Growing Intimidation on Campus
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




Growing Intimidation on Campus

Growing Intimidation on Campus

Jewish students tell university administrators: stop hiding.

by and

When an African American student at San Jose State University who was racially harassed and bullied by his dormitory roommates came forward, university, county, and state officials began an investigation. Within days, prosecutors labeled it a hate crime, battery charges were filed against three of the roommates, and the university had suspended them. Within weeks, California State Assembly Speaker John Perez announced the creation of a Select Committee on Campus Climate, to look into this incident and find a way to prevent others like it.

When a white male threw a beer at Trinity College sophomore Juan Hernandez and yelled, “Get off our campus,” Trinity launched an investigation and charges were brought against the perpetrator.

When anti-gay remarks were written on message boards that hang on dorm-room doors, Elizabethtown College began an investigation, engaged the FBI, and disciplinary action was taken.

Jewish students are bullied by fellow students and also professors.

Compare that to the situation for Jewish students. Over the last several years, Jewish students on campuses across the country have been physically, emotionally, and intellectually harassed, intimidated, threatened and bullied – not only by their fellow students but also by some of their professors.

• Anti-Israel student activists at the University of Michigan last month hurled death threats at Jewish student council members and called them “dirty Jew” and “kike.”

• At University of California, Berkeley, a Jewish girl holding an “Israel Wants Peace” sign was ramrodded with a shopping cart by the head of Students for Justice in Palestine.

• At Harvard University, the Palestine Security Committee frightened Jewish students by placing mock eviction notices on their dormitory rooms.

• At Northeastern University in Boston, Students for Justice in Palestine vandalized a menorah and disrupted Jewish events.

• At San Francisco State University this past fall, the General Union of Palestine Students hosted an all-day event where participants could make posters and t-shirts that said, “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers,” meaning Jews.

• And just last week, at New York University, pro-Palestinian students slipped “eviction notices” under the doors of 2,000 undergrads, scaring Jewish students and parents.

Aggressive Confrontations

The first major source for anti-Jewish sentiment on campus is members of the Muslim and pro-Palestinian student organizations. For more than a decade, these groups have sponsored speakers, films, exhibits, and guerrilla theater that engage in discourse or use imagery and language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department. These student groups have also been responsible for aggressively confronting students at pro-Israel events and threatening, physically harassing, and assaulting Jewish students.

Over the past couple of years, the groups have also promoted campaigns to boycott Israel or companies that do business with Israel. These campaigns are accompanied by talks, rallies, and exhibits containing anti-Semitic imagery, rhetoric, and actions. Jewish students have reported fearing for their safety in the days leading up to and after the campaigns, saying they were “continuously intimidated” and “repeatedly threatened.”

Faculty Participation

The second source of anti-Israel sentiment on campus is faculty. In classrooms and at departmentally sponsored events, faculty members have advanced lies and distortions about Zionism, Israel, and Jews, and advocated the elimination of the Jewish State. Although their rhetoric is unscholarly, politically motivated, and even at times anti-Semitic, these professors have wrapped themselves in the mantle of academic freedom, making it very difficult to challenge.

• For four years, David Klein, a mathematics professor at California State University, Northridge, has been using his university’s server to promote his Web pages calling for the economic, academic and cultural boycott of Israel. His Web pages contain a litany of false and inflammatory statements and photographs intended to incite hatred and promote political activism against the Jewish State.

Barghouti says that Israeli soldiers “murder children for sport.”

• David Lloyd is a professor of English at University of California, Riverside. In January, he organized an event on his campus that featured Omar Barghouti, the founder and most vocal advocate for the campaign to boycott Israel. Barghouti accused Israeli soldiers of “hunting children,” saying that soldiers “entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.” He also accused “Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups” of “buying and paying for the allegiance of Congress” and controlling the media. Course credit was dangled to students in eight courses for attending Barghouti’s hate speech.

• At NYU, Prof. Lisa Duggan hosted a conference for students that constituted nothing more than a platform for 21 anti-Israel activists to spew their hatred of the Jewish state and promote a boycott intended to hasten its elimination. Fully aware of its unscholarly, anti-Semitic, politically motivated purpose, Duggan wrote on Facebook, “PLEASE DO NOT post or circulate the flyer. We are trying to avoid press, protestors and public attention.”

Fear of Reprisal

The impact of this academic Israel-bashing on students has been enormous. Students have reported feeling emotionally and intellectually harassed and intimidated by their professors, to the point that they are reluctant or afraid to express a view that is not anti-Israel in their classes. They are often afraid to come forward and confront the professor or complain to the university for fear of retaliation.

Sadly, Jewish students who have spoken out have been vilified and attacked for even trying to call attention to the anti-Semitic behavior they are experiencing. For example, at a University of California, Davis anti-Israel “occupation” rally last November, a student who expressed concern about the anti-Semitic banners displayed at the protest was physically assaulted by a protestor who screamed in his face, “You are racist and you should die in hell.”

Who bears the most blame for the tsunami of campus anti-Semitism? University administrators. Distressingly, administrators routinely turn a blind eye to this long-standing and pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry and ignore Jewish students’ pleas for help. Language and behavior that would never be tolerated from students or faculty when directed against other campus minorities goes unchallenged by administrators when directed against Jewish students. The primary responsibility for addressing campus anti-Semitism rests with university administrators. Unfortunately, they are missing in action when it comes to protecting Jewish students rights and ensuring their safety.

Administrators: It’s time to stop hiding.

Published: May 5, 2014


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 21

(17) Gary J. Schuster, May 14, 2014 9:42 PM

Another one of those students

I also attended the University of Michigan but at the Dearborn campus. I had to be very careful about revealing my being Jewish since that campus is very pro-muslim. If I was not careful, it could have meant my life. This is no joke or exaggeration.When the desire to placate a group of people goes way too far, serious problems can and do occur. Some of my professors knew who I was and I received no problems from them. However, young muslim students run the campus and have areas in the library set aside for their worship. Tolerance turns to submission and control switches to those who were tolerated. Blessed be HaShem who is in control of all!

(16) anon, May 14, 2014 4:54 PM

This is very important - we need a knowledge base to deal with it

The "left" is very into this right now.
Unfortunately, old zionist talking points (e.g.: land w/o people for people w/o land) many learned years ago oversimplified the reality, which is complex and nuanced.
We need valid/legitimate talking points. there should be a knowledge base somewhere (perhaps on this site, but, not sure it's the right place - but, if there is no other, then I guess it would have to be here) where people can educate themselves. If your goal was to be mekarev a college student, you might first find today that you needed to be well versed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issues to be able to open a dialog. If they have bought into the Palestinian propaganda, there can be a big wall in front of you.

So for example, Israel is constantly attacked as an apartheid state - which sounds like an interesting line of attack coming from Palestinians who would seem to prefer their state to be Judenrein. (or, would they accept dhimmis happily, just not allow Israeli citizens to live there?) Where exactly would they draw the line? Where ever it is, is seems far below the treatment Arab citizens receive in Israel.

(15) Inbar, May 11, 2014 2:38 PM

Our stay in Exile is ending as Hashem promised

Leaving exile and going home to Israel is not out of fear, it is simply because this galut is close to its end.
It may be very difficult to leave the place where you have vested interests, hopes and dreams - especially when you have fully bought into the American dream, are succesful in it or hope to be, and expect it to continue for a long, long time. Enjoy the American dream while it lasts. It is already souring. The worldwide rise of antisemitism is a strong signal for us to go home.
Only Israel is our permanent home, in all other countries we are only temporarily.
The wise course of action is to move now with our assets to our permanent home, and do all our investing there. Whether in material assets or in dreams.

(14) Dr. Donna, May 11, 2014 2:22 PM

Student and parent response

I encourage students, parents, and faculty to file police reports with each incident, and if needed, hire an attorney and prosecute. The idea about publicizing each event is wonderful.

We need students to keep well-informed and articulate each act of terror as it occurs, and we need to contact our law makers for more anti-hate legislation and legislation to stop funding campus groups that sponsor hate and academic boycotts. One last 'we need' - we need to boycott faculty and their publications.

(13) Michy, May 10, 2014 3:03 PM

Stop donating

All occurrences of anti-semitism should be publicized. The media may not care but some stories will get through. And stop donating! Money and reputation are all the universities care about so if alumni stop donating, the universities will have to listen.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!