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October 4, 2017 5:04 pm

Ohio Lawmaker Calls Antisemitism a ‘Growing Threat on College Campuses’

avatar by Shiri Moshe

Rep. Andrew Thompson discussing House Concurrent Resolution 10 at the Ohio Statehouse, Sept. 28, 2017. Photo: Chris Long.

Lawmakers in Ohio are working to pass legislation expressing support of Israel and denouncing attacks against its supporters, especially on university campuses.

Speaking at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, Rep. Andrew Thompson (R-Marietta) raised awareness of House Concurrent Resolution 10 (HCR10), which is also sponsored by Rep. Dave Greenspan (R-Westlake) and co-sponsored by over two dozen other lawmakers.

The resolutions condemns the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign — which seeks to isolate Israel until it complies with Palestinian demands — as well as efforts to silence Israeli academics and students. It further calls on Ohio universities to “take an active stand against all anti-Semitic actions and intimidation taken against Jewish students on their campuses,” and to act against any attempts to restrict free speech on campus.

A recent report by the Israel on Campus Coalition advocacy group found that BDS activists routinely engage in “hostile disruptions of pro-Israel events” in order to silence dissenting voices.

“Antisemitism is not just in existence, but it’s a growing threat on college campuses across the state of Ohio,” Thompson said.

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves,” the lawmaker added. “The BDS movement is about wiping Israel off the map. And if we don’t stand strongly and firmly against that, if we do not insist that our campuses protect the rights of Jewish students and allies of Israel, we could potentially face much darker outcomes.”

In a statement read by a legislative aide, Greenspan echoed concerns raised by his co-sponsor, observing that college campuses were “increasingly experiencing threats, acts of violence, and deliberate interference with the learning environment, not only for American and Israeli students, but all students.”

In March, students at Ohio State University voted against divesting from companies that conduct business with Israel. The AMCHA Initiative campus watchdog group has documented 26 incidents of antisemitic or anti-Israel activity at the college since 2015.

Last February, a professor at Oberlin College in Ohio was reported to have shared posts on social media calling the Islamic State “a CIA and Mossad operation” and blaming “Israeli and Zionist Jews” for the 9/11 attacks. The professor has since been dismissed.

HCR10 was introduced in June and is proceeding through the legislative process.

Watch a video of Thompson and Greenspan’s remarks below:

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