Antisemitism on college campuses

antisemitism for web anya

Will our children have to endure anti-Semitism in college?  Will they be surrounded by students who say that Islamic fundamentalists have the right to celebrate murdering Jews? Told that Jews are the only people with no right to safely live in their indigenous homeland? Will their teachers harass them by proclaiming that our kids are “maintaining a system of domination by Jews” ?  People need to know how widespread this phenomenon is, because we can not effectively counter it without knowing it’s extent.


Some important resources

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.


Camera – the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – is a media-monitoring and research organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

CAMERA on Campus

StandWithUs is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combating the extremism and anti-Semitism that often distorts the issues. We believe that knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the region.

Stand With Us: Supporting Israel Around the World


Singling out Israel is a very modern antisemitism
By Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at King’s College, London
May 6, 2016
In the late 20th century antisemitism mutated. Nineteenth century antisemitism began by singling out Jews for the deprivation of civil rights. It climaxed with the Holocaust.
Modern antisemitism begins by singling out Jews for the deprivation of the right of self-determination. Its final aim is the elimination of Israel, or perhaps, as with the suspended Labour MP, Naz Shah, the transportation of Israeli Jews elsewhere. The older antisemitism insisted that Jews had no place in the national community. The new antisemitism insists that Israel has no place in the international community.
The central theme of the new antisemitism is the delegitimisation of Israel. The country’s enemies know that she cannot be defeated on the battlefield, nor by terrorism. But she can be defeated, so they believe, by turning her into a pariah state.
… the virus also seems to have infected the universities, in theory citadels of dispassionate thought, but all too often repositories of unthinking prejudice. In 2015, the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Students voted to boycott Israeli companies, while rejecting a call to boycott Daesh [ISIS, The Islamic State]….
…The new antisemites claim that “the Jews” or “Zionists” seek to shut down “criticism” of Israel by labelling it as antisemitic. If that is the aim of the Zionists, they have been remarkably unsuccessful, since university campuses are replete with such criticism.
In fact, the people who are being intimidated or censored, as pointed out by Alex Chalmers, the non-Jewish former chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, are the Jewish students who feel that they must distance themselves from Israel to avoid arousing hostility.
While a few pro-Palestinian meetings have been met with hostile demonstrations, there has been nothing comparable to the disruption of meetings addressed by Israelis; and it is not Palestinian academics who are threatened with boycott, but Israelis, even though they are as little responsible for the policies of their government as British academics are for the policies of the British government.
It is not the “critics” of Israel whose right to free speech is threatened, but the free speech of those seeking to support the Israeli government, or even the existence of the Israeli state. It is a mistake to underestimate the importance of the new antisemitism. After all, the “final solution” did not spring unaided from Hitler’s head. The ground had been thoroughly prepared by 19th-century cultural icons such as Schopenhauer, Nietzche, Dostoevsky and Wagner. It is ideas which, for good or ill, determine history.


Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism. Get Over It.
Recent campus debates teach us an important lesson about bigotry and how to deal with it
By Liel Leibovitz

Is anti-Zionism any different from anti-Semitism? The question is probably the most accurate seismograph we’ve got to measure where one stands on the ever-tremorous political grounds we all walk when we talk about Israel…. The debate we’re having, true to our times, is both dumber and more malicious, and it was on display this month as at least two of our finest institutions of higher learning, Stanford and Oberlin…. Out west, a member of the school’s student senate argued that it was not anti-Semitic to argue that Jews control the media, the banks, the government, and all other social institutions. And in the Ohio enclave of righteousness, several Jewish students published a letter in a student newspaper defending a disgraced professor who had posted similar allegations on her Facebook page about the Jews’ malevolent omnipotence.

…At Stanford, the portentously named Gabriel Knight, a junior on the school’s student governing body, claimed that it was, like, totally cool to talk about how the Jews control the world. “Questioning these potential power dynamics, I think, is not anti-Semitism,” sprach Knight. “I think it’s a very valid discussion.”

Not to be outdone, the Oberlin crew, five Jewish students strong, produced a manifesto that ascended from the declaratory into the definitional.

“We are deeply troubled by the persistent conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, which is not only ahistorical and unfounded but also plays a central ideological role in the attempt to undermine legitimate criticism of the state of Israel…This conflation leaves us, as anti-Zionist Jews, without a community to turn to when we do experience anti-Semitism. We agree with the definition of anti-Semitism laid out by Aurora Levins Morales, a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist; she writes that anti-Semitism—writing about European Jewry under Christianity—functions by creating ‘a vulnerable buffer group that can be bribed with some privileges into managing the exploitation of others, and then, when social pressure builds, be blamed and scapegoated, distracting those at the bottom from the crimes of those at the top.’”

It’s an argument not even a Deconstructionist could love: Anti-Semitism isn’t the historic hatred of Jews, consistently documented for millennia and rooted in ancient theological fissures, but merely a conspiracy by unnamed rich Christian Europeans to elevate the Jews into disproportionate positions of power and influence merely to blame them later when the oppressed wise up and revolt.

… Arguing at first that anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism, the enlightened left has now taken to arguing that even anti-Semitism isn’t anti-Semitism but, to put it in academese, a permissible form of discourse about power and privilege.

You hardly need a Ph.D. to know what all of it means. It means that it’s now OK for the students and professors of our finest universities and colleges—and, by extension, for all of polite society—to entertain vile stereotypes that, as recently as five or 10 years ago, were on display nowhere outside the Sieg Heil! fringes of the rabid right.

The first lesson is that it’s time to do away with the anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism debate. Whatever its intellectual merits are, or were, it’s largely irrelevant in an environment scorched by the flames of prejudice masquerading as thought. To ponder minute differences when students are fulsomely supporting the sort of stuff that would’ve made Henry Ford blush is like debating nautical safety long after the iceberg has been introduced to the Titanic’s hull.

…Those who believe Jews control the media and the banks, or that it’s OK to respectfully debate whether or not they do, make no distinction between the good, enlightened Jews who wash their hands of Israel and the bad ones, who have the temerity of adhering to their faith and their nationality like any other normal people in the world. And those Jews who believe that their liberal sophistication will somehow save them from the wrath of bigotry should strongly reconsider: Never send to know for whom the anti-Semites troll; they troll for thee.


Why Are Jews the Only Minority We Don’t Protect On College Campuses?

– Michael Sitver

Last week, some students at University of Chicago, where I attend, proposed a resolution to our College Council to divest from Chinese weapons manufacturers, in protest of China’s severe human rights abuses and its long-standing occupation of Tibet. Members of the council were quick to condemn the resolution, and for good reason. The members noted it was political, and disrespectful to Chinese students. Other members noted that Chinese students should be given time to respond to the presenters with a counter-presentation. One representative even suggested that the College Council issue an apology to Chinese students for even considering the resolution. The resolution was tabled indefinitely.

Curiously, when a few weeks earlier the same College Council passed a nearly identical resolution condemning Israel, no one suggested an apology. These same representatives argued why it was their moral imperative to condemn Israel. …Over the past few weeks I have been told that Jews “don’t count” as a minority. I have been accused of using anti-semitism to justify oppression.

All I want to know is why my campus doesn’t treat anti-semitism with the same rigor with which it treats any other forms of bias. When Jews stood before the council, and asked that it recognize the Jewish right to self-determination, a basic right for all people, people in the room laughed. One representative noted that “If we were to affirm the right to Jewish self-determination … it takes away from the intent of the resolution”.

Students in the room that day called us racists and murderers and “apartheid supporters”, for even thinking we, as Jews, could have a voice in the discussion over the one small state we call our own.

A Jewish student was chided “You are racist and you are against me and my family’s existence”… At one point, a student questioned the presenters, members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), about their organization allegedly holding a moment of silence for Palestinians who were killed while trying to murder Jewish civilians. One of the presenters confirmed the moment, then responded without missing a beat “Palestinians have a right to honor their martyrs”.

If the killing of any other ethnic group had been celebrated, the University would make grief counselors available. It would send out mass emails of condemnation. They would suspend the organization responsible, and possibly the students involved in it. The organization would certainly not have any credibility to present to the student government.

Since the victims were Jews though, their celebration of murder went unchallenged.

On the third slide of the presentation in favor of the resolution, presenters claimed that voting against the resolution would mean “maintaining a system of domination by Jews”.

The presenters were relying on one of the most common, long-standing, overtly anti-semitic tropes to make their case, and our representatives said nothing.

…Their coldness in minimizing the struggles of Jews, living with a legacy of being expelled and exterminated, was mind-boggling to me.

This week is Yom Hashoah, which commemorates the six million Jews that were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. On this day of remembrance, we say “Never forget. Never again”. Yom Hashoah also commemorates an international commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Sadly, fifty-three years after this day was first honored, we seem to be forgetting those lessons. As a campus we’re remarkably tolerant of gender, race, and sexuality in general. Why is it that we’re so uncaring about this one, very real form of racism?

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