My name is Benjamin Sweetwood, and I am the National Field Director of the Maccabee Task Force. I regret that I write you today with Passover on the horizon not only to introduce myself but as well to come to you in mourning for the lives lost over the past two weeks in three separate terrorist attacks in Israel.
I need not recount the horrid details of such events, you’ve surely by now learned of the bloodshed and its victims, nine Israelis and two Ukrainian nationals, who had made no transgression on the days they were murdered but to go about their daily lives, hopes and dreams intact – their families waiting back home, none the wiser to the fates that met their loved ones.
Instead, it’s more in my interest today to ponder aloud as to where might be a space yet for Jews upon this Earth to live in peace.
Jews know so deeply so, that wherever we may go we’re not necessarily safe to be Jewish or to affiliate ourselves with Israel.
After all, amidst the thrust of March’s terrorist attacks, a pro-BDS group in New York City held a rally outside the offices of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and during the event issued a call for further violence against Israelis around the world, chanting, “globalize the intifada.”
It is here where the Maccabee Task Force’s mission comes relevant; we who are entrusted with carrying it out find among our first questions the simple asks, “how might we make Jews safer in this world? How might we protect Israel from afar and as well, her people?”
This is why the Maccabee Task Force has entered the campus fray: we’re there to build networks of pro-Israel allies throughout the student body by way of both on-campus Israel programming and a trip to Israel for non-Jewish campus leaders.
The college environment doesn’t often welcome pro-Israel students and thus, providing a space on the campus for such students to safely celebrate the Jewish state is a vital first step towards the ultimate success of our mission. Yes, our mission, the mission you help us carry out, to preserve safe spaces for Jews — on campus and in Israel, matters and it matters now more than ever.