The Spread of Hatred: Antisemitism in University Settings

Jewish students at universities are being harassed and threatened in unprecedented numbers, with disturbing vitriol. That’s more than a danger for those students. It is a profound danger for a liberal, tolerant democracy. It is time to call it out and oppose it. The attacks and violent demonstrations shine a particularly harsh light on the sorry state of higher education. The public has watched mass demonstrations against Israel on campus after campus. The demonstrators never mention the victims of the Hamas massacres, never condemn the terrorists, and often go beyond their support for innocent Palestinians to cheer Hamas. These threats are real for Jewish students, who face harassment, intimidation, and bullying. The situation has been deteriorating for years, but the scale and ferocity of the harassment rose dramatically after Hamas launched its terror attack. When some brave students have spoken out in Israel’s defense, they have faced the jackboots of campus bullies. Instead of protecting those students, universities have abandoned their fundamental duty to ensure a safe environment and promote open discourse about serious issues. The situation is most toxic at elite universities and schools in major cities, where anti-Israeli students are reinforced by angry activists. This is the most hostile environment Jewish students have ever faced in America. They were never subjected to this kind of raw hatred before. As the Dean of Berkeley’s law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, a man of the left, put it, “Nothing has prepared me for the antisemitism I see on college campuses now.” First, the anger is directed at all Jews. The second lie is that these anti-Israel protests merely seek to establish a Palestinian state so they can live in harmony with Israel. Their actual, stated goal is the slogan repeated at all demonstrations, “Palestine shall be free, from the river to the sea.” Israel’s military response has certainly intensified the protests, which will grow as the fighting escalates. But the protests began before any Israeli response. Left-wing groups avoided questioning the lie for one additional reason. They are now tightly aligned with the hate-Israel movement and want to sustain their coalition with militant Muslims. The fury was directed at Jews. It still is. We have seen countless videos of pro-Palestinian students shouting down peaceful Jewish protests. We’ve read vile social media posts from faculty calling Jews “pigs” and “excrement,” beyond the usual false charges of “apartheid” and “settler colonialism.”