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February 8, 2022 12:08 pm

Campus Antisemitism Largely Felt In Person, Says Year-End Student Report

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

University of Vermont in Burlington. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Last year’s spike in antisemitic incidents on campus was mostly felt face-to-face, despite the online learning that continued at many universities during the pandemic, according to a new report by Jewish on Campus.

The report, drawn from 544 complaints of antisemitism submitted to JOC in 2021, found that almost three quarters of antisemitic incidents took place in person, and that being a woman increased the likelihood of experiencing one. 67% of all complaints, JOC said, were submitted by Jewish women.

“The antisemitism women face is often different than men, wherein misogynistic undertones can intertwine with antisemitic rhetoric when directed at women — ever more prevalent online,” said the report, described as the first ever study of antisemitism on college campuses conducted by victims themselves.

241 reports of antisemitism made to JOC invoked historical antisemitic tropes, while 264 were prompted by the demonization of Israel and disavowing the right of Jewish people to self-determination.

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90% of all antisemitic incidents tracked by JOC occurred in the US, with the University of Vermont accounting for the most incidents at one university, at 58. JOC noted also that in 122 complaints, professors were the primary offenders.

The study also found that while Reform Jews submitted the most incident reports, Conservative and Orthodox submissions “far outweighed” their groups’ relative size among American Jews.

“The discrepancy between submission distribution and nationwide distribution of denominations is likely explainable by Conservative and Orthodox Jews being more ‘identifiably Jewish,'” the report said. “These communities typically wear kippot or other traditional attire more often than Reform or non-denominational communities, likely leading to a higher frequency of antisemitism.”

Founded in July 2020 as an Instagram campaign collecting anonymous experiences, the student-led Jewish on Campus partnered last year with the World Jewish Congress.

“Antisemitism on campus is a crisis that must be immediately addressed,” JOC CEO Julia Jassey commented Monday. “To do so, we need a clear understanding of the issue. This report takes a year of data submitted to Jewish on campus by hundreds of students around the world and compiles it to give a robust understanding of what antisemitism truly looks like on campus.”

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