Maccabee of the Month - Jordan Robinson - Michigan State University

 

Imagine being harassed, bullied, and threatened for supporting Israel. Your Maccabee of the Month, Jordan Robinson, has experienced this as a Zionist student at Michigan State University.

Last year, Jordan worked to get the IHRA definition of Antisemitism passed on his campus. He and his peers wanted the universally accepted definition so there was a clear understanding of Antisemitism and fair representation for Jewish students on campus.

After giving a powerful speech in support of IHRA at a Student Government meeting, Jordan became, as he describes, “a [verbal] human punching bag” for the other students. His name was slandered, falsehoods were spread, and he “was very traumatized” by “one of the worst nights of [his] life” and the ensuing attacks.

How has Jordan responded, and is he still involved with pro-Israel efforts, you might ask?

He isn’t giving up. “I developed thick skin from what happened, and I became much more vocal… Israel is the Jewish state. In the end, their flag has a Star of David on it. And the Star of David represents the Jewish people. I think it’s very important that we help protect and uplift the state.”

Members of the Maccabee Task Force know what’s at stake. We’re proud to support Jordan and each of the Zionist students at Michigan State University (and 100+ campuses across the globe). We equip them with critical funding and tools. Our help allows Jordan and his classmates to push back and make their campus a safer place for Jews. It also inspires them to keep fighting for Israel, even in the face of adversity.

“If we didn’t have the amount of funding that we get from Maccabee Task Force we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things that we do… we’re really going to be able to take things on headfirst. We’ll be able to take on Antisemitism, BDS, and really anything that comes our way. Truly all because of the Maccabee Task Force and the work and the resources and the funding that you provide us.” Jordan said.

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Why do you care about helping Israel?

“Israel is the Jewish state. In the end, their flag has a Star of David on it. And the Star of David represents the Jewish people. I think it’s very important that we help protect and uplift the state. They provide so many different things to society, in the field of medicine and technology, for example, and I truthfully don’t think they get enough credit for it. Like it or not, Jews are affiliated with the State of Israel. Israel affects every Jew in some capacity, big or small, and so it’s important to advocate for that and protect that, because in the end, it’s protecting you.”

How has the Maccabee Task Force helped your campus to support Israel?

“If we didn’t have the amount of funding that we get from Maccabee Task Force we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things that we do. We put on very strong programming, and the money that Maccabee Task Force gives us actually goes towards students and the work that myself and the rest of my peers do.

Also, we’re really excited to announce that because of the Maccabee Task Force, we’re going to have the tools to create what’s called an Anti-BDS Task Force. These are going to be students from all over campus– Jews and non Jews, a cohort of people who we know are going to stick up for us through thick and thin. They’re going to be able to really represent the Jewish community and we will have a very strong army. So between us expanding our RBI cohort and us creating this Anti-BDS Task Force, we’re really going to be able to take things on headfirst. We’ll be able to take on Antisemitism, BDS, and really anything that comes our way. Truly all because of the Maccabee Task Force and the work and the resources and the funding that you provide us.”

What is the attitude about BDS on your campus?

“Everyone knows about BDS, but no one wants to rip the bandage off and say it. But we’re going to do everything in our power to ensure that it doesn’t come to campus, and it doesn’t pass. We have a lot of plans and contingencies in place throughout the university right now and with our partners across the state of Michigan, to prepare and to act accordingly, in the event that BDS does come to campus and things take a very bad turn. We’re preparing for it, we’re ready to fight, we’ve fought before, and we’re ready to fight again.”

What are you most proud of?

“I’m proud of how far I’ve stepped out of my box. I’ve always been an outspoken person, but only to a certain degree. And I think with everything that’s happened this past year, with COVID and Antisemitism, it’s really pushed me to see the bigger picture and realize that it doesn’t just affect me, and that the actions of one can affect many. So I’m really proud of advocating for my community and the leaps and bounds that I’ll go to in order to make sure that happens.”

Shwarma or falafel?

“Oh, shwarma easily. 100%.”

What would you tell others supporting Israel on campus or in their day-to-day lives?

“Just. Push. Forward. Keep going.

When I was dealing with all of this, I thought that it wouldn’t end and I thought, this is it. But as cheesy as it sounds, there always is a light at the end of the tunnel. And you just have to keep going. Lean on your resources, and lean on your people that you know will be with you thick and thin… And I promise you, you will push through it.

My second piece of advice is recognize the available resources. There are so many different resources, agencies, organizations, people out there, who are willing to help you and are willing to drop everything to help you and your situation your school out, that you don’t even know about, they may not have even introduced themselves. But they’re there to assist you, and to provide you with anything that they can. And so I think, lean on your available resources, seek them out because they’re out there, and they’ll be able to help you in whatever way they can.”