The Anti-Defamation League issued an important report on Monday, Oct. 27, finding a dramatic increase in anti-Israel activity, compared to last year. The ADL attributes the increase to the aftermath of the 50-day Gaza war this past summer.
According to the ADL, this fall semester there have already been 75 anti-Israel events reported on U.S. college campuses. In the same period last year, there were only 35 such events.
The problem is even more alarming than the ADL’s report suggests.
It is certain there are more incidents that are either never reported or at least not reported to whatever source the ADL used for its calculations. The “full report” on the ADL website does not explain how the information was gathered or what definitions were used to determine whether certain activity would be included.
When contacted for her reaction to the ADL report, Susan Tuchman, the head of the Zionist Organization of America’s Center for Law and Justice explained that while the numbers mentioned in the ADL press release may not sound enormous, just yesterday she received “phone calls from three different students on three different campuses” with problems serious enough for them to raise with a lawyer.
Tuchman made an even more important point, as well.
Most Jewish college students are fortunately having a positive experience on their campuses. But the ZOA is contacted so frequently by students feeling threatened and harassed on their campuses, that it’s a mistake for any of us to minimize the problem of campus anti-Semitism. What’s particularly troubling is that Jewish students are facing problems on campuses with large Jewish populations, where one would think these problems wouldn’t exist.
And the real takeaway from the ADL report, and from the ever-growing cache of reported incidents is that the wider Jewish community needs to pay attention to the problem.
Tuchman puts her finger on the problem:
If there’s a single Jewish student on any college campus in this country who feels afraid to be openly Jewish and to say that he or she loves and supports Israel, then that’s something all of us need to speak out against and demand that college administrators address. Some administrators are responding appropriately, but many aren’t.
And while this past summer’s conflict undoubtedly provided new content for the anti-Israel activities, it is not as if the anti-Israel organizations and individuals needed an excuse.
William Jacobson, clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School and founder and publisher of the excellent blog covering legal matters, especially anti-Israel activity on campuses, Legal Insurrection, made the point:
“It is no real surprise that anti-Israel groups are trying to leverage the summer’s fighting in Gaza to their advantage on campus.
“But that is just the latest excuse for what has been a long-running campus propaganda war against Israel. If it was not Gaza it would have been something else. There are groups always looking for an excuse to attack Israel on campus,” Jacobson explained.
The ADL report catalogues the myriad forms of anti-Israel activities on campuses, and those are alarming.
No longer content to simply protest or leaflet pro-Israel events, there is now a panoply of methods used to intimidate pro-Israel students on campuses.
METHODS OF CAMPUS ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVITIES
Those campus anti-Israel activities include mock “Apartheid Walls” intended to represent Israel’s passive security barrier as a weapon of racism; mock checkpoints in which anti-Israel thugs act out the role of Israeli security forces intimidating, harassing and aggressively demanding identification from hapless and often helpless students who are forced into playing the role of meek and innocent Palestinian Arabs, and fake “die-ins.”Lori Lowenthal Marcus