Dylan Morpurgo is a campus coordinator at The David Project, working with schools in Ohio and New England. He is pictured here with Molly Radler, fellow campus coordinator, on #IsraelUncovered.
In January, four students from The Ohio State University were sitting in a meeting room at Kibbutz Gionosar with 30 other campus leaders from across the country. These students, participants on our Israel Uncovered trip, were having a discussion about anti-Israel activities on campus. As these four OSU students sat listening, one remarked to me, “wow, I’m so glad we don’t have to deal with any of this BDS stuff at OSU.”
BDS, the effort to boycott, divest from, and impose sanctions on Israel, was not something Israel advocates thought they would be facing at OSU this spring, but with the return to campus in mid-January, BDS reared its ugly head. Over the course of the past 10 weeks, Israel advocates at The Ohio State University have accomplished two amazing feats; defeating BDS, and sharing a respectable and important message. The efforts of OSU Hillel, Buckeyes for Israel, and their campaign, Protect OSU – Vote NO on Issue 1, were a prime example of positive rhetoric, fact based explanations, relationship building, and advocating for both Israel and their campus.
As a part of their work, Israel advocates were having conversations, hundreds of conversations. Advocates were reaching across campus to every community, organization, and individual they could reach. Their message of doing what is right for OSU was heard by thousands. Throughout their campaign, advocates worked hard to strengthen or establish relationships with the diverse student leaders of OSU.
The relationship building efforts of students is best exemplified in a video they put together urging students to support their campaign and vote no. This video, featuring students from a wide range of communities, including Greek Life, Undergraduate Student Government, College Republicans, and College Democrats. The message was simple, BDS is bad for OSU, is bad for Ohio, and is bad for peace in the Middle East.
The students who dedicated so much of their time to this campaign should be proud of the work they have done. The Ohio State University now has a large coalition of diverse voices committed to the same thing, what is right for the students of The Ohio State University.
While the students sitting in that Kibbutz in January might not have been expecting to take on this cause, they more than accomplished the goal of defeating BDS, they accomplished the goal of doing so in a positive way that could contribute to the campus environment.