Campus Monitor - University of Massachusetts Amherst

Student Voices

  • June 2, 2016 – University of Massachusetts Jewish Student (Jeremy) – “It was kind of the first time I ever had to experience not being safe as a community.” Read more
  • February 24, 2016 – U Mass Amherst Jewish Student (Jeremy) – “After [my] article was published, students started reaching out to me, maybe 15 or so people, sharing their antisemitic experiences on campus, name-calling, slurs. Some no longer wear Jewish symbols because they are so uncomfortable being identifiable as Jewish. A student who’d gone on the Birthright trip [to Israel] the previous summer told me that almost every student who went, something like 80 students, had reported antisemitic experiences on campus.” Read more
  • February 2, 2016 – University of Massachusetts Amherst Jewish Student (Jeremy) – “ At UMass there is no room for ideas that strive to kill, and our [UMass] community is teaching us not to be proud, but afraid of our Jewish identity.” Read more
  • February 2, 2016 – University of Massachusetts Amherst Jewish Student (Jeremy) – “I have experienced anti-Semitism on campus before, though none of it has been violent. I have had change thrown at me, both on campus and off campus.  People have made jokes about my nose, my major and more. I didn’t realize the number of other students who have had similar (and worse) experiences, even from just this past semester. Jewish students have been called kikes, an anti-Semitic slur, at the kosher dining section in Franklin Dining Commons, the only place on campus some Jews can eat, and in the very same snap story as these pictures, a video captioned “on my Jewish flow” showed a man picking up a coin.” Read more
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    Antisemitism Tracker

    Total Antisemitic Activity:

    To see more information on how AMCHA determines antisemitic activity, click HERE.
    To report a concern, click HERE.


    Classification Date-Description
    TARGETING JEWISH STUDENTS AND STAFF: GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    DENIGRATION;
    HISTORICAL
    3/25/16 – An antisemitic flier was distributed to networked printers and fax machines at at least 26 locations on campus. The flier had swastikas and said, “White Man are you Sick and Tired of the Jews Destroying Your Country through Mass Immigration and Degeneracy? Join Us in the Struggle for Global White Supremacy at the Daily Stormer.”
    GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    2/18/16 – Three swastikas were reported in one month on campus. One was found February 18, 2016 scratched into a metal bathroom door at Hasbrouck Laboratory near room 219. A swastika made out of snow left on the roof of a car parked in the Orchard Hill dorm area the week before. On Feb. 2, a swastika was reported etched into a bathroom stall in the Integrative Learning Center.
    GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    2/2/16 – A swastika was found etched into the side of a men’s bathroom stall on the fourth floor of the Integrated Learning Center, which is mutually shared by the journalism, linguistics and film studies departments.
    ANTISEMITIC EXPRESSION: DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    4/19/17 – As part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” SJP erected a mock “apartheid wall,” consisting of decorated sheet panels. One of the panels said in large letters, “What is BDS,” and included explanatory text endorsing BDS. The promotional text said students could come “learn about Israeli apartheid!”
    DELEGITIMIZATION 3/28/17 – As part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” SJP held the event, “Deconstructing the David Project” because, as explained in the advertisement for the event that delegitimized Israel, “UMass SJP opposes such trips, as they normalize and whitewash the apartheid reality of life for Palestinians.”
    DENY JEWS SELF-DETERMINATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (BDS VOTE)
    4/15/16 – The Graduate Employee Organization – United Automobile Workers discussed and passed a divestment resolution with a vote of 156 – 8. According to an article, they also voted down a resolution condemning antisemitism and antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism, as well as, “voted not to vote on a measure calling for the recognition of the Jewish right to self-determination insofar as any people have a right to self-determination and for Israel’s right to exist insofar as any state or nation has a right to exist.”
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    4/11/16 – “In an article in the school newspaper regarding the “Right to Education” tour, the author delegitimized Israel stating that 30 people came to hear about the effect on education under “Israeli colonialism,” and the VP of SJP stated that the purpose of the event was to, “get the word out about what’s happening in Palestine so that next year we can run a campaign for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)”
    CONDONING TERRORISM;
    DEMONIZATION
    4/5/16 – The Media Education Foundation sponsored an event on campus for a film screening of “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States.” In the film, several speakers condoned terrorism against Israelis by justifying all violence against Israel, including acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, as legitimate “resistance.” Many of the speakers demonized Israel, falsely accusing the Israeli government of “terrorism,” “murderous attacks,” and “acting like a monster,” and calling Israeli soldiers’ actions “inhumane” and “brutal.”
    CONDONING TERRORISM;
    DEMONIZATION
    4/5/16 – SJP sponsored a screening of the film, “The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States” which was promoted by both the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Communication. In the film, several speakers condoned terrorism against Israelis by justifying all violence against Israel, including acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, as legitimate “resistance.” Many of the speakers demonized Israel, falsely accusing the Israeli government of “terrorism,” “murderous attacks,” and “acting like a monster,” and calling Israeli soldiers’ actions “inhumane” and “brutal.” The screening was followed by a Q&A with Sut Jhally of the Department of Communication.
    HISTORICAL;
    DEMONIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (BDS EVENT)
    3/11/16 – “An event sponsored by UMass Department of Anthropology, Department of History, Department of Social Thought and Political Economy Program, American Studies Program, Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning, and Students for Justice in Palestine titled, “Israel, Palestine, and the Global War Against the People” with Jeff Halper was held. In his talk, Halper utilized historical antisemitic tropes of Jewish control, power and evil throughout his talk. He referred to “Jewish money” and Jews, “playing on the whole Jewish Victim thing.” He further demonized Israel claiming the country’s export specialty is in “weapons of repression” and that the, “Israelization process is happening in the police force. This Israelization is tested on Palestinian guinea pigs” that, “Europe has better be concerned they are not nuked by Israel” and that, “War against the Palestinians is Israel’s external laboratory…Amherst students need to realize they are being Palestinianized (Essentially alluding to Israel’s control reaching into Amherst)” Harper additionally called for BDS. “
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    3/3/16 – An advertisement for “Israeli Apartheid Week” falsely accused Israel of apartheid and supported BDS against Israel, stating that the purpose of the week’s events were ” to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians and to build support for the growing nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.”
    DEMONIZATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (BDS EVENT)
    3/3/16 – As part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” UMass SJP hosted the event, “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!” to screen the film with the same title. The film delegitimized Israel with speakers that falsely accused Israel of apartheid and colonialism. One speaker also accused Israel of being founded on the “genocide of the Palestinian people.” The film further promoted BDS.
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    1/27/16 – Umass Professor Aline Gubrium publically requested ‘Boycott Israeli Aparteid” stickers to distribute on Sabra products.
    DENYING JEWS SELF-DETERMINATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    10/27/15 – The University Union hosted a debate entitled “Opposing Views on Israel and Palestine,” which was sponsored by UMass SJP and Student Alliance for Israel. Two panelist members, Prof. Joseph Levine and Yousef Munayyer, engaged in antisemitic rhetoric. Professor Levine denied Jews self-determination, claiming “there is no right” to the “right of the Jewish people to settle in Palestine and set up a Jewish state,” “no legitimate right underpins the Zionist claim to a Jewish state in Palestine,” and that the Zionist enterprise…is not the right of self-determination of an oppressed people but European colonialism.” Yousef Munayyer denied Jews self-determination, stating that the “only way to peace is through dismantlement of exclusivist policies of the state of Israel,” and he delegitimized Israel by falsely accusing it of being an “apartheid system.” He further called for BDS, saying “BDS is necessary.”
    HISTORICAL;
    DENYING JEWS SELF-DETERMINATION;
    DEMONIZATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (BDS EVENT)
    4/16/15 – Steven Salaita delivered a talk sponsored by UMASS SJP that was part of a national speaking tour on more than 10 campuses. Large signs at the front of the room falsely accused Israel of apartheid and promoted BDS. In his talk, Salaita demonized Israel, falsely accusing it of barbarity, brutality and depravity, and of perpetrating war crimes and mass slaughter, and he delegitimized Israel by falsely accusing it of settler colonialism. Salaita also stated that he opposed Zionism and the notion of a Jewish state, and he falsely accused Zionists of making “phony claims of antisemitism” to mask Israel’s war crimes and shut down all criticism of Israel. In addition, Salaita touted his role as a founder of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and a promoter of the academic boycott at the American Studies Association meeting at which the boycott was endorsed. The talk was funded by the UMass Amherst Departments of English, History, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies, Amhers College Department of Anthropology and Sociology, the Native American Studies Certificate Program, the American Studies Program, Afro-American Studies, The Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program, The Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and American Friends Service Committee.
    DEMONIZATION 3/30/15 – Angela Davis gave a talk entitled “Sustaining Social Justice Movements and Intersectional Struggles,” sponsored by several UMass departments, administrative offices, and the student government. In her talk, Davis accused Israel of racism and antisemitism.
    BDS ACTIVITY: CALLS FOR BDS 4/27/16 – A group of professors wrote a letter in the school paper, The Daily Collegian, expressing support for the Graduate Employee Union’s adoption of a resolution to join BDS.
    CALLS FOR BDS 11/24/15 – In an op-ed in the student paper, SJP announced that it was campaigning to have Sabra products removed from campus retail stores.
    BDS EVENTS 3/24/15 – UMass SJP hosted a talk by Yousef Munayyer entitled “The BDS Imperative: Why Imposing Costs on Israel is Necessary.” Munayyer argued that calling for BDS is important.

     

    In the News ?

    December 12, 2016:
    The Massachusetts Daily Collegian – Hanan Ashrawi speaks on prospect of peace in Palestine
    (Description note, “Hanan Ashrawi, activist and academic, spoke at Amherst College on Dec. 8 about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the prospect of peace. The discussion, held in the Cole Assembly Room, was followed by a question and answer section…Ashrawi argued that there were three major features that characterize the modern peace process. “Firstly there is an emerging sense of impunity in the Israeli government, an emerging sense of exceptionalism and power that contributes to the dehumanization of the Palestinian,” she said.“Secondly is this divine right extremism, a compelling sense of messianic zeal. Along with that comes a distortion of history, rationalizing discrimination, and revisionist narratives,” she added. She finished with the third point, the “military definition of security.” Ashrawi argued that Israeli security has been defined in terms of Israeli military control over the situations in Palestine, which does not work as a prerequisite for peace. The result, Ashrawi explained, was a type of ethnic cleansing wherein the Palestinian has been “deprived of the very components of their own identity.” “It fulfills this displacement-replacement paradigm. An entire population of stateless people have lost their culture, history and have had a nomenclature imposed upon them in various settlements,” she said. Ashrawi commented on the growing global trends that continue to exacerbate the problems of the Palestine region.”)

    October 5, 2016:
    The Daily Collegian – Pamela Olson gives talk on “Fast Times in Palestine”

    June 2, 2016:
    Western Mass News –  UMass student speaks out on anti-semitic acts on campus

    May 4, 2016:
    Spiked – BDS: BOYCOTTING ACADEMIC FREEDOM
    (Description note, “At a GEO general-membership meeting, another measure was put to the members: a resolution to condemn ‘anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism’. This was voted down, according to Adelman, ‘on the grounds that it would inhibit BDS and other criticism of Israel, which I take to be a tacit acknowledgement that BDS is fundamentally discriminatory’.”)

    April 27, 2016:
    Daily Collegian – Letter: Resolution affirms human rights

    April 21, 2016:
    Mass Live – UMass graduate union votes to support boycott, divestment movement against Israel

    April 17, 2016:
    The Algemeiner – UMass Amherst Chancellor Reaffirms Opposition to BDS as Graduate Student Union Passes BDS Resolution
    (Description note, “The Graduate Employee Organization – United Automobile Workers discussed and passed a divestment resolution with a vote of 156 – 8.  According to an attendee of the meeting, they also voted down a resolution condemning antisemitism and antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism, as well as, “voted not to vote on a measure calling for the recognition of the Jewish right to self-determination insofar as any people have a right to self-determination and for Israel’s right to exist insofar as any state or nation has a right to exist.”)

    April 14, 2016:
    The Algemeiner – U Mass Amherst Faculty Offer Last-Ditch Opposition to BDS Before Conclusion of Grad School Union Vote

    April 12, 2016:
    Mass Live – UMass students return to occupy Whitmore, holding day-long alternative education forums
    (Description note, “Students for Justice in Palestine is holding a forum on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which is looking at the impact of what the group is calling “Israeli colonialism & occupation on the environment in Palestine.” The movement objects to what is says is “the unlawful occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel.”)

    April 11, 2016:
    Daily Collegian – Palestinian university students shine light on education struggles in Palestine
    (Description note, “A group of about 30 studentsgatheredin the University of Massachusetts’ Campus Center Thursday to hear how Israeli colonialism has shaped education in Palestine from two current Palestinian university students…UMass is one of the many stops within this nationwide campaign attempting to build solidarity between the U.S. and Palestine. The event was sponsored by UMass’ Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization focused on the education of and activism to stop thehuman rights violations facing the Palestinian people human rights violations facing the Palestinian people…“We’re really trying to get the word out about what’s happening in Palestine so that next year we can run a campaign for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions),” said Joshua Strassman, vice president of UMass SJP.”)

    April 5, 2016:
    UMassAmherst – UMass Hosts Premier of New Documentary on Israel and Palestine

    March 8, 2016:
    Mass Live – Israeli-American Jeff Halper to speak at UMass Tuesday as part of Israeli Apartheid Week

    February 24, 2016:
    The Algemeiner – U Mass Amherst Rally Over Swastikas on Campus ‘Not Sufficient,’ Say Participants Concerned About ‘Ongoing Antisemitism’
    (Description note, “After the article was published, students started reaching out to me, maybe 15 or so people,” Tibbetts toldThe Algemeiner, “sharing their antisemitic experiences on campus, name-calling, slurs. Some no longer wear Jewish symbols because they are so uncomfortable being identifiable as Jewish. A student who’d gone on the Birthright trip [to Israel] the previous summer told me that almost every student who went, something like 80 students, had reported antisemitic experiences on campus.”)

    February 19, 2016:
    The Daily Collegian – Speakers condemn swastikas found on campus at Friday’s solidarity gathering
    (Description note, “Around 80 people attended a solidarity gathering held in response to recent anti-Semitic vandalism reported at the University of Massachusetts. The gathering was held outside of the Fine Arts Center Friday at 4:30 p.m. and was hosted by the Student Government Association. Speakers at the event spoke of their commitment to eradicating both implicit and overt racism at UMass, noting that allies who are not the targets of discrimination have an obligation to become active in advocacy. “If you do not embrace our commitment to the well being and success of our community, you are not welcome here,” UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said.”)

    February 18, 2016:
    Mass Live –  Two more swastikas found on UM

    February 16, 2016:
    Mass Live –  Collegian columnist: Anti-Semitism at UMass an issue even before swastika discovered this month

    February 12, 2016:
    Mass Live – UMass police asking for help finding person who etched swastika on bathroom stall

    February 2, 2016:
    Daily Collegian – Anti-Semitism at UMass
    (“These events happened over a month ago, and I am shocked that the University still has had no official response, not even reaching out to our Jewish community. It simply is not enough to find the people responsible and punish them, because these events are not isolated and are not solely about individuals.  Minimizing an incident and sweeping it under the rug only allows it to happen again. The University needs to be honest about what is happening. We are in college to learn, but we are exhibiting as a community that we are deficient in equally important areas. Long gone are the days when the Jewish community could only rely on itself in the face of these hateful ideologies, so where is the University? At UMass there is no room for ideas that strive to kill, and our community is teaching us not to be proud, but afraid of our Jewish identity.”)

    January 27, 2016:
    Mass Live – Pro-Israeli group upset UMass prof reportedly asked for ‘Boycott Israel Apartheid’ stickers, asks UMass to look at conduct violations

    November 24, 2015:
    The Daily Collegian – Letter to the editor: Students for Justice in Palestine respond to a previous op-ed
    (Description note, “She also claimed that BDS targets her as a pro-Israel individual. Again, this is not the case. BDS targets institutions that perpetuate the occupation and oppression of Palestinians, not individuals. For example, we are currently campaigning for the removal of Sabra products from campus retail stores. Sabra is a company that invests in and supports the Golani Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, whose human rights abuses have been extensively documented and include arbitrary murders, evictions and arrests of children. Our enthusiastic participation in the Million Student March is a result of our long-standing solidarity with all struggles for justice. We look forward to continuing our work for human rights and equality for all.”)

    April 2, 2015:
    Campus Reform – Angela Davis calls for the end of incarceration at UMass-Amherst
    (Description note, “The university reportedly paid $16,000 for Davis to deliver a speech titled “Sustaining Social Justice Movements and Intersectional Struggles.”.. In addition, Davis accused the state of Israel of racism and anti-Semitism. “If one is truly opposed to racism and anti-Semitism, one has to challenge the state that promotes these ideologies,” Davis said, referring to Israel. “We should be able to join progressive, radical Jews in Israel who are also standing up.”)

    March 24, 2015:
    Daily Collegian – Palestinian political analyst gives lecture on the ‘BDS Imperative’

    February 26, 2015:
    Daily Collegian – Discussion on Palestine incorporates history as well as recent posters targeting SJP
    (Description note – “Our main political strategy is built around BDS,” said Evan Scribner, treasurer of SJP.)

    August 12, 2014:
    JTA – UMass Amherst scraps fall study programs in Israel

    thumbs-up January 7, 2014:
    UNIVERSITY STATEMENT – Statement from UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy on Call for Academic Boycott of Israel

     

    Photo Album - Campus Antisemitism

    Source Credit: Aline Gubrium, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Education, asked a Sabra Hummus boycott sticker activist on Facebook where she can obtain the stickers as she would like to cover her local grocery stores. The stickers read, “This product supports Israeli Apartheid, Don’t Buy”. (January 12, 2016)

    Source Credit: Aline Gubrium, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Education, asked a Sabra Hummus boycott sticker activist on Facebook where she can obtain the stickers as she would like to cover her local grocery stores. The stickers read, “This product supports Israeli Apartheid, Don’t Buy”. (January 12, 2016)


    To report antisemitic activity at this or any other campus, you may:

    BDS Tracker

    April 15, 2016 – GEO-UAW – Passed – The Graduate Employee Organization – United Automobile Workers discussed and passed a divestment resolution with a vote of 156 – 8. According to an article, they also voted down a resolution condemning antisemitism and antisemitic forms of anti-Zionism, as well as, “voted not to vote on a measure calling for the recognition of the Jewish right to self-determination insofar as any people have a right to self-determination and for Israel’s right to exist insofar as any state or nation has a right to exist.”

    November 24, 2015: Campaign Launch – SJP launches a campaign for the removal of Sabra products from campus retail stores.


    BDS Instigators: Student & Faculty


    STUDENT BDS

    Student Group(s) Promoting BDS: 1
    SJP

    FACULTY BDS

    Number of Faculty Endorsing the Academic Boycott of Israel: 15

    1. Laura Doyle
    2. Aline Gubrium
    3. Yu-ting Huang
    4. Ruth Jennison
    5. Sangeeta Kamat
    6. Arthur Keene
    7. Agustin Lao Montes
    8. Asha Nadkarni
    9. Hoang Phan
    10. Jordana Rosenberg
    11. Brit Rusert
    12. Svati Shah
    13. Paulette Steeves
    14. Jacqueline Urla
    15. Mary Wilson

    AMCHA Activism

    There are currently no AMCHA Initiative campaigns for this campus.