Pro-Palestinian protesters on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington
Pro-Palestinian protesters on the University of Vermont campus in BurlingtonAndrew Lapin/Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Back in 2002 there was a meeting at NYU’s Bronfman center with the late Edgar Bronfman in attendance. The topic of the conversation was about how to combat the growing power of the anti-Israel forces on campus. NYU’s Torch Pac (the Pro Israel group on campus) had done a great job and we were invited to speak to Hillel International at The Bronfman center to share our experiences. We were very successful putting on rallies, letter writing campaigns, tabling, petitioning student government, throwing parties (this is where I met my wife) and cultural events.

We were setting the agenda and the pro-Palestinian forces were caught reacting to us. This was not the case on the vast majority of college campuses. The pro-Israel forces were generally on the defensive. At the time this issue was alarming, but it was a trend that was seemly contained within the campuses.

In the last 20 plus years, however, the USA has become the campus. The pro-Hamas forces have turned the campus into the whole country. They’ve graduated activist after activist, year after year, those who have been going into the world and continue being activists all over, wherever they live and wherever they can.

The country has become the battleground. Attacking the campus situation will not solve the greater situation. Imagine the idea that you’re trying to play a game of containment but the “players” have overrun the containment area - i.e. the campus. Without adjusting to the new game and rearranging the containment structure, you are guaranteed to lose the “game”.

In recognizing that the players have adjusted their point of attack, it is incumbent upon us to adjust our point of attack to stay in the game. We must fall back, reevaluate and re-strategize for the new “game“as it is today.

Affecting people on campus is only a drop in the bucket relative to the task at hand. I will agree that the campus is still a major artery from which the enemy grooms and puts out its “product”. I will agree it does require major attention, but it is simply part of a much larger effort. Imagine an army unit that has been overrun, but it continues to fight the enemy from the same positions.

Gary Wexler brilliantly laid out the story he witnessed in his article titled called “The inside Story of How Palestinians Took over the World”. He described how Ameer Makhoul explained their plan to organize in the universities and beyond. As part of their plan they have churned out tens of thousands of radical pro-Palestine activists. To identify campus anti-Semites is to identify a symptom. It is not identifying the problem.

If this article were written 10-15 years ago, then it would have been a correct diagnosis of the problem. The enemy has successfully intertwined itself with identify politics and has spread across the country (and in many ways we aided and abetted them).

To try and heal the symptoms does nothing to solve the problem. In fact it plays into their hand. It is reactive and puts us on our heels. The problem is pervasive and cultural. We must root this out at the source. We must identify the place where people are being influenced and misled.

In 2024 this place is called the internet. This is where the people are. This is where the conversation is being had…This is where people are taking their cue from. Downstream from social media is where culture, education and politics are informed. The sooner we understand that the sooner we can affect the actual problem.

It is not enough to identify the problem, we need solutions. We must reorganize our methods to fit the current landscape in 2024 by community organizing and acting in a coordinated way to affect the conversation on social media. By doing this we will unleash great power for influencing the next generations.

The fight will be fought where the people are.

Daniel Rosen is the former leader of the TorchPAC pro-Israel group at New York University whose activism against campus antisemitism was reported on in the New York Post, the New York Sun, and multiple Jewish newspapers as well as the Village Voice. He worked for the Jewish Agency and now serves as co-CEO of a local family business. Daniel has also been published in JNS.org, Israel national news, Times of Israel blog, frontage magazine, and the Long Island Jewish world. Currently, Daniel is the founder and president of Minds and Hearts, a pro Israel advocacy group. You can contact him at [email protected].