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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Vassar College’

New Study: Alarming Spike in Campus Anti-Semitism in 2016

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Nearly 100 more incidents of anti-Semitism occurred on campus during the first six months of 2016 compared with the first six months of 2015, according to AMCHA Initiative’s mid-year study released today. In addition, calls for Israel’s elimination on campus tripled, and that expression highly correlated with actions that harm Jewish students.

“The growing problem of campus anti-Semitism is no doubt a serious threat facing the Jewish community, but this disturbing and dangerous spike and the bolder, more brazen, methods of those perpetrating this hate are particularly alarming,” cautioned Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative director and co-founder.

The study, which examined anti-Semitic activity from January to June 2016 on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

The study also revealed the following disturbing trends:

Suppression of speech approximately doubled from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, 14 incidents that restricted Jewish students’ civil rights by suppressing their speech, blocking their movement or hindering their assembly were found on 12 campuses. These incidents reflect a significant increase from the first half of 2015, in which eight incidents of suppression occurred on seven campuses.

Expression denying Israel’s right to exist nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016 and correlated with actions intended to harm Jewish students. The first half of 2016 saw an almost three-fold increase in the number of campus incidents that contained expression opposing the existence of Israel, a recognized form of anti-Semitism by global leaders such as President Obama, Pope Francis and the prime ministers of Canada, Britain and France and the world’s preeminent scholars of anti-Semitism. There were 43 such incidents in 2016 compared to 15 during the first half of 2015. In fact, expression opposing the existence of Israel highly correlated with conduct that targeted Jewish students for harm.

Divestment resolutions are fueling anti-Semitism. In 2016, the student governments of 10 schools in the study considered anti-Israel divestment resolutions. Of these 10 schools, eight showed the largest increase in anti-Semitism from 2015 to 2016. Conversely, seven of the nine schools in the 2015 study that considered or voted on divestment resolutions showed a marked decrease in anti-Semitic activity in the first half of 2016 when no divestment resolution was considered. The two schools that did not decrease in anti-Semitic activity hosted discussions and votes on divestment.

Anti-Zionism, particularly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities, anti-Zionist student groups, and faculty boycotters, remain the strongest predictors of anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Consistent with 2015, this study revealed that anti-Semitism was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP, and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters. In fact, schools with more faculty boycotters and more BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic activity.

Schools to watch in 2016: the schools with the largest increase from 2015 to 2016 are Columbia University, Vassar College, University of Chicago, NYU, University of Minnesota, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of Florida and the University of Washington.

“Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students,” stated Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers. “Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled. To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.”

The report concluded with recommendations for university administrators including (1) adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that identifies all forms of anti-Jewish bigotry, including when criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism; (2) allocating resources to educate students and faculty about contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination; and (3) establishing clear guidelines about free speech protected under the First Amendment and conduct which violates others’ civil rights, including disrupting or shutting down campus events and restricting free speech and right of assembly.

Read full copy of today’s report.

JNi.Media

Video Exposes Massive and Violent Anti-Semitism on US Campuses [video]

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Jews on American campuses from coast-to-coast are trying to wake up Americans to be aware that violent anti-Semitism is spreading plague, but the students are a weak voice, living in fear and asking, “Never again?”

The Jewish Voices on Campus’ Aaron Goldenberg posted a video this week on the Legal Insurrection website that exposes widespread hate and violence that have become so common place that, in the words of one California student, “it is expected.”

The Jewish Press this past year has published dozens of reports of racist and violent anti-Semitism, including here, here, here, and here. The reaction of American Jewish leaders, let alone non-Jews, has had zero effect. Even worse, there is no lack of American Jews, totally detached from Israel and from Judaism, who throw fuel on the fires of hate by damning Israel for its very existence.

It is totally un-American even to suggest that the United States is not a freedom-loving country.

It is not acceptable to think aloud that Nazism could dominate America.

The American psyche, still imagining that God, Mom, and Apple Pie are the foundations of the country, cannot even consider that the radical Muslim revolution in Europe has sown its seeds of hate and anarchy in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Jews on campus are too afraid to be brave. The same goes for Canada, where a University of Calgary student says he is “paranoid” and sometimes “afraid to walk by myself” on campus.

“Being against Israel has become the cool thing to so,” according to Harvard University student Michael. [No last names were used in the video – ed.]

At Kent State University, a professor freely calls his students his “little jihadists” and teaches them that Israel is the spiritual heir to Hitler.

The same professor is on the terrorist watch list.

It is not very re-assuring to know he is being watched.

Violent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rallies have sent dozens of Jewish students to hospitals.

Gideon of the University of Arizona relates that after he refused entry to his residence to someone whom he did not know and who had brought alcohol with him, he was faced a few minutes later with a gang of 20. “I was struck from behind and was unconscious,” he says. “I was in the hospital for three weeks…with a skull fracture and concussion.”

His conclusion is frightening: “It is sad to see,” he moans.

That’s it? Sad?

Anti-Semites, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Muslim – you name it – are cursing and physically attacking Jews and burning Israeli flags, and it is “sad?”

Is anyone listening?

Campus officials utter empty statements “condemning” violence. Jewish leaders rant and rave. And violence continues.

The Jewish Press reported this week that one university suspended the Students for Justice for Palestine group for one whole week for violating the civil rights of Jews. One week.

SJP was re-instated because it promised to behave nicely.

Put that in the “items to remember” folder.

Wllliam Jacobson wrote on Legal Insurrection, “We have posted many times about how the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, through faculty and Students for Justice in Palestine branches, has turned campuses and classrooms into political battlefields in the worst way.

“When Northeastern University SJP marches to the chant of “Long Live the Intifada,” they are celebrating the bloody suicide bombing campaign.

“When Vassar College SJP pickets a class and forces a professor to walk the gauntlet just because the course involved a trip to Israel, and anti-Israel students jeer Jewish students who spoke up for Israel, they are sending a message of continued conflict — so it was no surprise when Vassar SJP tweeted out a Nazi cartoon….

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘Safe Hillel’ Wants the Jewish Campus Group to be Safe for All

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

There’s been some attention paid lately to a largely unsuccessful effort to portray the Hillel on campus model as a “closed” environment, one that paints Hillel as an inflexible enforcer of unreasonable allegiance to the Jewish State. This effort calls itself “Open Hillel.”

The reason the Open Hillel effort has garnered some notoriety recently is that two Jewish campus groups affiliated with Hillel International voted to reject the Hillel International guidelines, declaring themselves Open Hillels.

Those guidelines include a lot of positive, supportive language for all kinds of ways of expressing one’s Jewishness.They also state that Hillels

will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.

In other words, Hillel students are permitted to say and do whatever they want, they just can’t provide a Hillel platform to Israel haters.

Hillel International responded to the groups who declared themselves Open Hillels like the good uncle it is, lauding the students for expressing their views and for being passionate.

The bottom line message, however, is that if a Hillel-affiliated campus group violates the Israel guidelines by, for example, offering a platform within Hillel to a proponent of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sactions Movement, that group will lose its affiliation to Hillel, along with the right to use the Hillel name, and to avail itself of Hillel resources.

The second step has not yet happened, even on the two campuses, Swarthmore College and Vassar College, which declared themselves Open Hillels.

But along now comes a student-founded and run group calling itself “Safe Hillel,” which takes a different approach to the situation.

SAFE HILLEL

The founder of Safe Hillel, Raphael Fils, is a Boston University sophomore from California. Fils told The Jewish Press that he and several of his friends joined together to take a stand in support of Hillel as a “safe place” for pro-Israel students, after seeing that those who were agitating to take Hillel in the opposite direction began to receive media attention.

“Hillel should not have to change its mission in order to accommodate those who don’t agree with it,” Fils said. “Hillel is the one place students are supposed to feel entirely comfortable in their support of Israel. If that makes some people uncomfortable, there are plenty of other places to go just to hear attacks on Israel,” he continued.

The mission of Safe Hillel is for Hillel to be a safe place where Israel supporters are able to express that view openly, and where Jews of every Jewish denomination are able to practice their Judaism freely.

“Why do students feel the need to ruin Hillel?” Fils said many of his friends were asking.

“Those are the people who are trying to make a lot of noise, but the majority of Hillel students don’t feel it is right to appease the opponents of Israel who want to transform the Jewish campus organization into a battle zone.

“Open Hillel is not really ‘open,’ it’s only being used to accommodate people on the left, those who are harshly critical of Israel’s every move. It is the people on the so-called ‘right’ who are being marginalized,” Fils continued. He also said that he despises those terms anyway, and considers himself someone in the center.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Open Hillel at Vassar Because ‘Israel Haters Are People Too’

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

As went Swarthmore College, so goes Vassar, two tiny liberal arts colleges located in lower Northeastern portion of the United States. Both are incredibly expensive, competitive and uber-liberal. As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Vassar Jewish Union became an Open Hillel.

It should not have come as a big surprise to anyone that Judaism and the Jewish State are not at the top of the list of priorities for the Jewish Union at Vassar College, which is located in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The self-description for the VJU Twitter account and on its Facebook page states that it is “an open and welcoming space for all religious backgrounds and interests to come together!”

So why the need to specifically distance itself from Hillel, given it had already chosen not to use the name?

Like the Swarthmore “Jewish” group on campus, the Vassar Jews felt the need to shout from the rooftops, or at least on their website and twitter feeds, that “identification with Israel is not necessarily an integral part of every individual’s Jewish identity, and that Hillel International has certain standards for partnership which the VJU find unacceptable.”

What can’t the VJU abide? Prohibiting speakers who: “(1) deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; 2) Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; 3) Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; and 4) Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

So VJU refuses to bar the door to those who believe the Jewish State should be annihilated, or who insist Israel should be held to a standard that differs from the one to which any other country is held, or who support economic and or legal warfare against the Jewish State.

In response to the prohibitions in Hillel International’s standards, VJU repeatedly states in its press release announcing its conversion to an “Open Hillel,” that it is non-partisan, will not advocate any particular political opinions, and “will welcome open discourse concerning Israel, Palestine, and any other relevant and critical issues, and will not exclude on the basis of political opinion.”

What will happen when someone from the Zionist Organization of America asks to speak at the Vassar Jewish Union? Or someone from a Tea Party group?  Or a Catholic ardent anti-abortion rights advocate? After all, VJU is supposed to be an “open and welcoming space for all religious backgrounds and interests to come together.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/open-hillel-at-vassar-because-israel-haters-are-people-too/2014/02/20/

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