Last night, Columbia University Hillel honored New York lawyer and former Bush administration official (and Columbia grad) Jay Lefkowitz.
In his timely and eloquent remarks, Lefkowitz remarked on his own efforts as a student, and that of many others of his generation, as part of the Student Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry. He continued:
Today, there is another great project awaiting the American Jewish community, and Jewish college students. And it is a project even more serious than the struggle to save Soviet Jews. It is nothing less than the struggle to protect and save the State of Israel.
We in America can only do so much about the physical safety of the State of Israel. But we can and must be the front line in the defense against the de-legitimization of Israel and Zionism....
For today's Jewish students on campuses here and elsewhere, the mission must be defending the legitimacy of the State of IsraeL....
But let us not be so naive as to fail to recognize that much of the vehement anti-Israel sentiment we hear today on college campuses, especially the lies about Israel being an Apartheid state, or the diatribes equating Israeli leaders with Nazis, is simply anti-Semitism. There is no other word for it.
Reverend Martin Luther King made this point far more eloquently than I ever could in a letter he wrote to a friend shortly after the Six Day War: "You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews."