Darren Hollander

Addressing Hate on Campus

The recent rise in anti-Semitism on campus at Columbia University has been deeply troubling. It is disheartening to see that in 2024, prejudice and hatred towards Jews still exist within one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the United States. Ivy League universities like Columbia are often seen as training grounds for future leaders of American society, which makes the prevalence of anti-Semitism in these institutions even more concerning.

The recent incidents of anti-Semitism at Columbia University have ranged from swastikas painted on walls to anti-Semitic graffiti in the dorms. Jewish students have reported facing discrimination and harassment, both online and in person. These acts of hate are not only hurtful to Jewish students but also contribute to a toxic environment that is detrimental to the entire campus community.

As a Jewish person, I cannot help but feel a sense of unease about the future of American society when I see anti-Semitism thriving in prestigious academic institutions like Columbia University. These universities serve as the breeding grounds for the next generation of leaders in a wide range of fields, from government and business to academia and the arts. If anti-Semitism is allowed to fester within these institutions, it will inevitably seep into all facets of society, perpetuating hatred and prejudice for generations to come.

What is particularly disturbing about the current wave of anti-Semitism at Columbia University is that it is not just limited to a few isolated incidents. There seems to be a growing acceptance of anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior within the campus community, making Jewish students feel increasingly marginalized and unsafe. This normalization of anti-Semitism is a dangerous trend that must be addressed head-on before it further divides and polarizes our society.

It is important to recognize that anti-Semitism is not just a problem for the Jewish community; it is a threat to the values of tolerance and inclusivity that are supposed to define American society. When hatred is allowed to flourish unchecked, it undermines the very foundations of our democracy and jeopardizes the rights and freedoms of all Americans. As Jews, we must stand up against anti-Semitism not only for our own sake but for the sake of all marginalized and persecuted groups.

In confronting anti-Semitism at Columbia University and other Ivy League institutions, we must first acknowledge the systemic nature of this hatred. Anti-Semitism is not just a matter of individual prejudice; it is deeply ingrained in the history and culture of Western society. It is rooted in centuries of discrimination and persecution, and it continues to manifest itself in various forms today, from conspiracy theories to denial of the Holocaust.

Jewish students must not shy away from confronting anti-Semitism wherever they encounter it, whether it be in the classroom, on social media, or in their daily interactions. They must educate their peers about the history of anti-Semitism and its consequences, and must work together to create a campus environment that is truly inclusive and respectful of all faiths and backgrounds.

In the face of rising anti-Semitism at Columbia University and other Ivy League institutions, we cannot afford to remain silent or complacent. We must speak out against hate and bigotry in all its forms, and we must work tirelessly to build a more just and equitable society for ourselves and for future generations. Only by standing together in solidarity can we hope to overcome the scourge of anti-Semitism and create a world where all people are truly free to live and learn without fear of discrimination or persecution.

About the Author
The writer is the Group CEO of Global Energy, based in South Africa and the United States. He has a keen interest in global affairs and is a regular contributor to publications globally.