Tough times are ahead for Israel, and they are likely to be manifest on your campus. It is definitely worth some time spent informing yourself about the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the reasons for continuing support for Israel.
Those of you who have traveled to Israel, especially if you have been on a Birthright trip recently, certainly have the fervor to support the Jewish State. But you will be exposed to some powerful propaganda from the other side, and it may make you doubt the passion of your convictions. Be strong and of good courage in this regard.
First of all, Israel has been more right than wrong in its efforts toward peace. That is not to say there have not been some gross miscalculations, but each step toward peace taken by the Israelis has been taken in good faith. Israel has also attempted to address the internal conflicts necessary to enter into a culture of peace with the Palestinians. The efforts may not have been 100% successful, but the movement has been in a consistently positive direction. In fact, the shortcomings in Israeli society are all the more obvious because of the contrast with the overall progress Israel has made.
Second, you must not overlook one undeniable fact: Israel has agreed to every compromise proposed in the peace process, including the relinquishing of previously non-negotiable territory in Jerusalem. The Palestinians, especially Yassir Arafat, have refused to take the chance on any final settlement, and have instead added "non-negotiable" conditions as time has progressed.
Third, and most important, Israel is family. Just as your parents support you as you pursue your education, even if you veer from the recommended path of conduct or accomplishment, the Jews of the Diaspora must support Israel, even when we disagree with specific moments of decision-making. If we do not, then we cannot expect anyone else to do so.
When you are confronted by people who argue with you about Israel's situation, ask them about their solution, and insist that they be specific. Sooner or later, they will come around to demanding that the Jews quit Israel, or at least eliminate the Jewish nature of the country. It is a demand to which they would never agree if it involved their own community.
I encourage you to learn more about Israel and to consider attending the AIPAC Policy Conference in the spring as a student delegate. Log onto www.aipac.org to learn more about it. Scholarships available!