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Kantor Center Reports Spike in U.S. Campus Anti-Semitism


Edward Kunz, Brandeis Blog

April 25, 2017
 

Earlier this month, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry released its Antisemitism Worldwide 2016 analysis, which this year demonstrates a startling 45% increase in anti-Semitic incidents on U.S. college campuses. The Kantor Center, based at Tel Aviv University, strives to “provide an academic framework for the interdisciplinary research of European Jewry from the end of World War II until the present day.” The Kantor Center is currently led by Dina Porat, a member of the Louis D. Brandeis Center’s Academic Advisory Board. The annual study chronicles the various trends and movements that anti-Semitism manifests itself through. The most recent report starts by chronicling a 12% drop in cases of violent anti-Semitism from 2015 to 2016. Regardless of the lessening of violent anti-Semitism, there is a noticeable uptick in campus based anti-Semitism, especially in the United States.

The Kantor Center’s report details the almost 50% rise in incidents of anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, incidents which are especially prevalent in the form of harassment and insults levied at both Jews and Israel. The report also details cases of vandalism, and the recent surge of anti-Semitic fliers posted on various U.S. campuses. The report is broken down into several sections by country or region, and also chronicles problems on campuses outside of the United States. Recently, Ryerson University in Toronto adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that resembles the internationally co-written “Ottawa Protocol.” This came after incidents in November, chronicled in the Kantor Center’s report, where students staged a walkout in response to a motion of support for Holocaust Education Week on their campus. Their walk-out caused the meeting to lose quorum, and the motion to fail. At that same meeting, Jewish students were intimidated, shouted down and were the targets of insults. There are reports that some Jewish students were locked in the bathrooms to keep them from attending the vote.

In the United Kingdom, the report draws attention to the fact that the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the 31 Member States of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2015, and based on the former EUMC Definition, needs to be modified and formally adopted by the Government as a “non-legally binding guideline for law enforcement agencies.” The Kantor Report also notes that the Definition is “already published in the national police strategy for dealing with hate crime.” The Kantor Center’s report also relayed concerns that have been voiced over continued antisemitism on university campuses, “which the National Union of Students fail to tackle.” The report goes on to describe the victory of a Jewish student at Sheffield Hallam University who was compensated for his complaint about anti-Semitic social media postings by the University’s Palestine Society. The report argues that the ruling is important because “it recognized that anti-Zionist behavior on campus can harass Jewish students and…it endorsed the use of the [EUMC] definition as a guide to determining when anti-Zionist behavior crosses the line into antisemitism.” The university ended up paying the student £3,000.

The tone of the entire report may be optimistic, but it depicts a still dire situation of college campuses worldwide. Whether detailing the “sharp spike in reports of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism” or the white supremacist who claimed that after President Trump’s election “every single one of these Jews will think twice before coming after us and our families,” it is apparent that, regardless of the downturn in violent incidents of anti-Semitism, we must remain vigilant in our fight against the world’s oldest form of hatred.



 
 
 
 
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Over 50% of Jewish American college students report that they experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on their campuses during the 2013-2014 academic year. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that campus anti-Semitism “is a serious problem which warrants further attention.” Campus anti-Semitism can include subjecting Jewish students to different treatment, harassment, violence or a hostile environment. In some cases, campus anti-Semitism is related to anti-Israel sentiment. In other cases, it is not. For most purposes, we define anti-Semitism according to the U.S. Department of State definition of anti-Semitism. .
 
 
 
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Richard Cravatts
Dr. Cravatts has published over 350 articles, op-ed pieces, columns, and chapters in books on campus anti-Semitism, campus free speech, terrorism, Constitutional law, Middle East politics, real estate, and social policy, and is the author of the newly-released Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s War Against Israel & Jews.
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