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Rabbi Finman Interview with LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus: The Definition of Anti-Semitism and Anti-Semitism on Campus


Michelle Yabes, Brandeis Blog

October 26, 2015
 

Earlier this month, LDB President Kenneth L. Marcus had an online interview with Rabbi Herschel Finman for his radio show, The Jewish Hour, to discuss his latest book, The Definition of Anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism on American college campuses.

As Marcus describes in his interview, one of the biggest obstacles LDB has had to face when dealing with anti-Semitism on campus is the apprehension college and university administrators have when anti-Semitic actions are tied in with anti-Israel movements. Marcus explains that many administrators are unsure of where the line lies between free political expression and anti-Semitism. For this reason, Marcus states that he saw a need to write and publish a book that explores and clarifies this topic.

Marcus also noted the US State Department’s Definition of anti-Semitism as a significant tool in identifying how and when anti-Israel hate crosses the line into anti-Semitism. In light of the how hostile college campuses can become for Jewish students in the wake of anti-Israel movements such as BDS, Marcus explained the importance of the adoption of the State Department’s definition by university officials, as well as domestic federal institutions, as it provides clear criteria to review potentially anti-Semitic actions and can thus help administrators to determine proper responses.

Anti-Semitism has had a long history across the globe, and as Marcus explains while discussing the origin of Jewish hate, Jewish people have often been used as a scapegoat for domestic and international problems and have long the target for dehumanizing stereotypes and caricatures. In contemporary times, anti-Israelism has been used to veil anti-Semitism, and, in conjunction, anti-Semitic incidents have occurred from colleges and universities nationwide; from Harvard University in Massachusetts, to the University of Michigan, and to Stanford University in California. Marcus states that it is crucial to prevent this resurgence of anti-Semitism from becoming a continued global trend and be allowed to gain momentum, and that it is important to fight against it.

To listen to the full interview, please click here.

Rabbi Herschel Finman is a Chabad Rabbi serving greater Detroit and cyberspace. His radio show is Detriot’s only Jewish radio program, and can be heard Sundays 11:00AM-12:00PM ET, on WLQV 1500 AM and http://www.wlqv.com.

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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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Tevi Troy is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute, and a writer and consultant on health care and domestic policy.
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