New film explores how Jewish students are marginalized

What does it mean to feel “unsafe” or “safe” as a Jewish student on a university campus? That’s the question that our latest short film, “Unsafe Spaces” explores, and you can now watch it on YouTube.

Through personal testimonies and interviews with influencers including Blake Flayton, Peter Fox, Julia Jassey, and our very own Yirmiyahu Danzig, “Unsafe Spaces” explores the challenges of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses today.

One theme these influencers explore is how Jewish students often find they need to renounce their Zionism or Jewish identity to be accepted in progressive spaces.

“I shouldn’t have to minimize my Jewishness for the LGBTQ+ community to accept me,” Matthew Nouriel explained.

“[When people see] things posted on their peers’ Instagram stories about the Jewish state being this evil, horrible place, it turns them off from wanting to say that they’re Jewish,” Josh Moussa shared.

At Unpacked, we often say that we’re in “the business of solutions,” and focus on how we can respond to any situation. That being said, the first step toward solving any problem is understanding it. We created this film to articulate and explore the problem with the goal that it will help start more conversations about these challenges.

So, how can we all respond to antisemitism and anti-Zionism? Here are three things we can all do:

  1. Be a “4:14 Jew” — This refers to Esther 4:14, Mordechai’s famous words to Esther, “Who knows?! Perhaps you became Queen just for this moment!” We can all follow in the footsteps of Esther by speaking out and taking action, even if we are uncertain of the outcomes. In this context, we can all speak out and take a stand against antisemitism whenever we see it.
  2. Education, education, education. At Unpacked, we believe that education is the best tool we have to fight against antisemitism, especially when it stems from ignorance. Did you know that half of Americans don’t even know what the word antisemitism means? UCLA Professor Dov Waxman points out that “Countering antisemitism…requires educating people about antisemitism.”
  3. Words matter — use your words to create change. As we recently wrote about the inciteful rhetoric against Israeli politicians, words can spread love and unity or they can sow division and hatred. Let’s use the power of our words for good and educate ourselves about antisemitism, and then help educate others. Don’t know where to start? In addition to “Unsafe Spaces,” check out our Antisemitism, Explained video series, plus these videos on the origins of antisemitic stereotypes and the conspiracy of the origin of Ashkenazi Jews.
You can find this video on our YouTube channel Unpacked.
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