An epidemic of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel harassment is spreading through university communities across the country. A Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) to weaken the state of Israel in the face of enemies who have sworn its destruction is being organized and run from college campuses. Thirty universities are currently providing the locations and funding for Israel Apartheid Weeks and “Apartheid Walls” designed to demonize the Jewish state and false portray Jews as occupiers of Palestinian lands and oppressors of Palestinian peoples.
In conjunction with these campaigns there has been a spate of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish students. This past February, members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity house at the University of Maryland whose members are approximately 60% Jewish found a swastika painted on their house along with other vulgar imagery. This past November, a rock was thrown through the window of the Hillel Jewish Student Center on the campus of the University of Indiana in Bloomington. Other episodes of swastikas appearing on the doors of Jewish students are numerous.
But some brave Jewish students have begun to fight back.
At UC-Berkeley, 21-year-old student Jessica Felber was injured when Husam Zakharia, leader of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), deliberately rammed into her with a shopping cart. At the time of the assault, Felber was holding a sign stating “Israel Wants Peace.” She has filed suit against the University for failing to provide a safe environment.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recently opened a major investigation into similar claims of anti-Semitism at the University of California Santa Cruz. The OCR investigation was sparked by the complaint of Santa Cruz lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin who alleged that the University failed to address “A long-standing and pervasive pattern of discrimination against Jewish students at my university.” Rossman-Benjamin went on to detail how at Santa Cruz, “Israel-bashing occurs in classes that have nothing to do with Israel, Zionism, or the conflict in the Middle East” and how this creates an environment where students feel “emotionally and intellectually harassed and intimidated.”
The Office of Civil Rights found merit in Rossman-Benjamin’s allegations, stating in their initial assessment that “OCR has identified the following issue: [Santa Cruz] failed to take steps in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to respond to notice of a then existing hostile environment for Jewish students.”
The perception encouraged by the mainstream media and held by society generally is that anti-Semitism is a crime of the past, but official FBI statistics show that Jews are eight times more likely to be the victim of a hate crime than are Muslims who are the chief sponsors of the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel “Apartheid Weeks” held on campuses across the nation each spring.
Spurred by these egregious examples of an anti-Semitic culture on college campuses, the David Horowitz Freedom Center is collecting examples of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment on college campuses with an eye to fighting back by taking appropriate legal action.
If you have personally experienced or are aware of such harassment or intimidation on your campus, whether from direct contact with professors or administrators, or from anti-Semitic and anti-Israel displays and demonstrations on campus, please let the Freedom Center know. It is crucial that we collect evidence and publicize these outrages so that we can adequately confront the hate. Please submit your complaint using the form below or email Sara Dogan at Sara@horowitzfreedomcenter.org. No complaints will be published without your written consent.