Student says a college course made her 'anti-Israel'

Anti-Israel student-turned-Jewish advocate, Kylie Ora Lobell, walked readers through her story and spoke out against misinformation in a recent opinion piece for The Algemeiner.

She also spoke with Campus Reform to further elaborate on her views and experience.

Anti-Israel student-turned-Jewish advocate, Kylie Ora Lobell, walked readers through her story and spoke out against misinformation in a recent opinion piece for The Algemeiner. She also spoke with Campus Reform to further elaborate on her views and experience.

In the article, titled "A College Class Made Me Anti-Israel: The Threat is Real," Ora Lobell describes how she became cold toward Israel after taking a class on the Middle East at Purchase College, SUNY. Prior to taking the class, she never knew much about Israel, and learning about the mass migration of Jews to Israel after the Holocaust was enough for her to develop negative views of the Jewish State. 

After receiving a D on the first test, Ora Lobell was encouraged by the professor to drop the class - which she did.

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Ora Lobell was later inspired to convert to Orthodox Judaism after attending a dinner at Chabad with her then-boyfriend. She subsequently took a trip to Israel to learn more about the Jewish State, discovering that many of the notions she had absorbed from the mainstream media and college were misguided.

She writes, “What I noticed immediately was Jews in yarmulkes and women in hijabs sitting next to each other on the subway, eating together in cafes, working side by side in stores. There didn’t seem to be any tension.”

This experience taught her that the issue was more complicated than she had been led to believe. 

Ora Lobell elaborated to Campus Reform,“It’s a dishonest and one-sided view of Israel that is the problem. It’s calling out Israel without calling out other countries, and always making Israel into the bad guy in every single situation that is the issue.”

“I would like professors to look at more objective views of Israel from the middle, not the extreme right or the extreme left," she continued, "You need to see the facts from all sides."

"When you're only looking at Al Jazeera and it says that Israelis kill innocent Palestinians, when in fact we were firing back at terrorists who opened fire on us... that is unequivocally false. To say that Israel is always the perpetrator is intellectually dishonest."

Ora Lobell went on to emphasize her view that "[c]ollege campuses are where we go to seek knowledge and truth; professors cannot insert their own biases and opinions -- and in a worst-case scenario antisemitic views -- into their teachings. It's wrong.”

[RELATED: Anti-Semitic slogan painted across campus display]

Last year, Campus Reform reported that the U.S. Department of Education investigated a Title IV complaint regarding discrimination against a Jewish student who claimed to experience harassment from professors and fellow classmates at Brooklyn College. 

Similarly, course materials at the University of Southern California (USC) were also under investigation in 2022 following the forced resignation of a student government leader on the basis of his Jewish ethnicity.

A 2021 poll revealed that 50% of Alpha Epsilon Phi fraternity and sorority members surveyed have “hidden their Jewish identity,” and 65% felt “unsafe” on their campus.

“When you talk to anyone with differing views, you listen to them. You hear them out and then engage in a friendly dialogue with them, stating your position and backing it up with facts. I find that most people are reasonable when presented with the truth... That's what society is missing these days: open dialogue. There is too much shaming of people who have different views than we do,” Ora Lobell explained to Campus Reform.

Campus Reform contacted Purchase College, SUNY for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.