The Rising Tide of Campus Anti-Semitism
of Jewish students
have seen anti-semitic acts on campus
Increase in Anti-Semitism
on U.S. College Campuses in 2016
A report released by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry titled Anti-Semitism Worldwide 2016, documented a rising tide of Jewish hatred in colleges. U.S. Researchers found a 45% increase in “all forms” of anti-Semitism(hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group), including harassment, insults, anti-Semitic graffiti, vandalism, and the utilization of swastikas and other Nazi paraphernalia. Even at non-Jewish K-12 grade schools, the first quarter of 2017 saw a doubling of anti-Semitic violence, vandalism, and bullying over the same period in 2016.
Schools are a microcosm of the country. Children absorb messages from their parents and the media and bring them into their school. We are very concerned the next generation is internalizing messages of intolerance and bigotry.
– Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO
What Is Causing the Rise of Anti-Semitism on College Campuses?
The rise of anti-Semitic activity on a campus is directly related to whether or not that campus has faculty or administration members who are anti-Israel or a vocal student-led anti-Israel group. Students learn by example and when student government organizations prevail in pressuring college administrations to pass measures against Israel, it sows seeds of doubt and often hostility within the student body that ultimately finds expression through anti-Semitic behavior.
For example, on June 8th, 2017 at the University of Chicago Campus, an anti-Israel group delivered 300 letters signed by students who are in opposition to the State of Israel to the university’s investment committee, demanding the university to divest from all financial investments in Israeli products. When university trustees give in to this kind of pressure it sends a message to the students that Jewish people are abnormal and must be marginalized – even despised.
Documented Acts of Anti-Semitism on Campus
Documented Acts of Anti-Semitism
The AMCHA Initiative, an organization that tracks anti-Semitic activity on U.S. college and university campuses, discovered alarming trends in their annual review released in April 2017. The study, which included 113 campuses with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, revealed a doubling of anti-Jewish genocidal expression in 2016, including examples like these:
- “Kill all Kikes” – written in a men’s restroom at the University of Buffalo
- “GAS JEWS DIE” – written in a note tucked behind the mezuzah on the doorframe of a Jewish professor at Oberlin College
- “Death to Israel and to all Jews” – a comment posted on the Clark University Hillel’s Facebook page (Hillel is a Jewish campus group)
- “Holocaust 2.0” – scrawled on the exterior of a dormitory at Brown University that houses many Jewish residents
In 2016, AMCHA Initiative documented 660 incidents of anti-Semitic activity on U.S. college campuses. Jewish students were physically assaulted, harassed, suppressed from speaking freely, and suffered the destruction of property.
The presence of anti-Jewish groups and faculty that endorsed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) was found to be a strong motivator behind the increase of anti-Semitic activity.
Anti-Normalization on Campuses
Campus groups that are not only driven by classic anti-Semitism but also by anti-Zionism have employed a new method called “anti-normalization” that aims to silence any form of pro-Israel messaging, including the defense of the right of Jewish people to exist peacefully within their own land. The goal is to delegitimize Israel as an abnormal and illegal state. To fulfill the “anti-normalization” objective, anti-Zionist campus groups frequently disrupt and attempt to shut down pro-Israel events through threats of violence and intimidation.
Examples of “anti-normalization” intimidation include:
- The members of an anti-Israel student group on the campus of San Francisco State University used mob intimidation tactics to interfere with the Jewish student group, Hillel. Hillel was sponsoring a speech by Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat and for over an hour the militant anti-Semitic group shouted racist hate speech and succeeded in disallowing Mayor Barkat to speak to the gathered assembly. Read Article >
- A Hillel event on the campus of the University of Chicago had as its guest speaker an Arab Israeli named Eid. An organized and violent anti-Semitic mob invaded the venue and shouted down the speaker until the event was canceled. The protesters threatened to murder Eid if he did not immediately terminate his speech. In a video of the violent shut down a person can be heard screaming in Arabic, “I’m going to destroy this place!” Watch Video >
- On the University of California Irvine, a pro-Israel student group was physically and verbally threatened by an anti-Israel student group. The Jewish group had to be escorted out of the event by police due to the frenzied and violent behavior of the anti-Israel group that was screaming “Intifada, Intifada” (Intifada means “violent overthrow” in Arabic). Read Article >
- On the University of Maryland, about 25 violent and intimidating protesters descended upon a pro-Israel event led by two Jewish student groups. They loudly shouted anti-Semitic epitaphs and attempted to block Jewish students from entering the venue of the event. Police intervened in order to protect the Jewish students from physical assault. Read Article >
A Dangerous Trend That Must Be Stopped
Sadly, the U.S. institutes of higher education are a new hotbed of anti-Semitism. The ever-growing rise of Jewish hatred on U.S. campuses is not an anomaly, but a dangerously growing trend. Centers of learning should be places where freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression are allowed without fear of intimidation or violent assault. Bigotry toward Jewish people, or any other group for that matter, should never be tolerated. Rather than free thought and expression, a frightening “group-think” is prevailing on U.S. college campuses. Anti-Semitism on college campuses is trending toward becoming vogue and mainstream. College campuses are microcosms of the country and this is why Israel Team is committed to teaching the next generation the truth about Israel and the Jewish people.
For Further Reading:
More on College Campuses and Rising Anti-Semitism
For further study see:
- “Antisemitism: At the Epicenter of Campus Intolerance (Anti-Semitic Activity in 2016 at U.S. Colleges and Universities with the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations).” A study from AMCHA Initiative, April 2017.
- “Unacceptable: Jewish Students Face a Climate of Hate on Campus.” American Center for Law and Justice.
- “U.S. Anti-Semitic Incidents Spike 86 Percent So Far in 2017 After Surging Last Year, ADL Finds.” The Anti-Defamation League.
- “U.S. College Campuses are ‘Hotbed’ of Anti-Semitism.” The New York Post, April 24th, 2017.
- “Anti-Semitism on Campus: A Clear-And-Present Danger.” A Report by Dr. Harold Brackman, The Simon Wiesenthal Center.