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Swastika and the word 'Jew' taped next to student's Israeli flag in Drexel dorm room
Photo: ADL
Anti-Semitic activity on US campuses increasing
ADL says rise in number and intensity of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents in American colleges 'are generating heightened concern in the Jewish community about the atmosphere on campus for Jewish students.'
As the 2014-2015 US academic year winds down, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is reporting a marked increase in the number and intensity of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses.

 

 

During this academic year, ADL counted a total of 520 anti-Israel events on campus, representing a 38% increase compared to the previous academic year.

 

Moreover, boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns were initiated on a total of 29 US college campuses, nearly double the campaigns seen during the previous academic year.

 

"These incidents are troubling and are generating heightened concern in the Jewish community about the atmosphere on campus for Jewish students," said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman. "While the vast majority of Jewish students report feeling safe on their campuses, the incidents reported at certain schools are disturbing and must be proactively addressed.

 

"The BDS campaigns and the protests against Israel have a limited impact generally, but individually some Jewish students have reported feeling harassed and intimidated. Students should not have to hide their Jewish identity to play a role in campus student life."

 

BDS campaign on US campus. 'Students should not have to hide their Jewish identity to play a role in campus student life' (Photo: AP)
BDS campaign on US campus. 'Students should not have to hide their Jewish identity to play a role in campus student life' (Photo: AP)

 

In an op-ed published Friday in JTA, Foxman called for a comprehensive approach to fighting BDS on campus.

 

In response to the reported activity, ADL has been engaging directly with pro-Israel campus groups and students on campus via social media and recently launched an ADL on Campus Twitter account as a resource designed especially for Jewish students and student groups.

 

Swastika and the word 'Jew' taped next to student's Israeli flag in a dorm room at Dexel (Photo: Courtesy of ADL) (Photo: Courtesy of ADL)
Swastika and the word 'Jew' taped next to student's Israeli flag in a dorm room at Dexel (Photo: Courtesy of ADL)

 

ADL had high demand during the academic year for its Words to Action program, which empowers Jewish students to respond effectively to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity. The League has delivered the program more than 72 times to more than 1,900 students across the country, and more trainings are scheduled.

 

A number of serious anti-Semitic incidents were reported during the 2014-2015 academic year. Selected examples include:

  • In May, a student at Drexel returned to his residence hall to find a swastika and the word "JEW" taped next to his Israeli flag;
  • In April, a University of Missouri residence hall was vandalized with a swastika and the words, "You’ve been warned."
  • In March, a UCLA student seeking a nomination to the student council’s judicial board was asked, "Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?"

 

President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday condemned the calls to boycott Israeli academic and research institutions. "The global scientific community must quash as a matter of urgency attempts to politicize science," he said. "These boycotts are an affront to the principle of academic freedom and a disaster for science."

 

Rivlin made the comments during the award ceremony for the 2015 Wolf Foundation Prize at the Knesset. The prize was awarded to nine recipients in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to humanity, and to the good relations between people – without regard for nationality, race, color, religion, sex, or political opinion.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the growing threat as well during Sunday's cabinet meeting, saying that Israel faces an "international campaign to blacken its name" aimed at delegitimizing its very existence regardless to its policies.

 

"We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy," he said.

 

Dudi Goldman and Ynetnews contributed to this report.

 

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