California Students Fear Rise of New Antisemitism

Antisemitism become a growing concern for Jewish college students across the country, particularly for those who are enrolled in the University of California school system.

Citing several incidents that have taken place over the past year at UCLA and other UC schools, students have begun expressing their concerns more openly.

Speaking with local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles Fox 11, UCLA Hillel Rabbi Aaron Lerner said students have begun to understand that “Jews are being treated differently on campus.”

Several incidents over the past year have shed a light on the rise in anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment. The most recent incident involves actress Mayim Bialik, who is Jewish, and who recently took to social media to answer those who condemned her for being pro-Israel.

According to local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles Fox 11, Bialik posted the following message on her Facebook wall: “For those of you who refuse to follow me and discourage others from doing so because I am a Zionist (as if that’s a crime!!), I highly recommend you look up Zionist in the dictionary….”

Her posting was met with reactions both in favor of and against her views. One response, which was particularly obscene, came from a student at UCLA, Bilalik’s alma mater. The student reportedly wrote that Jews were “troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction” and called for all Jews to go “back to Israel.”

The anti-Israel culture at UCLA has also been blamed for a rise in antisemitism, along with the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement, a global campaign which is virulently anti-Israel.

Arielle Yael Mokhtarzadeh, an Iranian-American Jewish student at UCLA, told Fox 11 that the “conversations about Israel have made these people [BDS supporters] feel they are somehow justified in sharing these hateful sentiments.”

In February of last year, UCLA student Rachel Beyda was rejected from her candidacy for a student office by four of 14 members of the student council, allegedly based solely on her religious affiliation: Judaism. Beyda was eventually elected to join the board by a unanimous vote.

One month later, Stanford University student Molly Horowitz was asked whether her Jewish faith would affect her ability to serve in the student Senate. “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?” she was asked.

This past November, a Jewish student named Daniel Bernstein from the University of California Santa Cruz was pushed to abstain from voting on an anti-Israel resolution seeking divestment from the Jewish state over fears that he was “elected by a Jewish agenda.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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