Universities are seeing a huge spike in anti-Semitism. here’s why

According to several Jewish experts and advocates, college campuses have seen a significant increase in anti-Semitism over the past year as universities continue to miss the mark when it comes to protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism .

In the 2021-2022 school year, threats to Jewish identity on college campuses doubled from 114 incidents the previous year to 228 incidents, while incidents of Jewish identity suppression nearly tripled, from 37 to 123, according to a report by the AMCHA Initiative, a pro-Israel academic organization. Attempts to remove Israel from Jewish identity on college campuses are behind the outbreak, experts and organizations that work extensively with Jewish students told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA, told the DCNF that she’s been tracking anti-Semitism on campus for more than two decades, but the past few years have been “unprecedented.”(RELATED: Whoopi Goldberg returns with more Holocaust commentary despite previous suspension over same issue)

“What we found and what really scared us [when thinking] what this means in the future, there is a real attack on those Jewish students who support Israel and who feel that it is a very important part of their identity,” she noted.

Thomas Waye, director of strategy for Chabad on Campus International (CCI), told DCNF that anti-Semitism in the past year is nothing new but that social media has created a “hockey stick effect” that brought the issue on campus to the forefront. Ori Raphael, a Texas-based civil rights attorney and executive director of the Jewish Justice Foundation, expressed similar thoughts.

“Anti-Semitism [is] a disease, and college campuses are just the modern breeding ground,” Raphael said.

Rossman-Benjamin and Raphael have argued that university administrations have abandoned learning and substituted it for indoctrination, with anti-Semitism being the favored form since Jews, according to Raphael, are an “easy target”. Rossman-Benjamin explained that professors and university administrators have continued to push for a “redefinition” of the relationship between Israel and Judaism that leads to discrimination and hatred toward Jewish students.

In May 2021, Hamas and Israel were embroiled in a conflict that left nearly 300 people dead, according to Brandeis University. According to Rossman-Benjamin, the dispute has “opened the floodgates” for faculty and administrators to push blatant anti-Zionist and often anti-Semitic rhetoric on campuses.

“We saw 160 departments in over 120 schools across the country issue a statement ‘we give our full support to the Palestinians and Israel is an apartheid state’,” she explained. “Many of the statements supported an academic boycott of Israel.”

Waye disagreed on responsibility for the growing hatred and underlined his belief that universities have the best intentions for their students, but lack education on the issue.

“I really believe it comes down to education and engagement…the administration engagement and education, [and] where possible, to teachers,” Waye said. “Chabad is really focused on trying to live your life through the lens of positivity, so our overall approach to anti-Semitism is to enable Jewish pride and enable students to understand their history enough that when ‘they are on campus, they embrace their right to self-identification and self-determination.

AMCHA released a report earlier this month detailing how university policies are failing to protect Jewish students. The report found that Jewish students were at increased risk of abuse because they did not belong to a “protected minority” group.

“More than one-third (35) of schools included statements in their codes of conduct affirming that harassment of students from identity-protected groups would receive harsher punitive sanctions than similar behavior directed at students. ‘unprotected,'” the report said. “There was no school where ‘unprotected’ students were guaranteed administrative consideration and a response to bullying behavior equivalent to that guaranteed to ‘protected’ students.

The AMCHA report showed that less than 40% of schools define bullying “as conduct that limits, interferes with, or hinders a student’s ability to participate in campus life.” Over the past year, many schools have come under scrutiny for issues similar to those discussed in the report.

At Harvard University, a group of pro-Palestine students was allowed to organize “Israeli Apartheid Week” during the observance of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Additionally, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law is currently under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights after several student groups passed regulations prohibiting speakers pro-Israel from their chapters.

Two Jewish students at the State University of New York at New Paltz, both sexual assault survivors, were kicked out of a campus survivor group after other members discovered Jewish students were supporting Israel , according to Campus Reform. The City University of New York appointed a former civil rights director for the Hamas-linked Council for American Islamic Relations to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism made by a Jewish professor, and George Washington University conducted a investigation earlier this month after a pro-Palestinian group allegedly harassed Jewish students and campus events.

Rossman-Benjamin, Waye and Raphael agreed that over the past year the intense pressure on Jewish students has taken its toll.

“It’s definitely been more difficult for the students,” Waye said. “The most insidious aspect of anti-Semitism on a college campus is when a student is forced to hide their identity, because if you do, the opportunity to really celebrate your history, celebrate your roots and your religion becomes very negatively affected.”

StopAntisemitism (SA), a non-partisan organization dedicated to exposing hatred against Jews, released its annual university report for 2022 and found that 72% of students felt the administration did not take the administration seriously. concerns about anti-Semitism, while 73% admitted to hiding their Jewish identity on campus. out of fear for their safety.

Raphaël told DCNF he “is hopeful” for 2023 because “most people are good” but warned that too often good people wait for a problem to reach a point of no return before do anything. Rossman-Benjamin said universities still have a long way to go before anti-Semitism begins to decline on campuses.

“Without some sort of game-changing intervention, I don’t think we’ll be successful in changing this trajectory of increasing anti-Semitism, and that’s very scary,” Rossman-Benjamin said. “At the end of the day, that’s only going to happen if we get out of this identity trap where we only address things as they relate to students who are considered part of a protected identity group.”

Harvard, GWU, UC Berkely, SUNY New Paltz and CUNY did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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