Taking Back America

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Targeting Jews in the Ivory Sewer

From FrontPage Mag
April 15, 2016 | Kenneth Levin

A safe space for Jew-hatred.


Reports of anti-Semitic acts on American campuses suggest that the nation’s universities and colleges are likely today the chief institutional repository of anti-Semitism in the United States.
As one recent study notes: “A survey of U.S. Jewish college students by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law revealed that 54% of surveyed students reported experiencing or witnessing instances of anti-Semitism on campus during the first six months of the 2013-2014 academic year. Another survey by Brandeis University in the spring of 2015 found that three-quarters of North American Jewish college student respondents had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric…”

The same study also notes that, in addition to encountering anti-Semitic rhetoric, Jewish students have been the targets of “physical assault, harassment, destruction of property, discrimination and suppression of speech.” The Brandeis University survey found that “one-third of students… reported having been harassed because they were Jewish.”

The study citing these data was conducted by the AMCHA Initiative, and AMCHA Initiative’s own findings appear in the organization’s “Report on Anti-Semitic Activity in 2015 at U.S. Colleges and Universities With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations.” The AMCHA Initiative report looks more particularly at the strong correlation between the presence of anti-Israel groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on campuses, as well as anti-Israel activity such as that of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and campus anti-Semitism.

The correlation is hardly surprising, since much of SJP’s activities on campus – including the agenda of SJP guest speakers at events underwritten by colleges and universities – consists of demonizing Israel, denying Jewish history and Jews’ right to national self-determination, and advocating for anti-Israel entities such as HAMAS, which explicitly calls not only for the annihilation of Israel but for the murder of all Jews. The BDS movement likewise seeks to delegitimize and undermine Israel’s existence and grossly distorts the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and leading BDS supporters have acknowledged that the movement’s ultimate goal is the dissolution of the Jewish state.

Nor is that goal particularly hidden, nor for that matter in need of being hidden, in much of American academia. Indeed, in March, 2012, Harvard University hosted a “One State Conference” at the Kennedy School where speaker after speaker called for dismantling Israel and attacked those promoting its continued existence. According to the Harvard Crimson, the conference was organized by campus groups Justice for Palestine, the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Palestine Caucus, the Arab Caucus, the Progressive Caucus and the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East.

Why are colleges and universities tolerating an epidemic of anti-Semitic acts on their campuses, and the activities of groups that directly or indirectly promote such acts? At a time when there is so much campus sensitivity about so-called micro-aggressions and the need to render campuses safe spaces for those students who feel victimized, when even seemingly innocuous statements or actions by fellow students or faculty members can lead to punitive measures against them should someone respond by feeling aggrieved, why are the macro-aggressions against Jews on campus allowed to continue with little consequence for the perpetrators?

In fact anti-Jewish aggression is more than tolerated. Faculty members commonly use the classroom to join in the demonization of Israel and its supporters, and do so as well in visiting lectures on other campuses and in other venues.  Just as the AMCHA Initiative study found a correlation between the level of BDS activity on a campus and the level of campus anti-Semitism, so too did the study find “a strong correlation between the presence and number of faculty who have expressed public support for an academic boycott of Israel and occurrence of overall anti-Semitism, as well as strong associations with each kind of anti-Semitic activity independently.” The BDS movement’s goal – however often disingenuously cloaked in claims of high-minded and benign intent – is Israel’s dissolution. The movement’s delegitimization of Jewish national self-determination and its demonization of those who support Israel is conveyed by its faculty proponents no less than by its student devotees, and so it should again come as no surprise that the former stoke campus hostility towards Jews just as the latter do.

But it is not simply individual faculty members that target Israel. Entire departments, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, do so, both via sponsoring anti-Israel activities on campus and by advocating support of BDS by their national associations.

Nearly a dozen academic associations have endorsed the academic boycotting of Israel. Resolutions to this effect were passed, for example, by the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association. One major academic group, the American Anthropological Association, will be voting on a boycott resolution this month, and another, the Middle East Studies Association, voted to have its membership consider such a resolution.

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