UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA STUDENTS SPEAK OUT!

When Scholarly Criticism Enters the Abyss of Antisemitism

Student Testimonials October 2015 – Present

 

AMCHA created this webpage to document testimonials submitted by students at the University of California describing when, under the guise of scholarly criticism and debate, antisemitism and the harassment and targeting of Jewish students occurs. In receiving these testimonials, AMCHA has identified three main “pains” experienced by Jewish students, and has divided the comments into the following categories:

  1. All Jewish Students Are Targeted, Regardless of Their Feelings on Israel
  2. The Rhetoric and Actions Targeting Students Go Well Beyond Political or Scholarly Debate
  3. BDS Creates a Hostile Environment on Campus

This webpage will be continuously updated with new testimonials. All testimonials are verbatim submissions, with only names and identifiers removed. To submit a testimonial, please click HERE.

 

1.  All Jewish Students Are Targeted, Regardless of Their Feelings on Israel:

  • I used to be quite active in the Jewish community for my first two years in college. However, after what I have experienced, I have withdrawn myself from Jewish events for fear of being identified and targeted. (UCI)
  • I saw my colleagues feel intimidated to be openly Jewish on campus. Three students were physically assaulted on campus during an Anteater for Israel event. Students felt unsafe walking through campus alone to attend Shabbat dinners. Jewish students felt intimidated to voice their support of Israel in the classroom out of fear of sanction by their professors. (UCI)
  • When in a SUA meeting for a bill supporting Israel the members of SJP for a short while were shouting things like down with Israel, but also someone chimed in down with Jews. Also one of my friends wearing a yarmulke walking into the library had a member of SJP wearing a border patrol uniform say Hitler was right. (UCSC)
  • I’m in a Jewish interest sorority and during divestment we’re encouraged not to wear letters because a few times people have come up to sisters during divestment and have started heckling them about BDS stuff. I try and stay away from anything having to do with BDS as much as possible because it makes me uncomfortable. In fact during BDS I actually avoid Hillel, the quad, and even my sorority because I just really don’t want to have to deal with how unsafe campus feels during that time. Everyone in my entire Jewish sphere is stressed and anxious and I have never experienced that level of discomfort in my community until coming to UC Davis. (UCD)
  • There have been many times where students in SJP, the organization at our school that pushed for BDS, have threatened to protest at Jewish events. Most recently we held an event about rising anti-semitism on college campuses, it was off campus at the Jewish resource center and was very clearly a Jewish not an Israel event and they spoke about protesting it on their Facebook page. They have also protested in front of the Chabad rabbi for UCSC’s house around the high holidays this past year. Our rabbi has never been outspoken on campus about his pro-Israel views other than possibly attending some events, it was clearly an anti-semitic act and not one of just being anti-Israel. (UCSC)
  • They have not made a distinction between the activities of some Israelis and Jewish people in general. This has led to antisemitic sentiment on campus and a hostile climate. (UCD)
  • I have been called an “Israeli terrorist” and “Dirty Jew” many times. I have seen students posting pro-Nazi things, and saying that all Israelis deserve to die on social media amongst a few other things. (UCD)
  • Throughout the Israel Independence Fair there were a bunch of students holding up signs claiming that Israelis were terrorists and that Jews were the reason for the deaths of their families. Furthermore, I frequently see videos posted online about “Terror attacks cause by Jews in Israel.” (UCLA)
  • We had hateful graffiti painted on a Jewish fraternity and some property destroyed of Jewish students. There was a divestment meeting on campus and that same day people vandalized Jewish property (UCD)
  • Because being anti-Israel inherently becomes anti-Jewish. Every Jew is seen as very strongly pro-Israel (even though this is not the case) and therefore “bad” in eyes of students who support BDS. (UCSD)
  • It’s obvious how BDS often resorts to targeting, singling out, and conflating Jewish students with Israeli policies. (UCI)
  • I have been afraid to say I am Jewish because of the backlash Jewish students have had on campus. Students have made huge generalizations about Jews as a people, rather than just targeting the occupation of Palestine. I know a Jewish person on campus who has received violent threats for her participation in divestment. AEPi house and Hillel House had swastika sprayed on it. Bathroom walls have anti-Semitic remarks, which are extremely offensive. (UCD)
  • Some anti-Jewish sentiment and conversations starting with, “I fucking hate Jews.” I didn’t stay around much longer to hear the rest. (UCLA)
  • The day I moved into my dorm I saw swastika graffiti on a wall. (UCB)
  • People do not separate being Jewish from being pro-Israel or Zionist, thus anything anti-Israel turns anti-Semitic in rhetoric and action and demonstration. (UCD)
  • It was very uncomfortable to be on campus during the week that anti-Israel week is happening.(UCI)
  • Sometimes I feel fearful of expressing to my peers that I am Jewish. (UCB)
  • The Jewish fraternity house was vandalized with swastikas. Cars’ tires were slashed and anti-Semitic slurs were gratified/ scratched into them. (UCD)
  • While coming to and from class there was an incident where some guys in a truck like car drove me and screamed “kike.” (UCD)
  • I have gotten dirty looks and have been told that I am promoting the genocide of Palestinians. (UCD)
  • “Jokes” directed at Jews, calling us cheap or controlling. Ideas that we have a greater “Jewish agenda” that is against all other communities. (UCLA)
  • I hear stereotypical Jewish racist remarks all the time, and see it on Facebook as well. (UCSB)
  • Antisemitic graffiti in bathrooms, negative comments towards others and myself about being greedy/ having large nose. (UCSC)
  • Students questioning whether or not Jews can be true Americans if they support Israel (i.e. dual loyalty accusations). Numerous people questions how Jews can be support social justice if they support Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. On a campus as liberal as mine, if you don’t support social justice any hateful act directed towards you is perfectly acceptable. (UCB)
  • There are a lot of those people that come to UCLA with signs who stand outside the library and advocate about the problems Jews have brought upon the rest of the world. These people stand there all day, screaming and cursing about Jews. (UCLA)
  • Posters on our campus accused Jews of carrying out the September 11 attacks.(UCSB)
  • My friends and I have been called names, spit on and harassed for being Jewish. (UCSD)
  • People saying that I or other students feel or act a certain way because we are Jewish and not because we believe what we feel or act is right…BDS [-] it’s not about Israel, it’s about Jewish people. (UCLA)
  • Protests on campus from groups who were anti-Israel and portraying Jews in a false and negative light
  • I’ve seen other students who are Jewish accused of being “child killers”/”baby killers”. I’ve also seen anti-Semitic stereotypes used by other students online, claims like “Jewish money is why Palestinians don’t get more support”. These activities have led to students believing the anti-Semitic stereotypes I mentioned above. In the case of the “Jewish money” comment, the student was responding to a student supporting BDS who made similar claims. (UCB)
  • Swastika in the McHenry [Library] bathroom. (UCSC)
  • I have witnessed such remarks being made against undergraduate students on Library Walk. I have also personally been subject to hateful speech as a graduate student, and it originated with undergraduate students at times when I wore jewelry with many Star of David. I have also had to modify my expression of legitimate academic views in graduate school to avoid derogatory remarks or more subtle social retaliation from graduate colleagues with pro-Palestine involvements.(UCSD)
  • As they manage to convince people that Israel=bad, everything related to Israel, even loosely, like Jewish students becomes a synonym for “bad” in people’s minds as well… (UCB)
  • When students walk by a demonstration where a women in a hijab is being yelled at by a man in an IDF shirt as a “reenactment” of what goes on at Israeli borders I feel as though those students definitely get a certain image in their minds and that image is reflected on those of their friends who wear things like IDF shirts, Jewish star necklaces, or identify as Jewish. (UCB)

2.  The Rhetoric and Actions Targeting Students Go Well Beyond Political or Scholarly Debate:

  • The SJP often (weekly to bi-weekly) hold up a sign that says death to Zionism across the main walkway on campus, preventing people from easily crossing, hold die ins, walk down the main drag screaming “free free Palestine”, “from the river to the sea Palestine must be free”, “End the occupation” “Death to Zionist” etc. There are a lot of anti-Semitic symbols on the wall that comes every year. I have heard people be told “You Jews are occupying our land and killing our people.” I have heard about people being called kikes and dirty Jews. There have been multiple social media pages attacking Jews during my time at UCI. (UCI)
  • During my Freshman year, during the annual iFest, a woman came up and accused us of wanting to rid our campus of “little brown people.” After this accusation, she then threw a thermos full of hot liquid at one of the volunteers and then tried to kick him before storming away. Also during my freshman year, I was walking with a fellow Jew down a street when two men in a car shouted the word “kikes” at us as they drove by. I have seen online, multiple times of even my own friends accusing Jews of being nothing but “blood thirsty savages.” I have multiple times seen in libraries drawings of swastikas with the phrase “death to Israel” or “death to Zionism.” (UCI)
  • As a freshman, I remember seeing blood stained Israeli flags in study centers, speakers coming to campus to slander Jews as “Nazis,” and Israelis being perceived as a racist people guilty of, and currently committing genocide. (UCI)
  • My friend was out at night and a student from SJP called her demeaning names and spat at her. (UCI)
  • My friend was out at night and a student from SJP called her demeaning names and spat at her. (UCSD)
  • Student senators who voted against Divestment got a lot of hate mail and threats. (UCD)
  • Any time a BDS activity occurs on campus, the amount of swastikas found in libraries has gone up. Also, the amount of anti-Jewish posts…increases. (UCI)
  • Another was people blatantly calling for an intifada and the killing of Jews during a protest on campus. (UCB)
  • The divestment resolution period was one of the most toxic environments that I have seen for Jewish students on this campus. The amount of vitriol and hate coming from the pro divestment side was enormous. (UCD)
  • I was physically assaulted in an elevator in 2013. I heard my friend get called a “Zionist kike” by SJP. Today, I was called a “kike” on campus by SJP. My two female friends and I were shoved to the ground and physically assaulted at our own Israel event in 2014…I am afraid to be on this campus. (UCI)
  • I experienced political discourse on campus take a turn to the personal/ugly, as people quickly started turning anti-Semitic when explaining their virulently anti-Israel views. (UCD)
  • I’ve seen SJP member yell at Jews at public demonstrations, interrupt them, record them against their will and twist their words. I’ve seen swastikas and graffiti such as “The Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers”. (UCB)
  • My friend was yelled at for being Israeli yesterday… (UCD)
  • I have seen a Jewish student holding a pro-Israel sign get pushed/have their sign ripped apart at a protest. I have heard of someone spitting at Jewish students as they read the names of those who perished in the Holocaust on Yom Hashoa. I read an opinion piece written in the Daily Cal about how Jews “hijacked” the word anti-Semite. I believe the BDS movement is inherently anti-Semitic. (UCB)
  • The kind of anti-Israel stuff they say has antisemitic undertones, I feel. (UCB)
  • I wore an IDF sweatshirt at a demonstration for SJP and was yelled at. (UCSC)
  • Been yelled at for wearing Star of David necklace and was followed home by SJP people because they knew I was pro-Israel. In a class online discussion board people said stuff about “Jewish money” controlling the media and the world. [BDS] conflate Israel and Jewish all the time. They try to do BDS stuff on Yom HaShoa etc. People have yelled at me. Went on UC trip with students from UCB UCLA and UCI I got yelled at by UC staff for no reason was accused of doing things like talking or texting I never did was told no one wanted me there me and my Jewish boyfriend were called the Jew couple and no one would talk to us or sit with us program is Olive Tree Initiative. (UCB)
  • People using rhetoric in class or protest that suggests violence against Jews. (UCD)
  • To be honest it’s more of the aggression of the students. I have gone to the Senate hearings and there has literally been someone who got so upset and was willing to fight my friend outside (who was wearing something clearly pro-Israel). (UCD)
  • SJP students call Jewish students supporters of Genocide. They also support the Intifada and yell that during the day of action, which conjures up very sad and violent images for the Jews. (UCB)
  • I go to UCI. The SJP often (weekly to bi-weekly) hold up a sign that says death to Zionism across the main walkway on campus, preventing people from easily crossing, hold die ins, walk down the main drag screaming “free free Palestine”, “from the river to the sea Palestine must be free”, “End the occupation” “Death to Zionist” etc. There are a lot of anti-Semitic symbols on the wall that comes every year. I have heard people be told “You Jews are occupying our land and killing our people.” I have heard about people being called kikes and dirty Jews. There have been multiple social media pages and attacks during my time at UCI. (UCI)
  • During pro-Palestine protests Palestinian students frequently made offensive and false remarks like calling Jews murderers. I’ve also seen similar Facebook posts related to the Israel Palestine conflict. (UCLA)
  • I have heard of accounts of specific Jewish peers that were verbally attacked and followed on campus, and the I have seen a lot of postings on social media that are anti-Israel due to SJP’s inaccurate hate week on campus. (UCSD)
  • I’ve been told that as a Jew I don’t know what genocide is. I’ve been told that I’m racist because I’m a Jew that supports Israel and that I commit genocide. People have called me and my friends Jew in a nasty, derogatory way. (UCSC)
  • In a Slugs for Israel meeting, a group of SJP students entered and protested our meeting. (UCSC)
  • I’ve been told that because I believe that Israel should defend its rights, I’m ”unfit to live” and that I should be ashamed to be called a human being. I’ve seen Jewish students being subtly verbally put down without them having a chance to defend themselves in the classroom, because the teacher spit out anti-Semitic remarks. I’ve been told that I am inhumane because I support genocide (from their point of view) and I do have a friend that has had a sign torn from his hands, and had he not defended himself, he would’ve been kicked or hurt in some other way. People who are undecided on the issue and have absolutely minimal knowledge on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are swayed towards hating Israel even though they’ve only been exposed to one side of the story. I have friends who assume I’m immoral or aggressive, and one of my teachers makes sarcastic comments about the IDF and Israel, and students never disagree with him. When people (who aren’t Jews or Arabs) find out I stand with Israel, they express shock and automatically assume that I hate Palestinians or that I want all Palestinians to die. They view me and other friends as being opposed to human rights, and this creates hostility both in and outside of the classroom. (UCB)
  • Posters with swastikas on the Israeli flag, social media posts on official student groups calling for the removal of all Zionists from campus, by force if needed, shouts that all Jews are loyal to Israel first, persistent comments denying the existence of anti-Semitism while excusing any that occur as anti-Zionist. (UCSC)
  • During my time at UC Berkeley I have personally seen many instances of anti-semitic graffiti- including swastikas, “death to Israel,” “f*ck Jews” and other things along those lines. I have also seen lots of social media postings with language clearly directed at Jews centered around how “evil” Israel is. BDS-related activities make Jewish students feel unsafe because they demonize Israel and Israelis, and many Jewish students are Israeli, have Israeli family, have Israeli friends, or simply love and support our Jewish homeland. BDS is a tool to justify anti-semitic actions and behaviors by attempting to separate Jews from the state of Israel. I feel unwelcome at lots of events because of my pro-Israel views. I don’t even talk to other students about Israel. People here (UCB) won’t accept anything other than “Free Gaza” as your view on Israel. Students here spout off “all oppression is related” and want to equate Ferguson to Palestine or relate issues about student tuition to “Israeli apartheid” and first off, it makes no sense, and secondly, many Jews would be great allies for social/racial/gender/economic justice movements, if only they did not castigate Israel supporters and Jews. (UCB)
  • I feel like SJP events create hostile attitudes towards Jewish students. I’ve heard the SJP events make many Jewish students feel uncomfortable and unsafe. They show that all Israel is force and violence and then they relate the Jewish students to that. (UCSC)
  • I felt personally attacked. Never in my 18 years prior to coming to UCLA have I ever felt so much pressure directed at my Jewish Israeli identity. I have felt ashamed of this campus and disgusted with what this world has come to, to allow such hatred to go on. (UCLA)
  • I was called a dirty Zio at a UCSA meeting at UCLA b) I found the phrase “Hitler did nothing wrong” etched into a table at Bruin Cafe c) a Student put up fliers for the World Zionist congress by Hillel and someone put swastikas on it  d) “Zionists should be sent to the gas chambers” at UC Berkeley, “we support the intifada”  e) accusations of dual loyalty at UCLA f) I received an email which read “arrogant Jews at UCLA are getting everything they deserve”. Singling out, demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state has led anti-Semites to believe that they are justified in singling out, demonizing and delegitimizing Jewish students. I’ve just become less of a human being in the eyes of some of the students around me (UCLA)
  • SJP chanting “intifada” and claiming that Jews have blood on their hands. (UCB)
  • There is a persistent atmosphere on campus that anti-Zionism is good while anti-Semitism is bad, without recognizing the overlap between the two. Comments promoting the murder of Israelis have been constant recently, without regard to the safety of our Israeli Jewish population. (UCSC)
  • It makes Israel-bashing mainstream which dances on a fine line between political debate and straight up racism and bigotry. (UCD)

3.  BDS Creates a Hostile Environment on Campus:

  • These activities introduce a bias in people’s views of Judaism and blame Jews for actions they aren’t responsible for. It’s the night of the broken glass all over again – one Jewish person messes up and all of a sudden it’s on all of us. It’s just morally wrong and culturally insensitive to protest against Judaism without hearing the whole story. (UCSC)
  • BDS allows people on campus to openly attack Jewish students’ identities. Student government over the last 2 years has been solely focused on BDS and forgotten the students’ needs. (UCLA)
  • It is not uncommon to observe hateful remarks against Jewish students/people being made while discussing BDS (UCD)
  • BDS sets a tone of exclusion on the campus. It’s only logical that hostile attitudes and actions would stem from this. (UCI)
  • Views from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement should be expressed on college campuses. After all, we as people deserve to hear the opinions of others, even if we disagree. However, such a divisive topic has certainly led to hate and negativity being spread throughout my campus. (UCB)
  • Whenever BDS presents the divestment resolution on campus, the entire campus climate changes. My so called friends who are against Israel stop talking to me and the campus splits. My anxiety increases three fold and I genuinely experience PTSD after the meeting. (UCSB)
  • [As a result of BDS] I don’t feel comfortable showing my faith anymore. Simple as that. (UCD)
  • The day after BDS I was harassed for being Jewish. (UCB)
  • When BDS came to campus my freshman year, I was terrified of being pro-Israel and Jewish. There was hissing and booing and lots of divisiveness. (UCB)
  • Yes I have experienced antisemitic language me, this was prevalent during the 3 years of divestment here at UC Davis. Yes I witnessed the swastika drawn on my Jewish fraternity house, not to mention the 11 cars vandalized with antiemetic slurs and symbols. Yes I have seen offensive and derogatory misleading symbols of the Israeli conflict etched in chalk on the buildings around campus and an “apartheid” wall erected for all to see on the quad, making me afraid to show my support for my Jewish homeland. yes I’ve heard accusations and disparaging remarks against my friends and my community either for speaking for Israel, being Jewish and not denouncing Israel, or simply not agreeing with someone else views. And yes social media was filled with hate after Divestment. Including a post by an ASUCD senator. (UCD)
  • When our divestment motion passed, two days later there were swastikas on our AEPi house. I actually didn’t feel safe wearing my star or my letters (I’m in Sigma AEPi) on campus. There are large protests on a sort of regular basis and many times I’ve personally been yelled at and accosted by SJP students for simply being who I am. (UCD)
  • The divestment resolution will not give justice to Palestine the way the pro-Palestinian students on campus think it will. All it does is cause tension between Israelis and Palestinians and I have not experienced anything hateful myself, but seeing them tabling on the quad or shouting their beliefs at you on the quad makes you feel alone and scared. (UCD)
  • It seems that BDS affiliated movements are toxic and hateful towards Jewish students. They hide behind the veil of BDS but their true intentions are antisemitic. (UCD)
  • I have actively stood up to fight BDS on my campus. In doing so I feel unsafe and personally targeted. I have friends who have been scrutinized for their senate position or most recently judicial court position as a judge in ASUCD because of their speculated support of Israel because she was Jewish. the reality if you discriminate against someone for the reason that you think they support Israel because they are Jewish that is discrimination because they are Jewish which is antisemitism. (UCD)
  • I don’t fit the stereotypical appearance for being Jewish so I’m not really called out or given dirty looks others are but during BDS there is hostility literally everywhere. My friends are stressed and you can just feel the hate on campus. What’s worse is trying to get people to go to the BDS hearings to promote the pro-Israel side. No one wants to go because the hate in that room is physically palpable and I have friends who go and say that afterwards they’ll see people on the pro- side around campus and they just give each other dirty looks. I don’t go because I don’t want to see a stranger on campus, recognize them from the hearings, and feel like they hate me because I’m Jewish. I honestly hate being a student here during BDS. I have a friend who transferred from UC Irvine to Davis due to the hostile environment BDS caused. (UCD)
  • I also got kicked out of student government for my involvement in the anti-BDS campaign. (UCD)
  • There is so much antisemitism at UCSD. The BDS movement is a problem every year and it really takes a toll on the Jewish students, even though we know none of it will change, we stick together. (UCSD)
  • BDS labels the Jewish state – and by extension, Jews – a social pariah. It suggests – quite blatantly I may add – that the root of all evil is the Jew. (UCSB)
  • At a student body senate forum entertaining a divestment resolution, a senator insinuated that the Jewish community needs to be appeased because Jews control the university. (UCSB)
  • I have seen Facebook posts which were not only anti-Zionist they were anti-Semitic which made me feel unsafe … [BDS] has divided the student body. While at the divestment meeting the pro BDS students were at times rude and insulting. At the BDS vote, even though applause was not allowed, every time a pro BDS speech was given, the pro BDS students raised their fists as their own form of applause which to me was insulting and in a way like the Nazis (UCSB)
  • During the meetings to vote for or against it, the things that were said were SO hurtful and the way the spoke was so disrespectful. (UCSC)
  • BDS passed on this campus in November 2012, since then Jewish students feel extremely alienated by the university. (UCI)