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June 12, 2015 11:06 am

Northwestern University Rabbi Calls for Stronger Action After Latest Antisemitic Incident on Campus

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Northwestern University faced two antisemitic graffiti attacks in the last two months. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Northwestern University faced two antisemitic graffiti attacks in the last two months. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A rabbi at Northwestern University said the school must take serious action against antisemitism on campus, following yet another incident of anti-Jewish graffiti on university grounds this week.

“We need the university to be aware of it, conscientious that it is painful, and vigilant in terms of trying to educate the student population about the important of diversity and what these types of hurtful symbols mean,” Chabad Rabbi Dov Klein told the Algemeiner. “Whether it’s a symbol against the Jewish community, against the African American community [or] against the Arab community, these things are not tolerated.”

Construction workers on campus discovered the antisemitic vandalism on Monday morning at the construction site of the new Kellogg School of Management building, The Chicago Tribune reported. The daubed images included a swastika which was painted over by construction personnel later that day.

The incident was the second case of antisemitic vandalism to take place at Northwestern in the past two months. In April, university police found a swastika drawn on the wall of a study lounge in the school’s  library.

A menorah on campus, owned and opeated by Chabad, has also been vandalized a total of three times over the past year and a half.

Despite the string of antisemitic attacks at Northwestern, where the student government in February passed a resolution to boycott Israel, Rabbi Klein said he believes each incident to be isolated.

He called on the university’s administration to continue educating students about hate symbols and diversity, and said the school should address antisemitic graffiti and behavior during orientation for incoming freshmen.

“Bring up the issues of antisemitism and what these types of symbols – whether they’re targeted to the Jewish community or other communities – what those symbols represent, what they mean [and] how hurtful they can be,” he said. “Many times the antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish part of that is not necessarily highlighted. I think for this upcoming year they should highlight that a bit more.”

Rabbi Klein said he was unsure if officials would discover the motive behind the most recent graffiti attack, saying, “we don’t know if this was somebody having a goofy time or this is really an expression of hate against the Jewish community at Northwestern.” He added that the likelihood of finding the perpetrator is “close to zero.”

Northwestern University boasts a strong and vibrant Jewish community, according to Klein. The rabbi said he does not think Jewish students feel targeted on campus, but that the antisemitic attacks “get disturbing after a while” and are also hurtful.

“In the campus environment many times people do stupid things,” he said. “There are people out there that hate and people who don’t understand how painful it is for Jewish students or a Jewish person to see a swastika, which represents the environment of antisemitic and hatefulness toward the Jewish community.”

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  • Wallace Edward Brand

    Much hate is generated by the bogus legal opinions to the effect that the Zionist Jews are stealing land from the invented “Palestinian People”. In fact the question of whether the Jewish People should be recognized as owning Palestine or the Arab People was decided at the Paris Peace Talks in 1919 and at San Remo in on April 25, 1920. The Jewish People were selected to be the beneficial owners of the collective political rights to self-determination and the Arab claim was implicitly rejected. These rights were placed in trust, not to vest until the Jewish People were a majority in the area to have self government, and capable of exercising sovereignty. These standards were met in part of Palestine in 1948 and in the remainder of the mandated territory in 1967. Ever since then the Arabs have tried to extort this territory from the Jews by threats of violence, actual violence and fraud, typically by claiming, wrongly, that Jewish settlements were unlawful under International Law. For details see search for Wallace Brand

  • Jack Thomas

    Diversity is meaningless, unless there is stipulated reason.

  • Chuck

    I would be stronger than Rabbi Klein on this subject. I would demand video cameras all over campus so that these perpetrators can be caught, and if caught, prosecuted and expelled from the university. That would send a clear and strong message to all. Otherwise it’s just whistling in the wind.

  • manasseh

    I feel it’s a disgusting! Students no longer are being taught the real history! Anymore! And it begins in public schools! I found out I’m also Jewish a year ago.. and I went from wearing the cross too the star of David! Yet before that! I always cried watching movies on anything that had too do with the Holocaust! maybe..every college paid for by tax payers! should make it a requirement for graduation..too visit the death camps! Shalom!

  • Monty Pogoda

    It may be odd to say this but antisemitism makes people aware of their being Jews and to a point aware of Judaism.

  • Scandalous behavior. If it is from enrolled students, they should be flunked OUT!!

  • I am a concentration camp survivor and chairman of Shoah survivors in Johannesburg. Since 1985 I have lectured on the subject to more than 500 school classes.

    Some years ago a sportsmatch was held here between a Jewish school and a non-Jewish one. The non-Jewish team took the field with swastikas drawn on the collars of their shirts. The Jewish team promptly walked off.

    This matter was written about in the local press and caused an outcry. I contacted the headmaster of the non-Jewish school and offered to come and talk to his students. He was only too pleased to accept.

    On the way to that school I tried to visualise the reception that I might receive. The students were young. I decided that if they showed defiance then I might be up against anti-Semitism; if not then just a prank.

    All the students of the school had been assembled in a hall with the offending team in the front row. Those children looked utterly bewildered – they did not seem to know what had hit them.

    So I spoke to them gently, explaining how I had suffered during two and a half years of concentration camp during which my father and forty close family members had been murdered. I told of the pain that the sight of a swastika caused to people such as myself who had been 12 years old when placed in these camps of suffering and death, children just as they were.

    They listened to me without interuption and with their heads hanging down in shame.

    Whenever one lectures at a new school a teacher is appointed to accompany one. My teacher was Jewish. After listening to me she insisted that I speak to the other teachers in the staffroom who, she said, needed my talk more than the children.

    When I was introduced to these teachers, who were then told of the role I had just performed, most got up and walked out.

  • Does anybody think the vandals do not know the meanings of the symbols they paint?

  • Carl

    Rabbi Klein says ” “Whether it’s a symbol against the Jewish community, against the African American community [or] against the Arab community, these things are not tolerated.”
    Excuse me, but symbols against the African American community are already never tolerated, and when is the last time there have been symbols or any other acts toward the Arab community? The problem is anti-Semitism, not anti-black racism or anti-Arabism. Let’s keep focused on the true issue, here.

  • steven L

    The non-left needs to put its acts together because the Far left is using methods to silence the opposition. This started with the election of BHO using time and again the Alinsky MO (communist type of harassment, demonization and lies).
    Silencing the opposition is the goal of the left and the Islamists who support the left here and in the EU.

  • brenrod

    a rabbi in denial

  • Ron

    The good rabbi is obviously not aware that the only thing that will stop the Jew-haters from threatening Jewish students is the ability of each one of those Jewish kids of carrying a baseball bat and using it when necessary. Preferably aiming the fat end and swinging it as hard as possible across a set of knee caps.

  • Yale

    We’ll know that universities are serious about combatting anti-Semitism on campus when they announce that students implicated in these incidents will be expelled.