Tomorrow, something unusual is going to happen on the Diag.
Although this seems nearly impossible due to the variety of
preachers, communists, LaRouche supporters, random playground
furniture and the like that tend to adorn the center of campus on
any given day, on Friday this campus will witness a rare break with
this normalcy.

As a part of the global movement to end violence against women
and girls, the V-Day college campaign and its supporters will
surround the Diag with red “Rape Free Zone” caution
tape and officially declare it to be a safe space. Inside this
space will be a colorful array of rainbow flags, antiwar buttons,
free condoms, slam poets and Planned Parenthood brochures. And next
to veteran V-Day supporters such as Students for Choice and the
LGBT Commission there will be a student group making its first
appearance at a University V-Day rally: The American Movement for
Israel.

While the Jewish feminist tradition in both America and Israel
has long been established as a strong and powerful voice in
contemporary political discourse, it is not common to see
pro-Israel communities and feminist communities working together on
campus within the auspices of official student groups, broad-based
coalitions or student-run campus campaigns.

It is not that there is a lack of Zionist feminists, or
“progressive” pro-Israel folk, or secular Jewish
feminists or even pro-choice atheist Israelis to be found, or even
that these voices are too often silenced, but that the nature of
the pro-Israel discourse on campus tends to focus too much on
conflict and violence and the nature of many women’s groups
on campus is to not alienate or exclude members of their own
community by aligning or officially affiliating themselves with
additional controversial political groups and issues.

All of this makes sense. Should a prominent Israeli feminist
speaker come to visit campus, it would be very reasonable for both
communities to work together on that event. But what about
something a little more controversial? What would be able to be
controversial and a conversation-starter on the one hand but at the
same time is welcomed by two already polarized and extremely
complex communities? The answer to this can be found inside a very
controversial item that is small enough to fit in the palm of my
hand.

Tomorrow in the middle of a rally that is being held to
celebrate V-Day, and is in fact the symbol of a culmination of
successful V-Week festivities here and around the world, will be an
Israeli flag decorating one of the many student group tables. On
that table will be 500 condoms. Need help making the connection? On
the surface of the condoms is the text, “Israel: It’s
Still Safe To Come.”

Samantha Woll is a member of American Movement for
Israel’s executive board and an RC junior.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.