STUDY: college antisemitism increasing in 2016

A new study shows antisemitism and suppression of speech incidents are increasing on college campuses.

AMCHA, a non-profit organization dedicated to investigating and documenting antisemitism on college campuses, has reported on incidents of antisemitism at more than 100 public and private schools so far in 2016.

During the first half of 2016, there were 100 more incidents of antisemitism on college campuses than in 2015. Between January to June of 2016, 287 antisemitic incidents were reported at 64 schools, which is a 45 percent increase from the first six months of 2015.

The study also found that suppression of speech incidents nearly double from 2015 to 2016. These incidents included the suppression of Jewish students’ speech rights and hindering their assembly. Fourteen incidents of suppressing Jewish student speech were documented at 15 campuses in 2016, while eight incidents at seven campuses were reported in 2015.

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“Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled,” stated Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers.

AMCHA traces these incidents back to anti-Zionist organizations such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The mere presence of BDS groups on campus caused the likelihood of antisemitic incidents to double, while with SJP, antisemitism was eight times more likely to occur, and with faculty boycotters, antisemitic acts were six times as likely.

“Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students,” Beckwith said. “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.”

Students for Justice in Palestine has a long history of antisemitism, including recent fundraising efforts for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh by hundreds of SJP chapters across the country. Odeh was convicted in the bombing of an Israeli supermarket in 1970 that killed two people and an attempted attack on the British consulate. She is also a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist group.

[RELATED: Fundraiser for Palestinian terrorist to be held at DePaul]

With the existence of these groups on campus, expression denying Israel’s right to exist have flourish and nearly tripled between 2015 and 2016. The first half of 2016 saw an almost threefold increase in the number of campus incidents that contained expression opposing the existence of Israel. Forty-two incidents were reported in 2016 versus 15 during the first half of 2015.

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The report reveals that the schools with the largest increase of antisemitism from 2015 to 2016 were Columbia University, Vassar College, University of Chicago, New York University, University of Florida, and the University of Washington.

“To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary antisemitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people,” Beckwith asserts.

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