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August 16, 2021 7:06 pm

Israeli Survey of US Universities Sees Left-Leaning Groups as ‘Significant’ Source of Campus Antisemitism

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

An anti-Israel ‘apartheid wall’ on display at Columbia University during Apartheid Week in 2017. Photo: Facebook.

On Monday, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) released a study identifying left-wing organizations as “significant” sources of antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on American colleges and universities.

Titled “The Antisemitism/Anti-Israel Phenomenon: What Do Israeli Campus Professionals Think?,” the study by Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf reported the findings of surveys of several focus groups comprising Jewish campus professionals from college campuses across the country.

The surveys by the right-leaning research institute were taken several months before the Israel-Hamas conflict in May.

A majority of the respondents said that antisemitism and anti-Israel activity was at least a “moderate” problem on campus, with most also saying that it came from a “minority” of students on campus.

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A number of “politically liberal or progressive organizations” were seen as generally unsupportive of Jewish students on campus, as compared to conservative groups, Mansdorf wrote.

The focus group participants work as emissaries at Hillel offices through the Jewish Agency for Israel, which assigns them to a college chapter following the completion of their mandatory service in the IDF. Their answers, Mansdorf said, were nearly identical to those by Hillel directors surveyed by JCPA in 2015.

“When we asked in 2015, ‘What drives anti-Israel activity on your campus?’ we found that 53% felt that ‘Muslim or Arab students on campus’ contribute to this at least a moderately significant amount, with 58% citing that students belonging to ‘progressive’ or ‘revolutionary’ groups also contribute at least to a moderately significant level.”

In 2021, 93% of the sample identified Muslim or Arab students as among those contributing to antisemitism on college campuses, with 39% reporting that they contribute “a fairly significant amount.” 58% said progressive groups contribute to a “fairly significant” and “very high” amount of antisemitism.

Mansdorf argued his findings should prompt a harder look at antisemitism in left-wing circles, and that liberal and progressive organizations should not be “immune from criticism.”

“Effecting change based on confronting attitudes from the progressive left would appear to represent a significant albeit essential challenge.”

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