Universities Urged to Protect Jewish Students ‘Under Attack’ by Anti-Israel Activists on Campuses
As universities across the US prepare to welcome back students for the fall semester, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday called on campus administrators to proactively counter anti-Israel activists.
The Jewish civil rights group’s latest report on campus antisemitism — “Antisemitism and the Radical Anti-Israel Movement on U.S. Campuses in 2019” — detailed several disturbing incidents last year that demonstrated the overlap between antisemitism and radical opposition to Israel.
The report noted that “while most anti-Israel activism takes the form of legitimate political expression, a significant segment of the activism reported in 2019 contributed to an atmosphere in which Jewish students felt under attack – and from which antisemitism sometimes emerged.”
Among the incidents of concern was a Harvard University Undergraduate Council meeting in March 2019, during which Jewish students were “vilif[ied]…for their commitments and even their heritages” in a discussion of Israel and Zionism. At an October student government meeting at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Jewish students were met with signs reading “Free Palestine, F*ck Zionists” as they argued against a resolution — later passed by the student body — declaring that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.
The ADL report also took to task the anti-Israel positions of some external donors to higher education, including foundations. “Most notable” in this regard was the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), which provides significant funding to the fringe organization Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the Institute for Middle East Understanding and Grassroots Jerusalem, “all of which have engaged in anti-Zionist rhetoric that has veered into extremism and/or antisemitism,” the report asserted.
“At a time when so many prominent philanthropists and mainstream foundations are working actively to mitigate hate and the rise of division in society, it is disappointing that there are a select few who knowingly choose to contribute to organizations that stoke divisive propaganda campaigns that fail to advance understanding or promote peace,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement accompanying the report’s publication.