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I Became Anti-Israel Because of a College Professor. Learning the Truth Changed My Mind.

I was sitting in my Middle Eastern studies class at my public state school, listening to my professor talk about how sneaky Jewish lawyers stole land from the poor Palestinians after World War II.

“The Jewish people were smart and used misleading contracts to take Palestinian properties and land,” he said. “The land was not theirs.”

Prior to taking this class, I knew nothing about Israel. I didn’t even know it was the Jewish homeland. I wasn’t Jewish, and my Jewish friends and boyfriends never mentioned it. 

But once my professor taught me about the conflict, it seemed like there was only one logical conclusion, which I said to a classmate at a party one Friday night: “Israel are real jerks.” She agreed.

After all, they were guilty of what Christopher Columbus had done: they came to a country, and they stole it from the natives. 

In my class, there was no talk of Israel being the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. I didn’t even connect Israel to Jews or think that my professor’s point of view was antisemitic.

One incident stood out, though. A student raised his hand and quietly said, “I’m Jewish, and Israel is my people’s homeland. We weren’t stealing it. We were going back to where we rightfully belonged after the Nazis slaughtered us. We had nowhere else to go.”

“Well, that is just one side of the story you were taught,” my professor replied. “You must take the emotion out of it and see there is much more to it.”

That was the last time I’d see that student in my class.

I ended up dropping out of the class because, thankfully, I got a bad grade on a test. A few months later, when I started dating my boyfriend – now husband – Daniel, I brought up the Israel flotilla incident to him and his friend. I said it was terrible what Israel had done.


“What?” his friend said. “You can’t believe Israel did that? I can’t believe you just said that!”

“What did I say?” I asked.

“Israelis are not the aggressors. It’s the Palestinians!”

“Didn’t Israel attack them?”

“Are you only reading the mainstream media? They hate Israel.”

Daniel explained to me that there was another side that I never learned: Israel’s side. He told me that the mainstream media was very anti-Israel and so were college professors, typically. What I was taught was wrong.

I looked into it and learned the facts about the situation. I decided that my professor had not told me the full picture. In fact, he outright lied, and was clearly biased against the Jewish people and the only Jewish state in the world. 

Over the next few years, I learned a lot, as I had decided to pursue an Orthodox conversion to Judaism. Right before my official conversion, I wanted to see Israel for myself, so I signed up for a seminary program and studied there for a month, while Daniel learned in a yeshiva. 

I saw how incredible Israel was. There were Muslims and Jews sitting next to each other on the train, living in peace. In the shuk in Jerusalem, where I smelled amazing spices and heard loud, joyful music, I felt alive. I was so much more connected spiritually in Israel. I even got engaged to Daniel at the Kotel in the snow. It was magical.

Now, I am pro-Israel – and I am also pro-facts. 

Seeing all these protests on college campuses, I hope that these students figure out they have been misled. I hope they look into the other side. I hope they learn the nuances, the facts, and then make up their mind, just like I did. 

As for me, I am incredibly grateful to be part of the Jewish people and to be a proud supporter of Israel. I am glad I woke up and saw the truth. I thank Hashem for it, always.

Kylie Ora Lobell is the president of KOL Digital Marketing, a marketing, PR, and ghostwriting firm for Jewish organizations, authors, and business owners. You can follow her on X, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

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3 comments

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  • Avatar photo Juliette Landesman says on May 24, 2024

    Thank you for speaking up for the State of Israel! 🇮🇱
    Great that you took the time to learn the truth.

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Nuriel Avrahami says on May 25, 2024

    Many thanks to Daniel, he show you the light in the darkness

    Reply
  • Avatar photo Nathaniel Wyckoff says on May 26, 2024

    Very well articulated! Thank you for sharing your learning process. I want to share this article with others.

    Reply

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