Jonathan Elkhoury, an Israeli-Christian resident of Haifa, took part last May in a turbulent event about Israel held at the University of California, Irvine. It was “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus and Elkhoury was part of a delegation of the Reservists on Duty organization, defending Israel’s reputation.
At one point, when the dispute shifted from English to Arabic, a student of Palestinian origin burst out and said: “You are stealing my language,” Elkhoury recalled.
“I’ve been before on several campuses, but at Irvine it was the peak, in personal attacks against me and also in attacks against Israel,” he said.
“It was the essence of the anti-Israel activity on the campuses that categorized me as a Jew. I was accused by a girl who was born in the United States and barely speaks Arabic, ‘You steal my language.’ I told her, ‘How do I, as a Christian Arab, who grew up in Lebanon and lives in Israel, steal something from you?’ She had never been to Israel, and her Arabic was less than basic. She tells me that I am a liar and in the same breath tells stories that in Haifa, my city, there is an apartheid regime with separate buses for Arabs and separate schools.”