You may have seen CNN’s recent special report on antisemitism in America which featured campus antisemitism alongside the tragically more familiar street violence, synagogue shootings and right-wing extremism.
Having witnessed this type of behavior first-hand at my son’s Quaker school a decade ago, where he was discriminated against just for supporting Israel’s right to exist, it was gratifying to find that more attention is now being paid to conduct which crosses the line from free speech to bullying, harassment, erasure of Jewish identity and violations of Jewish students’ civil rights.
The Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, describes this form of antisemitism as being “like climate change, slowly but surely, the temperature is rising. Some people deny it, then some people say we can adapt to it, but suddenly it reaches the point, the temperatures become so inhospitable that people can no longer live there.”
Determined to understand and expose the extent of this problem and its far-reaching implications both for the Jewish community and the country at-large, I have devoted a great deal of time and effort to connecting with a cohort of determined lawyers, public officials and other activists who has emerged to support the courageous students speaking out and standing up against this hatred. Some victories have been achieved, and positive momentum is building, but there is a long way to go and my efforts continue.
The CNN report’s segment on campus antisemitism featured a SUNY New Paltz student who co-founded a campus support group for sexual assault victims, but who was later kicked out of the group because she shared an Instagram post about being a Zionist.
If you’re asking what does supporting sexual assault victims have to do with whether one supports Israel’s right to exist, you’re not alone.
Tens of thousands of American Jewish college students have been experiencing such discriminatory treatment and “Zionist litmus tests” for years.
Fortunately, though, all of us can help by demanding action of our elected officials.
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