Campus Group Gathers Testimonials From UC Jewish Students Experiencing Antisemitism
The campus antisemitism watchdog AMCHA Initiative announced on Tuesday its new website, which chronicles student testimonials of antisemitism across the University of California school system.
AMCHA said so far it has collected some 70 testimonials, setting off on the project at the behest of UC Jewish students concerned by the levels of antisemitism across the UCs. The website includes accounts of verbal assaults and intimidation from activists in anti-Israel groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
The group noted that the testimonials it had already collected were part of a growing body of first-hand accounts of campus antisemitism. Part of the goal, AMCHA said, is for students who are unable to attend UC Regents meetings to have a say in the ongoing development of a Statement Against Intolerance, which many hope will define antisemitism and condemn its manifestations across the campuses.
“We wanted to give [these students] a virtual hearing, an online platform, to communicate with decision-makers” at the UCs, said AMCHA co-founder and Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who is also a professor of Hebrew at UC Santa Cruz.
Rossman-Benjamin said the “testimonials demonstrate unequivocally that all Jewish students are targeted, regardless of their feelings on Israel, and that anti-Israel and BDS campaigns have gone far beyond scholarly debate and criticism directly into hate and antisemitism.”
The following is a selection of the testimonials available to read in-full on the website.
“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.”
“I’m in a Jewish interest sorority and during divestment we’re encouraged not to wear [our sorority] letters because a few times people have come up to sisters during divestment and have started heckling them about BDS stuff.”
“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.”
“I have been called an ‘Israeli terrorist’ and ‘Dirty Jew’ many times.”
“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.”
“Anytime a BDS activity occurs on campus, the amount of swastikas found in libraries has gone up.”
“Whenever BDS presents the divestment resolution on campus, the entire campus climate changes… My anxiety increases three fold and I genuinely experience PTSD after the meeting.”
“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…”