We, the adults, need to step in

Opinion: We send our children to schools and universities to be instilled with values and the tools needed to find their place in the world, but since the war began Jewish students are busier hiding than studying; We must pressure universities to remedy this situation immediately

Shira Ruderman|
Lately, the news pages have been flooded with alarming reports of how hostile universities and college campuses in the United States, Canada and Europe have become for Jewish students. Higher education institutions, including some of the world's most prestigious, where knowledge and intellect are held in high regard, are failing to protect a specific group of their students: those who are Jewish.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
Read more:
Jewish students are being targeted and defamed solely for being Jewish, all this under the pretext of progressive values and freedom of speech. In some small circles this has been a reality for years, but the current rampant wave of antisemitism on campuses, which is also dominating the streets of cities such as New York, Los Angeles and London, has significantly increased since October 7th and it must serve as a warning sign for us all.
2 View gallery
Anti-Israel demonstration at University Wisconsin Madison on Hamas Day of Rage
Anti-Israel demonstration at University Wisconsin Madison on Hamas Day of Rage
Anti-Israel demonstration at University Wisconsin Madison on Hamas Day of Rage
(Photo: Screenshot)
Recent reports have shown a rise of over 500% in antisemitic incidents worldwide, many of which take place against our children on campuses, and not only against them: faculty members and others exposing their Jewish identity are targeted. The tragic death of Paul Kessler, recently struck and killed by pro-Palestinian protesters in Los Angeles, shows that a red line has been crossed. These are not actually pro-Palestinian demonstrations, and they do not stand for peace and progressive values; they are violent and dangerous acts of hatred targeting and threatening Jewish people wherever they live.
A week ago, I participated at a special gathering at the United Nations focusing on the rise of antisemitism worldwide. During the event, I listened to the testimony of a young Jewish student from Columbia University, Noa Fay, who said the following: “Every time I walk to my class, dining hall or library, I must ask myself who around me thinks I am an architect of genocide, a colonizer and a white supremacist, and who believes that my rape, torture or death should I have been in Israel on October 7th, is a legitimate form of resistance. The majority of my fellow students believe these things to be factually correct. To them, the Jew is the sole aggressor, and that is all they need to know. It is racism so deeply rooted that it has altered the psyche of an entire student population. The adults need to step in; We are students and we are in over our heads.”
As a mother to a university student in the United States and a long-time professional in the American Jewish community, I am familiar with this frightening reality. The most progressive spaces have been plagued with these dangerous misconceptions. Unfortunately, they are not restricted to small inconsequential circles, but infect more moderate and uninformed populations. This creates a dangerous environment for Jews, especially those who are less connected and do not have a strong foundation of knowledge to lean on. Today, being a Jewish student on American college campuses is a challenge.
2 View gallery
Woman holds antisemitic sign at pro-Palestinian rally
Woman holds antisemitic sign at pro-Palestinian rally
Woman holds antisemitic sign at pro-Palestinian rally
(Photo: Instagram)
Last week, in Washington D.C., we witnessed one of the largest rallies in U.S. history, coordinated by the American Jewish community and its organizations, manifesting their support in Israel. It is true that this demonstration of support gave American Jews strength and hope that many of their fellow Americans stand with them, but we must remember that one of the reasons for this rally was the raging wave of antisemitism we are witnessing in the United States. The objective of the rally was to enlist the support of the general American public, precisely because places like American campuses have become unsafe for Jews.
Our Western liberal values motivate us to send our children to these fine institutions of higher learning so that they can acquire vast knowledge, skills and tools, and obtain an academic degree that will shape their future careers. We hope academia and the strong sense of activism on college campuses motivate them to become productive members of society and use their education to do good in the world. These hopes and efforts prove futile when, under the false slogans of academic freedom and progressive values, our children – these young impressionable Jewish students – are being threatened, harassed and attacked for not other reason than their Jewish identity. We cannot allow this to go on.
שירה רודרמןShira RudermanPhoto: Itay Tzavker
It is time for us to hold the academic institutions that do not speak up and act against antisemitism accountable. We must insist that the professors, teaching assistants, deans and faculty advisers who are tasked with making our children more educated individuals uphold the true values engraved on their flags. Whether by calling them out or withholding tuition and donations, we must not tolerate a reality where Jewish students are in danger in institutions that should be focused on enriching the world and be safe havens for all.
A few days ago, Brandeis University banned a pro-Palestinian group on campus for publicly supporting Hamas, a recognized and thoroughly documented terrorist organization. I urge more academic institutions to follow in Brandeis’ footsteps and prevent the supporters of terrorists from displaying their hateful rhetoric. And I urge Jewish parents who send their children to colleges and universities to demand they do so. We must do this now, before more lives are lost.
  • Shira Ruderman is the executive director of the Ruderman Family Foundation
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.