Jewish college students awoke Monday morning to the news that they are not alone in their experiencing anti-Semitism at school.
A study released by Trinity College and Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law found that 54 percent of Jewish students surveyed reported instances of anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. This revelation came on the heels of reports that members of the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association opposed a Jewish student’s committee appointment simply because she was a Jew.
But as the headline suggests, this story has a happy ending.
The text of the legislation calls the Jewish State “one of the most stable countries in the Middle East, and the country with the highest ratings in freedom, human rights, and democracy in the region.” The resolution outlines the academic advantages for UGA students studying in Israel, noting that the Jewish State is a “global leader in science and technology research and is home to a world-renowned business environment with the most startups per capita in the world.”
“We are here to show the university community that the pro-Israel movement on campus is strong and vibrant, and this resolution is just one example,” SSI co-presidents Eytan Palte and Lara Schewitz told the Salomon Center via Facebook. “Hopefully, this resolution is just the beginning of strengthening the relationship between UGA students and Israel, and we look forward to doing all within our capabilities to help this relationship grow and prosper. Our goal is to shed a positive light on Israel and show the community the success of her thriving democracy and diversity.”
In an exclusive statement to the Salomon Center, Roz Rothstein, CEO of the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, congratulated SSI UGA, adding, “It’s refreshing to see that while extremists push their anti-Israel agenda on campuses, students at the university took a strong pro-active stance in support of cooperation with Israel. We look forward to seeing more and more student campaigns in support of peace, justice, and partnership between Israel and America.”
On the same day UGA was showing their support for Israel, students at the world’s largest Christian institution of higher learning, Liberty University, amended their constitution to read, “The SGA [Student Government Association]… will not entertain BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] legislation targeted at the Israeli state, or its people, or legislation of similar intent.”
“At Liberty University we stand with Israel because as Christians, as Americans, and as individuals focused on freedom and human rights, there is no alternative. I hope that other students will see what LU has done and follow suit. Across the country we’ve seen BDS repeatedly rear its ugly head. That stops now,” said Chelsea Andrews, LU senior class president.
Andrews received activist training from Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization.
“The days of the pro-Israel community playing defense against the BDS movement are over,” CUFI Executive Director, David Brog told the Salomon Center. “The time has come for us to go on offense. We are going to proudly make the case for the justice of Israel. And we are going to loudly expose the supporters of BDS for the hypocritical bigots they really are.”
As pro-Israel voices rang out in the southern part of the country, the news out of the progressive Promised Land, Berkeley, California, was uncharacteristically supportive of the Jewish people.
On Wednesday, the student government of the University of California at Berkeley unanimously passed legislation condemning anti-Semitism.
As reported by JNS.org:
The bill details a history of anti-Semitic incidents in the 10-school UC system over the past five years and states that the ASUC “should respect the right of the Jewish students at UC Berkeley to define, within the guidelines of the nationally recognized definition put forth by the U.S. State Department, what is and is not anti-Semitism, in the same manner in which other communities are granted that right.”
The State Department defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions, and religious facilities.”
A pro-Israel activist, who asked not to be identified, told the Salomon Center:
It’s wonderful to finally hear some positive news about anti-Semitism coming from a UC campus. But if you really think about it, it’s a shandeh (Yiddish: shame) that things have gotten so bad for Jewish students on college campuses, that a student government feels the need to pass a resolution to remind people that it’s wrong to hate Jews.