When I took what was equivalent to a minor in college titled The Study of Genocide and I served as communications director of my university’s Jewish Student Union, my classmates and I were hopeful that antisemitism was on the decline.
In some of our courses, we were taught by a Holocaust Survivor who had been saved by a Righteous family. In the classes he taught, we learned about his experiences. He even brought in a death camp Survivor to recount the horrors she experienced.
I never thought that nearly 35 years later, I would see a resurgence of antisemitism — especially on university campuses throughout America.
An investigation of antisemitism on more than 100 American colleges and universities was recently released. The “Report on Antisemitic Activity in 2015 at U.S. Colleges and Universities With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations” illustrates the very real issue of antisemitism among America’s youth and educational institutions.
Three kinds of activity were investigated: antisemitic expression, targeting of Jewish students, and BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) activity.
Alarmingly, in the top schools for Jewish students, there were more than 300 antisemitic incidents in 2015 alone.
The U.C. system had a disturbing number of incidents. Also listed were Colombia, Drexel, Northeastern, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, Tufts, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, Vassar and numerous others.
Following are the summarized findings taken directly from the report’s executive summary:
- “Campus antisemitism is highly prevalent in public and private schools with significant Jewish undergraduate populations, irrespective of school size.”
- “There is a strong correlation between the presence of an anti-Zionist student group such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and overall antisemitic activity, as well as strong associations with each kind of antisemitic activity independently.”
- “There is a strong correlation between the presence and number of faculty who have expressed public support for an academic boycott of Israel and the occurrence of overall antisemitism, as well as strong associations with each kind of antisemitic activity independently.”
- “BDS activity strongly correlates with antisemitic expression and incidents which directly target Jewish students for harm.”
- “The presence of anti-Zionist student groups and the number of faculty who have publicly endorsed an academic boycott of Israel are, in combination, very strong predictors of overall antisemitic activity. …”
- “Anti-Zionism permeates and is inseparable from contemporary campus antisemitism.”
Just as disturbing is the fact that the report determined that “more than 150 talks, rallies, statements, films, displays, agitprop, op-eds and social media posts contained expression that demonized or delegitimized Israel by drawing on classic antisemitic tropes of Jewish evil, power and mendacity.”
The report also determined that “on more than 60 campuses, Israel was vilified with false accusations of racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity, brutal slaughter, state-sponsored terrorism, theft of land, water and human organs, settler-colonialism, apartheid, fascism, white supremacy and Nazism. A speaker at one school even called Israel ‘the embodiment of evil’.”
(The second part of a recent column on a world federation of nations will appear in my next post. I felt this issue took precedence.)