of the United States? Despite the fact that some people—including non-Americans—have revealed negative feelings toward our President and his decision, students should be encouraged by the fact that the his decision has not been compromised in any way by the “peer pressure” he is receiving from the leaders and peoples of other nations as well as his own. The same can be applied to students and individuals of all ages. When everyone seems to be bullying and picking on one individual, or, country, in this case, it is important to stand up for them and make a motion that will display your support for them, even when the rest of the world, quite literally, seems to be in opposition.
President Trump’s decision absolutely has the potential to positively contribute further to peace talks in the Middle East and signal for a decline in displayed anti-Semitism on school campuses. However, such a movement might be significantly delayed if others are unwilling to accept the true positivity in the President’s announcement. It seems that, since the announcement, the number of people “cheering” against him has increased, as we’ve seen the rise of Palestinian protests and a general lack of cooperation from non-Israelis in the Middle East and around the world. To address the elephant in the room, this piece is now going to take a little bit of a blunt turn: a likely reason for the disagreement of this issue on the parts of the Palestinians and neighboring Middle Eastern countries very likely stems from the constant animosity towards the Jewish people due to the disparity between the religious and cultural beliefs of the Jews and non-Jews.
Now, back to what was mentioned earlier: the history of hostility towards the Jews. Over the years, the Jews have had many, many enemies; they have not always seen others as enemies, but others have certainly seen them as such, unfortunately. But, there have always been lessons that people can learn from the disputes that have occurred in the past between the Jewish people and other peoples all throughout the earth. In the words of George Santayana, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Though, it seems that the world just keeps on repeating this history; one can only hope that it will make itself apparent to this generation of college students and other young people, and, eventually, lead to at least a partial resolution of the discord that has caused so much destruction all around the world.
The world is filled with hatred, anger and revenge, but the President’s move to recognize the historically relevant site that has been viewed as not only the heart of a nation but the heart of a people for thousands of years was not a mistake. When a leader takes the first step and chooses to go forward with an operation that might add to the number of individuals who already dislike them, their bravery and wisdom have the potential to reverberate throughout the campuses of a nation and the countries of the world. Donald Trump, the successful businessman, family-man and leader of the most powerful country in the world, has taught a lesson to the students of this nation, future presidents and the rest of the world. This lesson reads in big, bold letters, “Don’t mess with Israel.”