In response to increased reports of anti-Semitism on campus and intimidation of Jewish students, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) invited Jewish students in Victoria, Australia to fill in a questionnaire about their on-campus experiences.
More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents reported experiencing or witnessing some form of anti-Semitism. Written material, such as posters and signs, were the most common form of anti-Semitism, followed by verbal attack and prejudice.
Students reported more widespread anti-Semitism at La Trobe University than at Deakin, Melbourne or Monash. Many students cited individual examples of anti-Semitism but did not consider anti-Semitism a problem on their campus. Few students admitted to hiding their Jewishness or Israel views to avoid attack or abuse but most said they knew Jewish students who did.
Most students made no distinction between traditional anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. There was a strong crossover between abuse of Israel and abuse of Jewish symbols and individuals. Swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti are used by a range of groups to attack Jews and Israel.
The questionnaire also uncovered cases of faculty members using their positions to launch polemics against Israel or make anti-Semitic statements in ways which intimidated Jewish students.
These results indicate a disturbing number of cases of anti-Semitism on campus in Victoria, creating a campus environment that is uncomfortable and sometimes intimidating for Jewish students.
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