Anti-Zionist Anti-Semitic Attacks on Campus Get Uglier—and More Frightening for Students
Dear Friend of FLAME:
A new report documents a shocking increase in anti-Zionist anti-Semitism on American college campuses, which makes it more uncomfortable and downright dangerous for pro-Israel Jewish students.
My blood ran cold recently while watching a video showing a female Arab student—a member of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at UC San Diego—questioning David Horowitz, president of the Freedom Center, about his assertion of connections between the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood and the MSA.
Before answering the woman’s question, Horowitz identifies himself as a Jew and asks if she supports Hamas. She refuses to answer because, she claims,”I could be arrested” by Homeland Security.
Horowitz then quotes Lebanese Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah as saying “he hopes all Jews will gather in Israel, so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally.” He asks the woman, “For it or against it?” She hesitates a beat, then leans into the microphone and softly says, “For it.”
Horowitz is a tough, seasoned pro-Israel speaker, and he was brilliant in coaxing the woman to reveal her genocidal feelings toward Jews so brashly. Indeed, hateful Arab anti-Semites, ultra-leftists and, increasingly, “progressives” are precisely the kinds of people attacking American Jewish students these days. Unfortunately, today’s Jewish students are not as well equipped as Horowitz at withstanding and responding to these attacks.
While most anti-Semitic incidents on campus are of the right-wing, “Swastika grafitti” variety, the more physically and socially frightening attacks come from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its insidious intersectionalist allies, such as Black Lives Matter and other ethnic and feminist organizations, which increasingly seem to say, No Jews allowed in our groups.
Which brings us to this week’s featured FLAME Hotline article (see below) by Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, founder and director of AMCHA Initiative, an organization that combats anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.
Rossman-Benjamin’s research exposes an explosion of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist attacks on campus. She argues that the ostracization and violent silencing of pro-Israel Jewish students is a blatant violation of their civil rights, which too many college administrators either actively or tacitly permit.
I hope you’ll forward this disquieting research to friends, family and fellow congregants to help them understand that anti-Semitic attacks on too many American campuses have reached critical mass—and they demand immediate redress by college administrators, or, if necessary, law enforcement. One can too easily compare this treatment of today’s Jewish students to conditions in Germany in 1938.
I hope you’ll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which describes one of FLAME’s hasbarah campaigns to oppose BDS and its attempt to crush free speech and academic freedom. I hope you agree with and will support this message.
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
||FLAME has been publishing messages about the anti-Semitic nature of the BDS movement for more than ten years. I invite you to review our most recent editorial message on this topic—”BDS, Academic Freedom and Anti-Semitism“—which has run in mainstream magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel’s behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME’s powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. support of Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you’ll consider giving a donation now, as you’re able-with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that the American people, the U.S. Congress and President Trump stay focused on the importance of protecting Jewish students from the hateful motives of the BDS movement and its evil intersectional cousins.
As of today, more than 15,000 Israel supporters receive the FLAME Hotline at no charge every week. If you’re not yet a subscriber, won’t you join us in receiving these timely updates, so you can more effectively tell the truth about Israel? Just go to free subscription.
Anti-Zionist attacks at universities have increased—yet schools aren’t doing anything
By Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, The Hill, August 17, 2018
A few months ago, a professor at San Francisco State University posted to her program’s Facebook page that welcoming Zionists to campus is “a declaration of war against Arabs, Muslims, [and] Palestinians.” Soon after, graffiti and flyers showed up all over campus stating, “Zionists Are Not Welcome On This Campus.”
At a University of Illinois rally against white supremacy, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine led a large crowd in chanting, “No Zionists, no KKK, resisting fascism all the way!”
At New York University, 53 student groups pledged to boycott NYU’s pro-Israel clubs and refuse to co-sponsor events with them. The president of Students for Justice in Palestine stated, “Our point is to make being Zionists uncomfortable on the NYU campus.”
New research recently conducted by our organization found that because of their presumed support for Israel, Jewish students on dozens of campuses have been openly targeted for vilification, destruction of property, disruption of events, and exclusion from participation in campus activities, with incidents of Israel-related ostracization and discrimination more than doubling from 2015 to 2017.
And such acts are not only increasing in frequency but in brazenness, with open calls for the boycott, and even expulsion, of Jewish and pro-Israel students and student groups from campus jumping from 3 incidents in 2015 and 4 in 2016, to 14 incidents in 2017 and 18 in the first half of 2018 alone.
Anti-Israel campus activities are no longer intent on harming Israel, but increasingly, and alarmingly, they are intent on harming pro-Israel members of the campus community.
Our study also found that while acts of classic anti-Semitism (e.g. swastika graffiti, neo-Nazi fliers, vandalism of Jewish religious objects, etc.) made up the vast majority of incidents on campus, it was the Israel-related incidents, which were far more likely to directly target Jewish and pro-Israel students for harm, that contributed the lion’s share of hostility to the campus climate.
Jewish students themselves confirmed these findings. At San Francisco State University, a Jewish student reported that as a result of years of Israel-related harassment, “[t]he atmosphere on campus is beyond difficult or upsetting, it has evolved into something frightening and ugly.”
A Jewish student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign related that after a registered student organization declared ‘there is no room for Zionists’ at the university, Jewish students “reported being harassed, targeted and feeling unsafe.” A Jewish student leader at New York University stated, “When the open goal is to make me personally as a Zionist feel uncomfortable on campus, things start to feel unsafe.”
Unfortunately, despite the alarming increase in both the quantity and severity of these acts, university administrators have on the whole been unresponsive, often chalking up Israel-related harassment to political free speech that does not warrant university intervention.
Jewish and pro-Israel students are quick to point out, however, that administrators frequently apply an egregiously unfair double standard, giving a “free speech” pass to the perpetrators of anti-Zionist harassment while swiftly condemning and firmly disciplining the perpetrators of identical acts of harassment directed at students protected by state and federal anti-discrimination law. Consider, for example, how promptly and vigorously university administrators would respond to members of a registered student organization chanting hate language to other minority organizations.
The rights to freedom of expression and full participation in campus life are bedrock values of any college or university that no individual student can be denied. Yet Jewish students targeted because of their presumed support for Israel, and all other students who do not fall within the protected categories etched out by anti-discrimination law, are routinely denied these rights by university administrators, as harassing behavior that suppresses their speech and excludes them from campus activities is allowed to continue unabated.
This structural inequity is untenable. Not only does it leave an unacceptable number of students feeling vulnerable, unsafe and without basic civil rights, but by impeding a free and diverse exchange of ideas it erodes the very underpinnings of higher education.
University leaders and state and federal legislators must acknowledge that peer-on-peer harassment is more than just a form of identity-motivated discrimination. Harassment is harassment. The effect of this type of abhorrent intolerant and exclusionary behavior on students is the same, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim.
Jewish students, and all students, deserve access to an education free from harassment. Behavior that suppresses any student’s right to freely express themselves, learn from their professors and peers and fully participate in campus life must be addressed, and it must be addressed equitably. University policies and state and federal legislation must be amended to reflect this reality and protect all students, fairly and equally.