The overwhelming majority of college-age Jews say they are pro-Israel, but are afraid to tell their parents because they don’t want to be pressured to attend Hillel events and go on trips to Israel sponsored by campus Jewish organizations.
“Look, Israel is a great country, but I planned to chill this semester and the last thing I need is to stand at a table at the student center and hand out iPhone cases printed with the Israeli flag,” said Scott L., a Penn State student contacted for the survey. “I tell my dad I’m with Students for Justice in Palestine just so he stops nudging me to go the campus AIPAC meetings.”
The survey, conducted by Musk Mellman for the campus group HandStandsforIsrael, found that many students hide their yarmulkes and other visible signs of Jewishness not because of anti-Semitism, but out of fear that any of a dozen pro-Israel groups on campus will ask them to volunteer at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut rally.
“I’m trying to graduate on time, and my mom wants me to take a leadership seminar with Students in Support of Israel. Of course I lie and tell her I am an anti-Zionist!” said Sarah H. The Wesleyan junior also said she really wants to spend spring break with her Jewish sorority in Cartagena, Colombia, while her parents are insisting she go to Israel for the seventh time.
In response to the survey, a shadowy group known as the Ostrich Mission has begun posting the names of college students who are secretly Zionist.