Alarming Spike in Campus Antisemitism Linked to Hatred for Israel

Swastika at Stanford (Courtesy)

A study released by the AMCHA Initiative details an alarming spike in campus antisemitism during the first half of 2016, and specifically nearly 100 more additional incidents of anti-Zionism — hatred for the Jewish state of Israel — during that time period compared with the same period of time last year.

According to the report, there were “287 incidents involving either targeting of Jewish students for harm, antisemitic expression, BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) activity, or some combination of these incidents” at more than half of the 113 schools that are most popular with Jewish students, from January to June 2016.

The study also reveals that antisemitism is twice as likely to occur on campuses where the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement was present and active; eight to nine times more likely to occur at schools with at least one active anti-Zionist student group like SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine); and six more times likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty members who supports and endorses the BDS movement. All of these increase the likelihood that Jewish students will be targeted for harm.

The data was collected from 113 schools throughout the United States, including public and private colleges, with the highest percentages of Jewish students. The report notes that information was attained from “reviewing submitted incident reports, media accounts, social media postings and on-line recordings. In addition, the presence or absence of active anti-Zionist students groups and the number of faculty who had signed one or more petitions or statements endorsing an academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars, were noted for each school.”

AMCHA’s director, Tammi Rossman Benjamin, told Breitbart News that the rise in antisemitism on college campuses “is clearly linked to a certain kind of anti-Zionist activity. It’s almost beyond the shadow of a statistical doubt.” She cited Columbia and Vassar as two schools with the most dramatic uptick in antisemitic incidents. “Columbia went from from 2 incidents in 2015 to 20 in the fist half of 2016,” Benjamin said. She added that Vassar went from 5 to 30 incidents in the same period of time. “In almost every case, what accounts for that increase is some consideration of a divestment resolution in the student senate and the campaigns that go along with that are really filled with antisemitic activity.”

In order to address this startling rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, Benjamin said the AMCHA Initiative is asking that university administrators address antisemitism, in all of its forms, “with the same vigor as they address racism and bigotry. Antisemitism is not on the radar right now.”

“It’s a real problem for Jews who consider themselves on the left but are not anti-Zionist,” she noted. “And, of course, there are some anti-Zionist Jews who are thrust to be the face of the anti-Zionist movement because they are used to cover for the antisemitism inherent in that movement.”

She noted further, “one of the things we are seeing in general in reports from students is that they are being excluded and shunned from Black Lives Matter movement. Jewish students are told they can’t participate just because they are Jews and presumed to be aligned with Israel or Zionism. They are assumed to be part of the oppressor group.”


While others have stated that Israel is held to a higher standard, Benjamin said she wouldn’t call it that because “higher standard” is seen in a positive context. Instead, she said “Israel is held to a hypocritical double-standard. It’s an obsessive focus.”

California in particular has experienced several antisemitic incidents on campuses, both public and private, over the last several years.

As Breitbart News noted in January:

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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