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College: There’s No Place Like Home

Since the start of the fall semester this year, universities across the United States have been desecrated with vitriolic anti-Semitic propaganda, causing dissent and discomfort across college campuses country-wide.

While there have always been anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiments found on college campuses, the degree of discrimination against Jews and demonization of Israel and Israelis has recently reached a turning point. Students across college campuses are wondering how universities across the country plan put a stop to such unfathomable discrimination.

Hate can be expressed in many ways, one of which is through flyers. Flyers are being distributed country-wide blaming Jews for the sexual assault allegations against the newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The flyer reads: “Every time some Anti-White, Anti-American, Anti-freedom event takes place, you look at it, and its Jews behind it,” and it depicts Kavanaugh surrounded by Jews with clear Jewish Stars drawn on their foreheads. Among these “Jews” were Kavanaugh’s accusers and their attorneys, one of whom is Jewish, with the words “Good Goy” on it, meaning “good non-Jewish person.” This propaganda, which blames Jews for the political problems of the world, is a clear and despicable act of anti-Semitism.

Colleges in Virginia, California, Iowa, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are sites of distribution for these inappropriate, discriminatory flyers. Similar incidents were found in Maryland (warning people not to come within 200 yards of Jews), Washington (accusing Jews of being murderers and thieves) and Texas (certain posters promoting an event with Israelis from minority communities were vandalized with slander, referring to the Israelis guest speakers as “murderers”).

Along with these flyers, there has been a recent spurt of swastika appearances. In Omaha, a veteran’s tribute to fallen military members, including those killed in World War II fighting Nazism, was vandalized. Similarly, in Illinois 200 gravestones were desecrated with a swastika and the words “Sieg Heil.”

The swastika engravings also spread to educational institutions; for instance, a swastika was arranged using pushpins on Harvard University’s Bulletin Board. Spokesman Sam Harp says these symbols of anti-Semitism and hatred are “anathema to our values.”  

Similar to the anti-Semitic acts in Harvard, papers with swastikas and “just say no to Jewish lies!” were posted in Cornell University. More swastikas were found: one posted on the lounge window of Binghamton University and another etched into the desk of a classroom in a local Maryland High School.

Anti-Semitic students are not alone in their hateful, untrue and biased acts of discrimination across colleges. Professor John Cheney-Lippold of Michigan University, who is currently being disciplined by the university, refused to write his student a recommendation letter solely because of her choice in location of study: Israel. Cheney-Lippold wrote to his student that he cannot write the letter because he pledged an “academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine.”

Professors and students alike abused the power of free speech to unfairly discriminate against Jews. Recently, power was given to the most controversial, notoriously anti-Semitic professor Hatem Bazian, the founder of the hate group SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) when he was selected to be the face of the University of Berkeley’s Students Peace and Justice Commission. The commission’s goal is to find peaceful alternatives to war, but appointing this tenured professor commissioner made some students question whether this goal will ever be justly fulfilled.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks anti-Semitism across the country, there has been a 57% increase in anti-Semitic acts this year. It is important to note the power of words, human capabilities and the difference between hate and self-expression. Anti-Semitism has recently burgeoned on college campuses sparking these disgraceful attacks with a shameful lack of effort  by the universities to condemn such behaviors.

College is a place students are encouraged to feel at home and discover themselves. Why, then, are people like Hatem Bazian appointed to positions of power? The foundation of colleges are professors and mentors who are supposed to protect students and encourage growth. Why, then, are they the ones who expose students to intimidation, fear and insecurity? College is often called a “Home away from home.” If that is true, why are students across the country able to desecrate their “home” and make their fellow students feel unwelcome? These issues are imperative to these students’ experiences and comfort on college campuses country-wide.  

If a student experiences such crimes on campus, or feels attacked/discriminated against in any way, they should report the incident immediately or visit the psychological clinic in Queens Hall during their open hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

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