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December 20, 2022 6:03 pm

Virginia Attorney General Issues Letter on Campus Antisemitism


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares. Photo: Twitter.

Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares issued an open letter on Friday urging educators in the state to fight antisemitism in higher education.

“Sadly, antisemitic discrimination in American higher education is not merely a shameful legacy,” Attorney General Miyares, a Republican, wrote, citing statistics from the Anti-Defamation League showing that over 350 anti-Zionist incidents occurred on college campuses during the 2021-2022 academic year, as well as reports about Jewish students concealing their identities on campus.

The letter also discussed an incident in which the Students for Justice in Palestine of George Washington University chanted “GW Hillel, you have blood on your hands” while protesting an event featuring former Israeli intelligence official Doron Tenne on October 11. Accusing Tenne of “mass slaughter,” SJP said later on Instagram that it “proudly” stands by the demonstration.

“This type of religious discrimination is unacceptable, goes against the very core of our American ideals, and is blatantly unconstitutional,” Miyares continued. “Students cannot be active and involved members of their university community in the face of exclusionary policies. Academic freedom and inquiry cannot survive in a maelstrom of religious discrimination.”

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Miyares letter follows the release of a report by Virginia’s Commission to Combat Antisemitism, which said that although there have been no antisemitic assaults in Virginia since 2018, 411 antisemitic incidents, including harassment and vandalism, occurred in 2021, a 71 percent increase when compared to data for 2020, when 292 were reported.

The commission recommended banning academic boycotts targeting Israel, explaining their potential for “depriving students or faculty of the ability to study or conduct research in or about a foreign country or interact with its scholars and representatives.”

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