100+ JEWISH STUDENTS REPORT FEELING FRIGHTENED, TARGETED AND INTIMIDATED
AMCHA Initiative Announces “Student Voices” Webpage Which Documents Personal Testimonials from Students at 47 Schools in 20 States
Contact: Nicole Rosen
Santa Cruz, CA, June 22, 2015 – As the school year comes to a close, AMCHA Initiative today announced a webpage devoted to sharing personal accounts from students who have experienced antisemitism on campus. The webpage details hundreds of student concerns from 47 colleges and universities in 20 states.
“Campus antisemitism is widespread and it’s escalating at an alarming rate,” said AMCHA director and cofounder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin. “Students should know they are not alone. We hope the compilation of concerns shared by brave Jewish students over the past year-and-a-half will help university leaders and elected officials understand the breadth of the problem and take action. Adopting the State Department definition of antisemitism to better identify and educate against contemporary Jew-hatred is a critical step.”
All of the personal declarations included on the AMCHA webpage were stated publicly at student government meetings or quoted in news stories.
The following are excerpts from some of the student accounts. A full list of testimonials, organized alphabetically by school, can be seen here.
- “I don’t want to wear my Jewish star on campus…I don’t want to wear anything that has Israel on it or any connection to Judaism at all. I don’t want to have a target on my back” – Kean University
- “I am terrified knowing I may not be able to discuss my Judaism without taunts, or worse, violence.” – Northwestern University
- “Some people see my Star of David and brand me as someone toxic, someone worthy of their disdain and vitriol.” – University of Washington
- “This [divestment] campaign has made Israel and students who support Israel as ‘the other,’ through intimidation, mistruth and alienation.” – Marquette University
- “I had never in my life, ever experienced antisemitism first hand until this past year when I witnessed Professor Alam and Professor Sullivan display an age old hatred against the Jewish people…No one should have to experience hatred like this in their learning environment.” – Northeastern University
- “I couldn’t leave my house and I was so riddled with anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.” – Rutgers University
- “As a Jewish student on this campus, and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I was disgusted and horrified by the antisemitic comments on Yik Yak.” – San Diego State University
- “I feel like I am being attacked because I wear my Star of David out in public, I wear shirts with the word Israel on it or shirts with Hebrew lettering, I have Israel stickers on my laptop…[I have been] spit at…I have been called a terrorist, baby killer, woman killer, [told that] I use blood to make matzah and other foods, Christ killer, occupier, and much more…[a female student] looked at me with a straight face and said to ‘go burn in an oven’” – University of North Carolina
- “Hillel staff are hearing numerous reports from students that they no longer feel safe at Stanford, feel ostracized and targeted, and are unable to express their identities and opinions in the dorms and around campus.” – Stanford University
- “I’m tired of antisemitism being a completely normal occurrence, and people standing idly by because as long as they are only going after the Jews nobody cares.” – Temple University
- “I no longer feel as though UC Davis is a completely safe environment for Jewish students or a place where I can feel free to express my support for Israel.” – UC Davis
- “These attacks on my identity and rights to self-determination have not only affected me emotionally, but have had devastating effects on my academics and have hindered my purpose on this campus – to be a student.” – UCLA
- “For the first time in my life, I felt that my identity, an unchangeable part of who I am, was under attack and my entire existence as a Jew was being questioned.” – UC Santa Barbara
- “It was not just individual students who were the victims of violent threats and intimidation by pro-Palestinian forces. Student Government representative were similarly targeted and, most telling, called ‘kike’ and a ‘dirty Jew’…students were afraid to attend their classes because they felt unsafe.” – University of Michigan
- “From their harassment of students participating in the spring break trip, to the Nazi incident and anti-Zionist rhetoric that verges on blood libel, SJP has done everything in its power to make Vassar an unsafe space for Jews.” – Vassar College
- “About two months ago when SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) started the ‘DePaul Divest’ campaign, I no longer felt safe on this campus and I no longer felt I could be a proud Jewish student.” – DePaul University
- “However naïve it may seem, I did not think I would be the target of antisemitism while attending a college with a substantial Jewish population. However, times have changed, and we’re faced with a new and difficult reality here on campus.” – Emory University
- “I was told by a Palestinian student visiting FSU that …I am a racist, and a Nazi, and an imperialist who needs to check my white privilege… And I think for the first time in my adult life, I truly understood what it means to stare racism straight in the face.” – Florida State University
AMCHA Initiative is one of 32 groups that has called on the University of California (UC) to adopt the U.S. State Department definition, which acknowledges that anti-Israel rhetoric can cross the line into antisemitism. AMCHA also delivered petitions signed by nearly 700 UC professors, UC alumni and California rabbis to the UC Regents recently, urging them to adopt the U.S. State Department definition as the standard for identifying antisemitism.
AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit, grassroots-based, organization, dedicated to monitoring, investigating and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America.