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November 16, 2016 3:21 pm

‘Unprecedented’ Spate of Antisemitic Vandalism Across US Colleges in Wake of Presidential Election Leaves Jewish Students Feeling Vulnerable, Campus Groups Say

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Antisemitic graffiti at the University of New Mexico. Photo: UNM Hillel.

Antisemitic graffiti at the University of New Mexico. Photo: UNM Hillel.

Jewish students are feeling particularly vulnerable in the aftermath of the US presidential election, the result of which has sparked an unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents at universities across the country, campus groups told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

Referring to the more than a dozen acts of vandalism, mainly involving the scrawling of swastika graffiti — perpetrated by members of both the political Left and Right — Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the watchdog group AMCHA Initiative, said, “When hatred is in the air, it often comes to roost on the Jewish doorstep.”

“There is a crossfire happening now on college campuses and Jewish students are caught in the middle,” she said. “Historically, Jews have frequently been scapegoated, and the use of Nazi imagery — which has undeniable resonance with the annihilation of the Jewish people — taps into a basic primal fear. What’s happening today is very frightening for Jewish students.” 

Matt Berger, a spokesman for the Jewish campus organization Hillel International, called the spike in antisemitic incidents “of the highest concern.”

“We are working closely with Hillel professionals, university administrators, community partners and local law enforcement around the country to ensure campuses remain safe places for Jewish students,” he said.

Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), called on university officials to “denounce these episodes and thoroughly investigate and punish the offenders.”

“The people who are committing these vulgar acts need to get the strongest possible signal from administrators and faculty that this is absolutely unacceptable,” she told The Algemeiner.

Since the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump on November 8th, Nazi symbols have been appearing at various institutions of higher learning.

At Northwestern University in Illinois, two anti-Trump freshmen — one of them Jewish — spray-painted a swastika, images portraying genitals and anti-gay and racist slurs, alongside the president-elect’s name, on the wall of a non-denominational campus chapel.  

At the University of Mississippi, a swastika was found in a residence hall elevator. According to a report in the student newspaper The Daily Mississippian, it was the “fourth instance [on campus] since Election Day.”

At the American University in Washington, DC, a swastika next to the phrase “Go Trump” was discovered on a classroom wall. According to the student newspaper The Eagle, students later modified it to look like an octagon, and changed the words to “Go Drumpf,” adding the words “peace” and “love” to the graffiti. The incident came on the heels of an anti-Trump protest on campus, during which students burned American flags.

At Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, a Star of David with a swastika drawn in its center was found in a classroom. 

In Indiana, a swastika was discovered drawn on a dry erase board hanging outside of a dorm room door at Earlham College. “This act was completely reprehensible and totally unacceptable,” the school’s president said in a statement.

In Oregon, Reed College students found antisemitic, racist and homophobic graffiti — such as a swastika surrounded by a circle alongside the phrase “White is right” — on the wall of a bathroom at the school’s library.

As The Algemeiner previously reported, an anti-Trump swastika was also found in a dorm at the State University of New York, which spurred Governor Andrew Cuomo to order a police investigation.

At the University of Vermont, a Trump campaign sign was found spray-painted with a swastika near the campus Hillel. A school spokesman told The Algemeiner following the incident, that the Swastika symbol “wherever displayed, carries painful associations to horrific historical atrocities and is deeply disturbing.”

At the University of New Mexico Nazi-themed graffiti denouncing Trump was found on campus. One student told The Algemeiner that this was just the latest event among others that have left Jews at the school feeling “intimidated into keeping a low profile.”

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  • Peejay70

    Funny that you choose to illustrate the article with graffiti that is almost certainly the product of an anti-Trump protestor.

  • Saltman

    The swastikas are from the alt right – not just on campus, but all over the Internet. But this site’s writers support people like Bannon who sees nothing wrong with giving the alt right a powerful voice. So until this site stops playing politics, its absurd to complain. You cant have it both ways.

  • UR

    Campuses have been hotspots of antisemitism long before Trump, thanks to the likes of SJP and BDS etc, so I don’t see how they can attribute this as (a) something new and (b) therefore flowing from Trump’s election & campaign. Without clear evidence to support this, it just comes off as projection – just as the anti-Trumps were going on about Trump not accepting the election results, in fact, it is the anti-Trumps who won’t accept it, as we’ve seen with the violence and disturbance on the streets of US cities in the aftermath of the election. Similarly, it seems those who are most responsible for (at best) excusing or (at worst) fomenting antisemitism on campus, are now talking up the negative effects on campus of Trump’s election when these acts have been happening with alarming regularity before Trump without those now objecting having hitherto objected much (in fact, in the case of some of them at least, far from objecting, these acts were explained, excused and relativized thanks to Israel-demonization which has become ubiquitous in our universities).

  • D Cripps

    In some cases, this graffiti seems to be a Leftist view of Mr Trump (i.e suggesting he is a Nazi, homophobic, white supremacist, etc). (And yet he is hoping to keep out Islamists, who are religious supremacists and xenophobes/antisemites…)

  • Pinchas Baram

    Is it too old-fashioned or unJewish or un-p.c. to say: Jewish students, take a course in judo or krav maga, or buy some pepper spray, or a hammer, or even a whistle which makes a loud sound. Then find out who did this sh*t– whether a white racist or a black racist or a jihadi sympathizer– then corner him, then go crazy, then beat the crap out of him. Physically FIGHTING BACK HARD is the best way to stop a young david duke type in his tracks.

  • howiej

    Will those who have been found guilty of putting up the swastikas be expelled? Will the two found at Northwestern, anti-Trump and one Jewish, be expelled? The names of the two if found guilty should be published in the general and Jewish papers. Why attempt to blame Trump and his supporters when the fault lies elsewhere? Swastikas were painted many times in colleges and universities before Trump was elected but they are being used to build up hate and illegitimacy to Trump and his supporters.