Jewish Persecution Rampant on US Campuses, Israeli Activists Tell Key Knesset Committee
Jewish students are the most persecuted minority on US college campuses, a representative of an Israeli advocacy group told lawmakers on Tuesday, during a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held to discuss the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Amnon Goldstof, research director of Reservists on Duty — an NGO founded last December “to bring the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the public’s attention, both in Israel and abroad”–presented data showing that of the 941 antisemitic incidents reported in the US in 2015, ninety took place on college campuses. This marked a significant jump from 2014, Goldstof said, when there were 47 antisemitic incidents on American campuses.
Referring to incidents earlier this year in which members of pro-Palestinian BDS groups posted “eviction notices” on the doors of dorm rooms of Jewish students, Likud MK and committee chairman Avi Dichter said, “BDS is an antisemitic wave, and unfortunately it’s happening in countries thought to be enlightened and on campuses thought to be intellectual.”
Dichter went on to say that many BDS activists are driven by frustration. “Arab states do not deal with the Palestinian issue and this drives the Palestinians and their supporters crazy,” he said. “We, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, are committed to helping all Jews who are attacked just because they are Jewish. As the nation state of the Jewish people, we are obligated to aid Jews as much as possible, without breaking the laws of other countries.”
Likud MK Anat Berko said the violence of BDS activists must be exposed. “Students are no longer safe on campuses,” she said. “And professors who do not toe the line of Palestinian propaganda suffer. When I gave a lecture on a campus, the location had to be changed because students were blocking the entrance to the hall with their bodies. On the other hand, there are professors with positions funded by countries like Qatar who disseminate propaganda.”
Likud MK Sharren Haskel said Israel must back Jews under threat. “The Jewish community stands with us on everything and now they are on the frontlines and being attacked,” she said. “We have a commitment to stand with them. Eleven US states have already passed laws allowing for the imposing of sanctions on boycotters, so we can definitely call on universities to consider the matter.”
During the discussion, Dichter asked what tools could be provided to Jews to deal with the threats they face overseas. But, according to a press release following the meeting, due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the matter, he was given an answer by a Strategic Affairs Ministry official in a subsequent closed-door briefing.
The committee meeting on BDS was initiated by Berko, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai and Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie.