Sam Litvin

Crackdowns on Antisemitism at Private Schools, Public School Hate Grows

We all know what happened to the U Penn President after her remarks about how advocating for genocide of Jewish people is a violation of rules depending on the context. We also know that the Department of Justice is looking at MIT, Harvard and many other private institutions. However, the hat at those is publicly visible but pales in comparison to the hate that is brewing at public universities. UCSD has a constant stream of antisemitic protests to the point that the UCSD Hillel actively dissuades Jewish students from going to the UCSD Campus during these protests, a direct violation of Title IX. The Associate Body President at UCSB faced antisemitic messages and statements not just from students, but staff as well. There is a never ending stream of violations and complaints from Jewish students who are assaulted by vitriol on a daily basis in their dorms, in the halls, online and even in the classrooms. And yet, the state and federal government turns a blind eye to all of these in spite of the regulations passed in 2015 directing the state body to oversee and address these incidents.

Why might this be? One possibility is constituents. It is easy to take on the relatively small contingent of antisemitic liberals in a sea of wealthy conservatives that actually make up the majority of private school’s student body. On the other hand it is much more difficult to take on a much larger number Arab and Muslim population and much liberal student body that is at the public institutions. It would also be politically inconvenient to do so as well in an election year. 

Social Media is already full of pro Hamas ads on social media going after Biden for his refusal to stop Israel from responding to the war that Hamas started, and refuses to end. The same groups who fought the Muslim Ban created by Donald Trump are now actively supporting him because Israel refuses to bow down to Hamas. The same groups that advocate for voting against Biden were silent about American support for Myanmar during Rohinga genocide, China genocide of Uighurs, Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. They had no qualms with the war in South Sudan or even the current ethnic cleansing by Pakistan of the millions of Afghans. It was not about Islam or Muslims or war or human rights before, it is not about any of those things now.

Jews have always been a convenient political tool and an inconvenient group to protect. This applies to Jews regardless of whether they are in America or Israel today, or in Germany and Poland in 1941. Today we see an active attack on a small minority in America. This may begin with Jews, but refusal to stop hate against Jews today means that all that Democrats and Department of Justice are doing, are giving a green light to hate against other minorities tomorrow. 

Hate against Jews did not start in small bars in Germany, it started in the universities and then it spread to bars and streets. The fact that the American government goes after a few islands of hate at private universities but allows the hate to grow at public universities allows the hate to grow and become legitimate thanks to the authority of intellectuals and academia means that the government is actively choosing where to enforce laws and where to not enforce them. Where to end hate and where to let it grow. The hate that goes unanswered as “free speech” at the universities means that soon we will all have to face a much larger hate in the synagogues and in the streets. The hate that is inconvenient at Universities but possible to end now, will be impossible to stop once it is out in public. 

About the Author
Sam Livin was born in Soviet Union and grew up in San Diego. In 2012, he travelled the world photographing Jewish communities publishing a book called "Your Story Our Sipur." Today he continues to write about Israel and Judaism as he lives and studies business and ecology in Tel Aviv.
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