2022 YIR: I Have Been Attacked and Defamed for Visiting Israel
Samantha Strelzer penned an opinion piece after experiencing antisemitism once she returned from visiting Israel.
Sasha Heller is the Web Editor and Copy Editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times
Samantha Strelzer, student body president at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, penned an editorial for the Atlanta Jewish Times in July after experiencing antisemitism upon returning from a visit to Israel.
The editorial was one of the most read stories on the AJT website this past year, as it was shared by countless readers on various social media, directing other readers to visit the site and read Samantha’s story.
In the story, Strelzer identified her chief attacker as a fellow board member at the Rollins School at Emory. Strelzer wrote, “I recently went on a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel, and since that time, I have been the victim of a harassment and defamation campaign both online and offline. I know that this is sadly an all-too-common occurrence, and that across the country, students who dare to express a pro-Israel point of view or visit the Holy Land are ostracized on campus. But I have decided to fight back…”
Strelzer then provided a detailed account of the attacks she suffered, including her aggressor falsely accusing the state of Israel of apartheid and genocide. Her aggressor then claimed that Strelzer herself directly contributed to the alleged apartheid and killing of indigenous people. Strelzer’s aggressor also accused Strelzer of promoting war and genocide, and supporting colonial murderers, and then called for Strelzer to step down from her elected position.
Strelzer decided enough was enough and she went public with her story, sharing it with the Atlanta Jewish Times and the extended Atlanta Jewish community.
Several AJT readers voiced their support for Strelzer in the form of letters to the editor, as they sided with Strelzer and expressed their compassion and empathy.
Samantha Strelzer, student body president at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, contributed to this article.