UCLA Student-Led Campaign Fuels the Zionist Narrative

| by Dr. Thomas Waiyne

#WeTheZionists is the latest campaign to come from the UCLA student body and more specifically, from Bruins for Israel (BFI), UCLA’s Pro-Israel Student Group on campus. And it is just as intense as it sounds.

 Several UCLA students and BFI members have already taken to Facebook to discuss their connection to Zionism. One student proclaims proudly that "Today, I am proud to call myself a Zionist." In her detailed and personal post, she discusses how "growing up, [she had] always shied away from calling [herself] a ‘Zionist’.”

It is due to the fact that she "found the word to be archaic and oftentimes irrelevant", that she attributes herself shying away from its use in the past.

Yet, she demonstrates her change in that prior sentiment through her thorough discussion of "Zionism [as] the movement which advocates for the rights of the Jewish people, chief among them the right of self-determination."

In discussing how this word has been "tainted by those who seek to deprive the Jewish people of that basic human right", this UCLA student gives light to the very Zionist Revival that is occurring on the UCLA college campus right now.

By connecting Jews, the people, and the existing idea(s) of Zionism, this latest UC campaign has found a traction long since missed on college campuses. That is why this student's words are so poignant when she states that "today is the day that we remind the world that Judaism is more than a religion, it is a nation, an ethnicity, and a people...Today is the day that we, as Zionists, reclaim our narrative."

These final words are especially moving as it could not have been more than several months ago that I wrote about a new startup magazine publication called The Zionist Narrative.

These wonderful #WeTheZionists posts by many of UCLA’s prominent students who are involved in this mirror my previous predictions regarding my hopes for the possible effects that The Zionist Narrative could have on its campus community. I could not have imagined, though, that these effects would have taken hold so suddenly and effectively.

It is very clear that the UCLA campus community is being less and less afraid of the term "Zionism" and more importantly, beginning to proclaim themselves as distinguished "Zionists" without the fear of becoming recipients of slanderous and false accusations in one form or another because of it. In my belief, The Zionist Narrative has definitely played a role in this important and valuable transition in a college campus that is in such great need of pro-Israel activism and continued efforts to protect the beliefs and activist of its Jewish and Pro-Israel student body and staff.

The mission statement from The Zionist Narrative’s Website states: "We seek to empower the Pro-Israel voice through the use of our legal freedom of expression and showcase the people who stand with Israel. By promoting the very people who support Israel, we are amplifying the solidarity movement that already exists on college campuses. Through our social media reach, we hope to enlighten our audiences with information that would otherwise be rejected or ignored in mainstream media, as well as illustrate just how strong the Pro-Israel voice today actually is, especially on college campuses."

In retrospect, I must say that the magazine is definitely holding up on its promise to bring about a positive change on college campuses that not only strengthens the voices of Jewish students on the UCLA campus but also has the prospective of playing a role in affecting many other US college campuses across the country that need that push, as well!

It looks as if The Zionist Narrative has been keeping to its promises, but there is still much work ahead for this publication and it must continue to keeps its promise despite the immense tragedy that has recently befallen its Editor-In-Chief, as well as the challenges that lie before him and the hard-working staff of the magazine. May he and his staff fight on and keep make his father proud!

Be sure to check out The Zionist Narrative’s website here or to follow them on social media, click here. The UCLA Bruins for Israel website can be found here, or follow them on social media here