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Watchdog report finds alarming spike in Israel-related anti-Semitism on college campuses

(JNS) – The number of Israel-related, anti-Semitic incidents against Jewish students on campuses increased 70 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to a report published on Tuesday, Sept. 17, by the nonprofit watchdog AMCHA Initiative.

Bias Shifts In Focus
In its report, “The Harassment of Jewish Students on U.S. Campuses: How Eliminationist Anti-Zionism and Academic BDS Incite Campus Anti-Semitism,” AMCHA monitored more than 400 college campuses across America for anti-Semitic activity and its report highlights the increases in campus anti-Semitism in the past year, as well as recommendations to help universities tackle the issue.

“While acts of classical anti-Semitism in the U.S. reached near-historic levels in 2018 and included the deadliest attack against Jews in American history, the nation’s colleges and universities revealed a somewhat different but nonetheless troubling story. On U.S. campuses across the country, harassment motivated by classical anti-Semitism actually decreased, and significantly so. At the same time, however, the number of Israel-related acts of harassment increased significantly,” wrote the report’s researchers.

The report documented how academic BDS-compliant behavior was linked to 86 percent of Israel-related acts of anti-Semitic harassment of students. Overall, academic BDS activity more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, while promotion or implementation of academic BDS increased by more than 100 percent in the same time frame.

Pro-Israel Students Harassed
The report further showed that expressions calling for the total boycott or exclusion of pro-Israel students from campus life nearly tripled from 2017 to 2018. In addition, acts accusing Jewish and pro-Israel students of supporting racism, genocide and other evils more than doubled, while there was an 147 percent increase in linking Jewish and pro-Israel students to “white supremacy.”

Expression promoting or condoning terrorism against Israel also increased by 67 percent.

Role Of Faculty
Part of the report focused on how faculty took a more active and prominent role in promoting and implementing academic BDS in the last year. Researchers explained that the data highlights “the prominent and growing role that faculty play in advocating for and implementing academic BDS” and shows that the “faculty play a no less important role in providing academic legitimacy to the Israel-related anti-Semitic expression that accompanies and justifies academic BDS promotion and implementation.”

“Academic BDS is more dangerous than people realize,” stated Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA’s director and one of the lead researchers. “Not only does implementation curtail students’ educational rights and opportunities, its promotion on campus, particularly by faculty who give it academic legitimacy, is inciting an alarming increase in harassment against Israel’s presumed supporters, first and foremost Jewish students. Administrators must take the necessary steps now to stop these unacceptable acts of intolerance.”

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