Image of Jews Being Marched Into Nazi Gas Chambers Scrawled in Minnesota Student’s Room Example of ‘Skyrocketing’ Campus Antisemitism, School’s Chabad Rabbi Says
A rabbi at the University of Minnesota (UMN) told The Algemeiner on Thursday that he was disheartened but not surprised by the “disgusting” image of a Nazi gas chamber and crematorium scrawled on a Jewish student’s whiteboard, since “though such incidents used to be very rare, antisemitism on campus has been skyrocketing of late.”
Rabbi Yitzi Steiner, co-director of the Rohr Center for Jewish Student Life — the school’s Chabad house — was responding to the crude drawing of Jews being marched into Hitler’s ovens, over which smoke is seen billowing, left by someone who had broken in to the student’s locked dorm room.
“The fact that this sort of hatred exists on our campus is unacceptable, and is obviously a troubling issue that threatens the open dialogue and diversity that makes UMN such a special campus,” Steiner wrote on Facebook, telling The Algemeiner that he plans to discuss Thursday’s incident at Chabad’s Shabbat dinner, to which he has invited the president of the university.
Benjie Kaplan, the executive director of the school’s Hillel center, said that many “concerned and anxious parents and alumni” have been phoning him since the incident.
“We want people to know Hillel is here for the students, and to help those who are struggling with what happened,” Kaplan told The Algemeiner. “We don’t accept that such a thing happened, and we wouldn’t if it had been any other community that was targeted, either.”
Both the UMN’s Chabad and Hillel said they have been in touch with the targeted student, who has filed a report with campus authorities. Steiner said the student “is shaken, but has shown remarkable resilience.”
According to the UMN Bias Response and Referral Network (BRRN), there have been seven reports of antisemitic graffiti on campus since the beginning of December.
The University of Minnesota was ranked 15th on The Algemeiner’s 2016 list of the “40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students” in North America, due to the more than 20 organizations that engage in anti-Israel activity on its campus. Among these is a strong chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which holds events like the International Campus Day of Action for Palestine and erects mock “apartheid walls.” In March, during a campaign to pass a BDS resolution in the student government, Jewish and pro-Israel students said they felt unsafe and marginalized. The motion was ultimately struck down, due to efforts by Hillel and Students Supporting Israel.