THIS IS A CRUCIAL MOMENT!
In light of an alarming increase in antisemitic activity on University of California campuses, it is imperative the UC system adopts the current U.S. State Department definition of antisemitism at the upcoming Regents meeting.
This definition addresses the unique nature of contemporary Jew hatred by recognizing that language or behavior which demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state or denies its right to exist crosses the line into antisemitism. Such a definition is essential for adequately understanding and identifying antisemitism as experienced by Jewish students today.
AMCHA has been chronicling Jewish student experiences on campus. Our “Student Voices” Webpage (see below) has documented published personal testimonials from 100+ students in only a year and a half!
On UC campuses, students have reported:
“I no longer feel as though UC Davis is a completely safe environment for Jewish students or a place where I can feel free to express my support for Israel.” – UC Davis
“These attacks on my identity and rights to self-determination have not only affected me emotionally, but have had devastating effects on my academics and have hindered my purpose on this campus – to be a student.” – UCLA
“For the first time in my life, I felt that my identity, an unchangeable part of who I am, was under attack and my entire existence as a Jew was being questioned.” – UC Santa Barbara
Defining antisemitism will provide a necessary tool for identifying and addressing antisemitic activity on UC campuses.
Antisemitic rhetoric is not against the law, but it is bigotry, and it should be identified and called out as such by administrators with the same promptness and vigor as all other forms of racial, ethnic and gender bigotry. Jewish students must be afforded the same protections as all other students at the University of California.
Please SIGN OUR NEW UC STAKEHOLDER PETITION, and share it with other UC stakeholders (alumni, donors, students, parents, taxpayers, etc).
If you are an attorney, please sign this ATTORNEYS PETITION.
100+ JEWISH STUDENTS REPORT FEELING FRIGHTENED, TARGETED AND INTIMIDATED
As the school year comes to a close, AMCHA Initiative announced today a webpage devoted to sharing personal accounts from students who have experienced antisemitism on campus. The webpage details hundreds of student concerns from 47 colleges and universities in 20 states.
We hope our compilation of published concerns shared by brave Jewish students over the past year-and-a-half will help university leaders and elected officials understand the breadth of the problem and take action. Adopting the State Department definition of anti-Semitism to better identify and educate against contemporary Jew-hatred is a critical step.
A few excerpts from students include:
“I don’t want to wear my Jewish star on campus…I don’t want to wear anything that has Israel on it or any connection to Judaism at all. I don’t want to have a target on my back” – Kean University
“I am terrified knowing I may not be able to discuss my Judaism without taunts, or worse, violence.” – Northwestern University
“Some people see my Star of David and brand me as someone toxic, someone worthy of their disdain and vitriol.” – University of Washington
“This [divestment] campaign has made Israel and students who support Israel as ‘the other,’ through intimidation, mistruth and alienation.” – Marquette University
“I had never in my life, ever experienced anti-Semitism first hand until this past year when I witnessed Professor Alam and Professor Sullivan display an age old hatred against the Jewish people…No one should have to experience hatred like this in their learning environment.” – Northeastern University
“I couldn’t leave my house and I was so riddled with anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.” – Rutgers University
“As a Jewish student on this campus, and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I was disgusted and horrified by the anti-Semitic comments on Yik Yak.” – San Diego State University
“I feel like I am being attacked because I wear my Star of David out in public, I wear shirts with the word Israel on it or shirts with Hebrew lettering, I have Israel stickers on my laptop…[I have been] spit at…I have been called a terrorist, baby killer, woman killer, [told that] I use blood to make matzah and other foods, Christ killer, occupier, and much more…[a female student] looked at me with a straight face and said to ‘go burn in an oven’” – University of North Carolina
“Hillel staff are hearing numerous reports from students that they no longer feel safe at Stanford, feel ostracized and targeted, and are unable to express their identities and opinions in the dorms and around campus.” – Stanford University
“I’m tired of antisemitism being a completely normal occurrence, and people standing idly by because as long as they are only going after the Jews nobody cares.” – Temple University
“It was not just individual students who were the victims of violent threats and intimidation by pro-Palestinian forces. Student Government representative were similarly targeted and, most telling, called ‘kike’ and a ‘dirty Jew’…students were afraid to attend their classes because they felt unsafe.” – University of Michigan
“From their harassment of students participating in the spring break trip, to the Nazi incident and anti-Zionist rhetoric that verges on blood libel, SJP has done everything in its power to make Vassar an unsafe space for Jews.” – Vassar College
“About two months ago when SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) started the ‘DePaul Divest’ campaign, I no longer felt safe on this campus and I no longer felt I could be a proud Jewish student.” – DePaul University
“However naïve it may seem, I did not think I would be the target of anti-Semitism while attending a college with a substantial Jewish population. However, times have changed, and we’re faced with a new and difficult reality here on campus.” – Emory University
“I was told by a Palestinian student visiting FSU that …I am a racist, and a Nazi, and an imperialist who needs to check my white privilege… And I think for the first time in my adult life, I truly understood what it means to stare racism straight in the face.” – Florida State University
A full list of testimonials, organized alphabetically by school, can be seen HERE.
ARTICLES ABOUT OUR EFFORTS:
Jewish Journal – 6/22/15 –
Concern for UC Jewish students: An open letter to the Regents
San Jose Mercury News – 6/19/15 –
Thomas D. Elias column: UC Regents should set protest standards to prevent blatant anti-Semitism
Daily Caller – 6/11/15 –
Anti-Semitism Is Running Rampant At California’s Elite Public Universities
Forward – 6/10/15-
Could California Ban Anti-Israel Campus Protests as ‘Anti-Semitic’ Hate?
LA Times – 5/18/15 –
Definition of anti-Semitism provokes campus debates