In November, students at Oberlin College in Ohio erected a memorial to a group of men who had recently died. Such memorials, both large and small, are not uncommon as friends and family do things to remember their loved ones. This memorial was very different from that. Erected by the Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine, this display was created “in commemoration of the 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli rocket fire this last week.”
The group that put up the memorial described those killed as “unarmed civilians,” but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified 25 of them as members of various terrorist military organizations. The IDF even posted pictures of nine of the “civilians” from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in their military uniforms, with one of the “unarmed” men holding a military rifle.
The Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine posted their large sign along with 34 black flags in the college’s Wilder Bowl, a popular open area where students often meet. The group has long been a vocal supporter of the BDS—boycott, divestment, and sanctions—movement and is openly against the existence of a free and safe Jewish state.
They are not alone. It would be easy to dismiss this as the work of a radical fringe group. But while they are indeed radical in their hatred of Israel, and their views should place them outside the mainstream of thought, Oberlin Students for a Free Palestine is far from alone. College and university campuses across America are hotbeds of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, and they openly call for the destruction of Israel.
This marked turn away from Israel is not just taking place in the secular world. Recent surveys show a dramatic shift among young evangelicals. While their parents are strongly pro-Israel, the next generation is not. Support for Israel among young evangelicals is at its lowest point since the Jewish state was reborn in 1948. Many Christian colleges and organizations have joined the BDS movement, withdrawing their investments from Israeli companies and calling on others to do the same.
This shift among young people is a terrifying trend. These are the leaders of the future. And this shift highlights the vital importance of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. We are working to counter the lies behind the BDS movement with the truth. We are working to identify and oppose the enemies of Israel. We are preparing to launch the Friends of Zion Institute to create a place for truth in the online world and equip friends of Israel to effectively support and defend the Jewish state and the Jewish people.