Kenneth L. Marcus on Campus Anti-Semitism

LDB President Kenneth Marcus recently went on The Edwin Black Show to discuss the anti-Israeli de-legitimization, or BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) movement. Mr. Marcus, in particular, was able to address what is happening on college campuses in regards to this BDS movement. According to Mr. Marcus, this problem is something repeatedly presenting itself on America’s college campuses all around the country.

What at first may begin as a political sentiment oftentimes, stated Mr. Marcus, turns virulent so to be not just aimed at Israel and Israelis, but also in a sense to Jewish Americans as well. The political movement against Israel transforms into something more foreboding, and is often verbalized in an anti-Semitic fashion, making use of traditional anti-Semitic motifs.

The problem is exacerbated because of the disproportionate influence on college campuses of individuals with extreme positions, especially if they are on the far left. It is not the case, Mr. Marcus states, that most professors and students are anti-Semitic. Rather, it’s a relatively small number of anti-Semitic people in a given situation that get much more attention on a college campus than they would in any other faction of American life. Compounding that, anti-Israeli professors are the ones more likely to be teaching Middle East studies and the Humanities. Additionally, they are the ones who are more likely to say it’s okay to introduce your values into the classroom as well as to be politically active themselves. It follows, then, that anti-Israeli professors are engaged in shifting the politics in a way that supports their movement. All of these factors, says Mr. Marcus, lead to greater anti-Israel, and sometimes anti-Semitic, influence on college campuses.

Speech from Tammi Rossman-Benjamin will Highlight Campus Anti-Semitism

On June 30th, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin will deliver a talk at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, California. Entitled “Campus and the New Anti-Semitism”, the talk will focus on “the hostile, anti-Israel climate which university students across the country are facing and the challenges of addressing campus anti-Semitism.” Rossman-Benjamin, a Brandeis Center…

Campus Anti-Semitism Fact Sheet Invaluable to Jewish Students

The Brandeis Center has just released an important new resource for Jewish American college students, The Louis D. Brandeis Center’s Short Guide to the Law Against Campus Anti-Semitism. The Short Guide is a Fact Sheet on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Over 40% of Jewish American college students have admitted to experiencing or being aware of anti-Semitism on their campus, but not many know that they do not just have to stand idly by as they are discriminated against. Crafted by Brandeis Center staff attorney Danit Sibovits, the Fact Sheet shines a light on underused processes available to victims of anti-Semitic biases and sentiments, while helping identify what actually constitutes such an incident.

Top Ten Surprises About Campus Anti-Semitism

Some people might react with skepticism when told that when examining college campuses in the United States, there has been a noticeable resurgence of anti-Semitic incidents, but the trend exists regardless. The Brandeis Center has compiled this list of facts that may surprise some about campus anti-Semitism.

1. High Volume of Incidents in the Last Decade-

Anti-Semitism might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about bias incidents on college campuses, but in fact, according to Aryeh Weinberg’s findings, over 40% of Jewish students report experiencing or being aware of anti-Semitism on their college campus. During a study on anti-Semitism on college campuses, the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise discovered an even higher amount, that “78% of Jewish students report witnessing or personally experiencing anti-Semitism.” The truly frightening outcome of this rise of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism is the impact in the classroom, stemming from professors. As Weinberg puts it, “the academic experience of students is being impacted by anti-Israel activism on campus.”

Franklin Roosevelt, Founder of Israel ?

FDR and Ibn Saud

Move over, Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, and Menachem Begin: it turns out that the man most responsible for the founding of Israel was, in fact, Franklin D. Roosevelt. This astonishing claim is being circulated by FDR partisans in a new effort to rescue their hero’s reputation in the Jewish world.

The depiction of Roosevelt as a Zionist hero, first presented in the 2006 book Saving the Jews, by divorce lawyer Robert Rosen, has recently been resurrected by Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman in their new book, FDR and the Jews. Both works emphasize the president’s rhetoric rather than his policies. Boilerplate pro-Zionist messages sent by Roosevelt to Jewish organizational events serve their narratives better then his actual policies regarding Palestine and Zionism.

The case made by Breitman and Lichtman also relies heavily on bit of curious reasoning: since a German conquest of Palestine would have resulted in the destruction of the Jewish community there, and since U.S. military equipment played a significant role in the Allied defeat of the Nazis in North Africa, thus stopping the Germans from reaching Palestine, therefore FDR’s approval of the transfer of that equipment means that if not for Roosevelt, there would have been “no Jewish state, no Israel,” as they put it.

At about the same time the Breitman-Lichtman book came out earlier this year, I happened to be doing some research at the Central Zionist Archives, in Jerusalem. There I came across new documents that illustrate the contrast between FDR’s public expressions of sympathy for Zionism and his behind-the-scenes coldness on the subject.

Sweden’s Reckoning

The UK and U.S. Embassy have cautioned their nationals about visiting Stockholm and environs because of a of week of riots in ostensibly enlightened Sweden by predominantly Muslim immigrants and their children, attributed alternatively to “police brutality” or bad social conditions. In 2010, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued its own “travel advisory” cautioning Jewish travelers…

Should a Pro-Israel Student Organization Be Required to Admit People Who Oppose the Existence of the State of Israel? According to a Troubling Campus Trend, They Should

For the final post of my oddly 21-day “week” of guest posting for the Brandeis Center blog, I want to focus on a troubling trend on college campuses which prevents belief-based organizations from excluding people hostile to their core beliefs. I talk about this trend in detail and at length in my book, and for now, the threat mostly concerns evangelical Christian groups on college campuses. For my nearly 12 year career, I have watched universities come up with different rationales for kicking evangelical Christian students off campus, primarily because of evangelicals views on sexual morality and topics like gay rights and marriage equality. I admit to have been surprised by how common this was on campus before I started at FIRE in 2001, but fighting these attempts on campus has become a regular part of my job. You can see a long list of creative approaches to punish religious groups on the religious liberty section of FIRE’s website.