Rabbi Uri Pilichowski reports on his first day as Director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI’s IF NOT US program – whose goal is to teach the truth about Israel.
College campuses have become the new battleground for anti-Israel sentiment. Anti-Israel activists demonize Israel with slanderous charges that Israel mistreats Palestinians. They challenge Israel advocates by claiming that they don’t know what’s really happening on the ground in the “West Bank.” Their campaigns argue that American Jews were never told about how Israel really treats the Palestinians. If only they knew about the oppressive way Israel treated the Palestinians, they would abandon their support for Israel. These are lies that must be addressed.
Israel’s best advocates have studied the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and have strong emotional ties to Israel, but they haven’t seen the truth. They haven’t driven through Judea and Samaria and seen fair and secure checkpoints. They can’t say that they’ve seen firsthand that there is no oppression of Palestinians. They become easy targets of those who fabricate stories of Israeli apartheid.
With its program, IF NOT US, AFSI addresses facts on the ground in Judea and Samaria. By taking the most engaged Gap Year students in Israel and showing them the truth, IF NOT US will ensure that when these students arrive on the college campus they can speak with confidence that they have been there and seen the truth. They can answer Israel’s opponents with the truth that Palestinian Arabs are treated fairly and that Israel is a moral country.
IF NOT US takes students on a one day tour of Judea and Samaria. On this trip IF NOT US shows the truth about Judea and Samaria IF NOT US is committed to giving our best advocates not only the facts, the passion, but also the firsthand knowledge to defend themselves against those who knowingly lie about what occurs in Judea and Samaria.