AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization founded by two University of California faculty members that is dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating antisemitism at institutions of higher education in America.
INVESTIGATING:AMCHA released two ground-breaking reports in 2017:
A comprehensive annual report examining and analyzing antisemitic activity in 2016 at more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish populations. We found that antisemitic activity had increased 40% overall from 2015; antisemitic genocidal expression had more than doubled; and anti-Zionist activity, particularly BDS, continued to fuel actions that targeted Jewish students for harm, including harassment, discrimination and suppression of speech.
A hard-hitting study investigating how U.S. faculty who publicly support an academic boycott of Israel may be harming their own students and colleagues. The report found that Ethnic, Gender, and Middle East studies departments with one or more faculty boycotters were 5 to 12 times more likely to sponsor events with pro-BDS speakers. Schools which sponsored these events were twice as likely to have acts of aggression against Jewish students.
DOCUMENTING:As the only publicly-accessible database of antisemitic activity on more than 400 campuses nationwide, AMCHA’s website serves as a main resource for university stakeholders, allied organizations, state and federal legislators and scholars of antisemitism. In 2017, AMCHA’s website documented more than 550 incidents and 150+ published student testimonials, including tracking divestment votes, swastikas, SJP chapters, and more. We also added an interactive mapping portal to visually demonstrate the intensity and geographical spread of campus antisemitism. AMCHA’s interactive mapping portal received 10,000 page views in the first week after release. The website has received nearly 100,000 page views this year alone.
EDUCATING:By creating accessible data portals, comprehensive analysis reports and highly effective media campaigns, AMCHA has continuously brought the problem of campus antisemitism to national awareness.
In 2017, AMCHA’s data was cited in the American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s report, “Campus Free Speech, Academic Freedom, and the Problem of the BDS Movement,” The Lawfare Project’s lawsuit against San Francisco State University, The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the European Jewish Congress’s report “Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide 2016,” The Algemeiner’s ranking of Best and Worst Campuses for Jewish Students, The Forward’s College Guide; and experts and Members of Congress at the congressional hearing on the Antisemitism Awareness Act, among others.
Hundreds of articles covered AMCHA’s efforts and studies in 2017, such as Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Hill, NPR, ABC News, McClatchy, Politico, New York Observer, Washington Free Beacon, Richmond Times Dispatch, Oakland Press, Haaretz, Times of Israel and more.
COMBATING:AMCHA leads an at-will coalition of 60 religious, civil rights, education and advocacy organizations and thousands of grassroots activists in carrying out campaigns to insure the safety and well-being of Jewish students.
Unique Collaborations:Although we focus on protecting Jewish students from antisemitic behavior, we believe our mission is best accomplished when all students are equally protected. In consultation with First Amendment experts and new allies, we’ve developed a proposal entitled “Protecting Freedom of Expression on Campus in the Face of Intolerant Behavior,” that focuses on equitable enforcement of policies and laws to protect students against suppression of their freedom of expression and civil rights.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2018
AMCHA will continue to work to protect Jewish students by investigating, documenting, educating about and combating campus antisemitism including:
Organizing a large collaborative effort to urge university presidents across the country to implement our proposal to protect freedom of expression in the face of intolerance.
Working with many groups to compel university leaders to address the harms of the academic boycott of Israel to U.S. students and faculty.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Educate yourself and others about the problem of campus antisemitism and get involved: