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The voice of De Anza since 1967.

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The voice of De Anza since 1967.

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Are you willing to have dialogue with a Zionist?

An American Israeli student’s experience in college
An+AI+generated+image+from+Dalle+3+Chat+GPT+depicting+a+student+being+ignored+for+their+opinion.+
Amit Cohen
An AI generated image from Dalle 3 Chat GPT depicting a student being ignored for their opinion.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views held by the individual editors, the editorial board as an entity or La Voz as a whole. The article below remains very lightly edited so as to not censor Cohen’s views.

I hear it everywhere. I see it every day. I can’t escape it. The noise, the slogans, the calls.

The glorification of those who murdered innocents in their sleep. The ones that kidnap, torture and rape innocent people.

I ask myself — what can I do? Where can I go? Who can I talk to? I have asked myself these questions every day since Oct. 7.

How can I feel safe at my own school when they allow the social justice organization at De Anza, the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action, to bring Joel Beinin — a founder of an organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, that tokenizes the Jewish community, then endorses the actions of a member of the Nazi Regime — the regime that murdered all of my grandmother’s family?

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I don’t know what to say. I don’t know where to go.

How can I feel protected when people misconstrue my story and dehumanize me? When everyone allows and accepts the most barbaric actions a human can take? The lowest of lows being championed by those that say they care about social justice.

How can I look at someone when they have championed and empowered “Me Too” and “believe survivors” but when members of Hamas weaponize sexual violence and rape against Israeli men, women and children, they deny their testimony, scorn the evidence and side with the rapists?

How can I respect someone who screams and champions feminism, then denies what happened on Oct. 7 and receives applause from respected members of the institutions I trust?

People are fine with putting up missing posters when their pets go missing, but when it’s my people, others quickly take the posters down. You deface it, you vandalize and claim that it’s for the benefit of society.

I plead to you as a Jewish American and Israeli student; how can I express myself when the organizations at De Anza that are supposed to be inclusive and champion human rights wear the emblem of those that killed my friends?

I ask you, how can I feel safe when you twist my story, the story of my family’s history, the one of my people and of my faith?

I ask you, how can I feel safe when calling for the genocide of my people can’t be condemned by the biggest educational institutions in the U.S., when many schools have done nothing to show that Jews are welcomed, when antisemitism has risen by 388% in the US according to the Anti-Defamation League and 589% in the UK?

I ask you, are you truly supporting a cause you’ve found to be humanitarian or are you bandwagoning onto a cause because it allows you to show your hatred for another group of people?

I feel trapped. Stuck in this box trying to hide in the storm of chaos.

I remember the stories of my ancestors, my people, my family. What they went through, the pogroms, the massacres, the genocides and the wars that they didn’t want, but were brought upon them. I remember how they all started: propaganda.

That’s why I’m writing this, that’s why I’m speaking out, voicing my opinion, like Shai Davidiai, Ron Hassner, Tessa Veksler, Kevin Feigelis, Talia Khan and so many others that have put themselves in the limelight of this situation.

Something needs to be done, whether by the students, the faculty, the administration or the parents. There has to be a solution where everyone on campus feels safe and there is a way to engage in a dialogue because that’s how a society progresses.

You have read my complaints, you have heard my cries and you will continue to.

So I ask you, what will you do? Are you willing to hear my story?

Are you willing to have a dialogue with a Zionist?

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About the Contributor
Amit Cohen
Amit Cohen, Freelance Reporter

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