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August 30, 2021 4:33 pm
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Survey: Nearly All Jewish Students and Alumni Cite Campus Antisemitism as a ‘Problem,’ With Half Saying It’s ‘Getting Worse’

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Sign held at demonstration against antisemitism. Photo Credit: Ms. Magazine.

Virtually all Jewish university students and alumni now feel that antisemitism on college campuses is a problem, according to a survey released on Monday by Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), with nearly half of respondents saying that the issue is worsening.

The survey of 312 enrolled students and 194 alumni of varying Jewish affiliations revealed a “shocking growth of antisemitism,” ACF claimed. 95% of respondents said that antisemitism was a problem on their current or former campus, with three-fourths characterizing it as a “very serious” problem.

Nearly 80% of survey respondents reported experiencing or hearing first-hand accounts of antisemitic hate speech; 69% avoided certain places, situations, and events for fear of being outed as a Jew, and 47% believe antisemitism on college campuses is getting worse.

ACF Executive Director Avi D. Gordon called on universities to support Jewish students and “rid their alma maters of hate.”

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“These finding illuminate the troubling reality on U.S. campuses — antisemitism is increasingly a pernicious threat, with Jewish students under siege,” he said.

“Today’s universities take great pains to embrace and protect students from all races, religions, and backgrounds,” Gordon continued. “But Jewish students are often left to fend for themselves against discrimination. Administrators must take immediate steps to remedy this situation, and alumni should work with administrators, students, and allies.”

Dubbed “A Growing Threat: Antisemitism on College Campuses,” the ACF survey also included written accounts of anti-Jewish harassment, intimidation, and assault.

Said one state university student in the Midwest, “I was having a conversation with a guy with a guy in my dorm and when I mentioned I was Jewish he made a joke about gassing me and when I explained that it was hurtful and not funny he spit on me.”

“Professors often made out of hand comments that supported antisemitic conspiracy theories against Israel,” said a 25-year-old, who graduated from a private college in the southeast. “[They said] that Israelis harvest Palestinian organs or use Palestinian children as target practice.”

Another alum said her former college refused to punish a professor teaching antisemitic conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the media.

“We received a 1.5 page letter stating that we misconstrued his comments and he did nothing wrong. Then they offered him tenure,” she said.

ACF recommended that colleges address rising antisemitism by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism and promptly respond to future complaints of discrimination.

The survey was conducted online between March 25 and June 14, with 18-29 year-old participants recruited by ACF and the student-led group Jewish on Campus.

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