(JNS) A significant segment of anti-Israel activism on college campuses activism reported in 2019 contributed to an atmosphere in which Jewish students felt under attack, and from which antisemitism sometimes emerged, according to an Anti-Defamation League report released on May 27. The report comes as some campuses plan to reopen in the fall.
“We anticipate a significant uptick in anti-Israel activity once students are able to return,” said ADL national president and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Some of the more radical expressions of anti-Israel sentiment that we witnessed last year morphed into outright antisemitism. Many of these manifestations left Jewish students feeling besieged and threatened.”
According to the new report titled “Antisemitism and the Radical Anti-Israel Movement on U.S. Campuses in 2019,” anti-Israel rhetoric and activities on campuses often emerged from the campaigns calling for boycotting the Jewish state and the implementation of annual Israeli Apartheid Week programs. Additionally, the report documented several events where pro-Israel or Jewish students felt threatened.
The report highlighted that anti-Israel groups on campuses receive much of their funding from student government resources, which generally are supported by student activity fees. They are also supported by outside donors, including foundations, some of whom have expressed their own anti-Israel positions. Most notable is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), which provides significant funding to the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace. RBF also donates to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Grassroots Jerusalem, both of which have engaged in anti-Zionist rhetoric that has veered into extremism or antisemitism. Another funder is the Westchester Peace Action Committee, which provides significant funding to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and has its own website that includes antisemitic content. SJP is also funded by American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), some of whose members have a history of making antisemitic remarks.
The ADL report calls on campus administrators and faculty to take a series of steps to address anti-Israel incidents and antisemitism on campus. Said Greenblatt, “At a time when antisemitism in the U.S. has spiked to historic levels and against the backdrop of COVID-19, which has revived old anti-Jewish conspiracies, college presidents and university administrators should take steps to prevent this prejudice from violating norms on campus and diminishing the educational experience of these students.”
Main Photo: A mock Israeli checkpoint set up during “Israeli Apartheid Week” in May 2010 on the campus of University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.