Universities are seeing a huge rise in anti-Semitism. Here’s why

College campuses have seen a significant rise in anti-Semitism over the past year as universities continue to miss the mark in protecting Jewish students from anti-Semitism, according to several Jewish experts and advocates.

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. pro-Israel campus organization. Experts and organizations that work extensively with Jewish students told the Daily Caller News Foundation that efforts to remove Israel from Jewish identity on college campuses are at the root of the spike.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA, told DCNF that she has been tracking anti-Semitism on campus for more than two decades, but that the past few years have been “unprecedented.”(RELATED: Whoopi Goldberg Returns More Holocaust Comments Despite Being Previously Suspended For The Same Subject)

“What we found and what was really scary for us [when thinking] about what this means going forward, there is a real attack on those Jewish students who support Israel and who feel that this is a very important part of their identity,” he noted.

Thomas Waye, Chief Strategy Officer of Chabad on Campus International (CCI), told DCNF that the anti-Semitism of the past year is not new, but that social media has created a “hockey stick effect” that has pushed the issue on campus to the fore . Ori Raphael, a Texas-based civil rights attorney and executive director of the Jewish Justice Foundation, echoed similar sentiments.

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

Rossman-Benjamin and Raphael argued that university administrations have left learning behind and replaced it with indoctrination, with anti-Semitism being the preferred form since Jews, according to Raphael, are an “easy target”. Rossman-Benjamin explained that university faculty and administrations have continued to promote a “redefinition” of the relationship between Israel and Judaism that leads to discrimination and hatred of Jewish students.

In May 2021, Hamas and Israel engaged in a conflict that left nearly 300 dead, according to Brandeis University. The conflict “opened the floodgates” for faculty and administrations to promote anti-Zionist and often blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric on campus, according to Rossman-Benjamin.

“We saw 160 departments in over 120 schools across the country actually issue a statement saying ‘we put our full support behind the Palestinians and Israel is an apartheid state,'” he explained. “Many of the statements supported an academic boycott of Israel.”

Waye disagreed on where to place the blame for the growing hate and emphasized his belief that universities have the best intentions for their students but lack education on the issue.

“I really think it comes down to education and commitment … the commitment and education of administrations, [and] where possible, to faculty,” Waye said. “Chabad is really focused on trying to live your life through a lens of positivity, so our overall approach to anti-Semitism is to allow Jewish pride and to allow students to understand their history enough that when they’re on campus they embrace their right to self-determination 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 a third (35) of schools included in their codes of conduct statements confirming that harassment of students in protected identity groups will be punished more severely than similar behavior against ‘unprotected’ students,” the report said. “There were no schools where ‘unprotected’ students were guaranteed an administrative review and response to harassing behavior equivalent to that guaranteed to ‘protected’ students.”

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

At Harvard University, a pro-Palestinian student group was allowed to host “Israel Apartheid Week” during the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Passover. In addition, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law is currently under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after several student groups passed laws banning pro-Israel speakers from their chapters.

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

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

“It was definitely 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 that, then the opportunity to really celebrate your history, your roots and your religion is very negatively affected.”

StopAntisemitism (SA), a non-partisan organization dedicated to exposing anti-Semitism, has released its annual college report for 2022 and found that 72% of students felt administrations were not taking concerns about antisemitism seriously, while 73% admitted to hiding their Jewish identity on campus. out of fear for their safety.

Rafael told the DCNF that he “has hope” for 2023 because “most people are good,” but warned that too often good people wait until a problem reaches a point of no return before doing anything. Rossman-Benjamin expressed that universities have a long way to go before anti-Semitism on campus begins to decline.

“Without some kind of game-changing intervention, I don’t think we’re going to be successful in shifting this trajectory of rising anti-Semitism, and that’s very scary,” Rossman-Benjamin said. “Ultimately, that’s only going to happen if we get out of this identity trap where we only deal with things if they’re aimed at 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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