A special study in Australia revealed that antisemitism has become widespread in local campuses: Two out of three Jewish students in the country experienced antisemitism during their studies, and over half of the students (57%) hid their Jewish identity in higher education institutions to avoid experiencing antisemitism.
These concerning statistics arise from a nationwide comprehensive study conducted at universities across Australia tracking the phenomenon.
This is the first study of its kind in Australia, conducted in 33 higher education institutions (the top 5 universities received extra weight in the study), attempting to uncover the experiences and feelings of Jewish students and provide a picture of "daily antisemitism" that goes unreported.
The study was commissioned by the Zionist Federation of Australia, supported by the Australian Union of Jewish Students and the World Zionist Organization.
As mentioned, 64% of participants reported at least one antisemitic incident to which they were exposed during their time at a local university.
One expression of Jewish students' sense of helplessness is the fact that the overwhelming majority – 85% – did not report the incidents because they believed the issue would not be seriously addressed by the institutions.
In addition, antisemitic experiences also have long-term implications: no less than 20% of Jewish students indicated that they refrained from arriving on campus to avoid the possibility of encountering antisemitism.
Jeremy Leibler, President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said: "It is unconscionable that such a large fraction of Australia’s Jewish university students have felt the need to hide their identity. These findings are also important for the Israeli government. We can and should do much more to fund educational programs in response to this unsettling situation."
Racheli Baratz-Rix, the World Zionist Organization’s head of the Department for Combating Antisemitism & Enhancing Resilience, emphasized that "these numbers serve as a cautionary indicator. The escalating antisemitism in Australia is a harbinger, demanding immediate and holistic action to prevent graver repercussions."
Alisa Foster, president of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, said: “Our universities have glaringly failed Jewish students, making many feel the need to conceal their identity. I hope this startling data will prompt decision-makers to introspect and act, ensuring that Jewish students receive the recognition, voice, and representation they deserve.
The study was conducted between March and April 2023 and included a student database from the past 5 years.