Campus Monitor - Swarthmore College

Student Voices

  • September 5, 2016 – Swarthmore College Jewish Student (Jonathan) “The swastika is just a little symbol, its just eight right angles, six lines, but what’s in that symbol is more than bias. What’s in that symbol, when you write that symbol on the wall of that bathroom stall you’re putting a picture of the death of six milion of my people on that bathroom stall. You’re putting a picture of the fact that there were more Jews in the world in 1938 then there are today. This is not a bias. This is blatant racism and anti-semitism. If you’re going to just call this a bias than I don’t know what else can be more than bias.” Read more
  • September 2, 2016 – Swarthmore College Jewish Student (Jaime) “Displays of anti-Semitism are serious and real, and Swarthmore is not exempt from such hateful acts. This is a significant problem on our campus as well as on most college campuses across the country, and we need to fix it. We should have more conversations about anti-Semitism and promote acceptance for all marginalized minority groups on campus.” Read more
  • September 1, 2016 – Swarthmore College Jewish Student (William) “The greatest barrier to confronting anti-Semitism in 2016 seems to be proving that it exists.” Read more
  • September 1, 2016 – Swarthmore College Jewish Student (William) “By now you’ve probably already heard that on Tuesday night students discovered swastikas graffitied in McCabe. I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that this incident happened or the fact that I wasn’t all that surprised.” Read more
  • February 11, 2016 – Swarthmore College Jewish Student (Bill) – “Social justice activism has mostly failed to treat ambiguous identities, particularly the Jewish identity, with nuance. I have spent four years trying to fit my Jewishness—an identity I’ve never fully fit within and never fully fit without—into the popular social justice paradigm that dominates Swarthmore’s intellectual life. Perhaps I’m simply not up to the task. But perhaps this failure to fit into one half or another of a dichotomy is not just a failure of my imagination. Perhaps the world cannot be split so easily in two.” Read more
  • February 2015, Swarthmore Student (Nat) – “Students with a clear Zionist perspective are labeled and excluded from the discussion. We have been told we do not belong at this school, that our voices do not belong in the dialogue. We have been accused of supporting apartheid and of being racist. These are some of the “kinder” words and allegations that have been repeatedly hurled at us when we attempt to speak about our beliefs.” Read more
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    Antisemitism Tracker

    Total Antisemitic Activity:

    To see more information on how AMCHA determines antisemitic activity, click HERE.
    To report a concern, click HERE.


    ClassificationDate-Description
    TARGETING JEWISH STUDENTS AND STAFF: GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    1/9/17 – A swastika was found drawn on the wall inside a bathroom stall of McCabe.
    GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    11/20/16 – A swastika was drawn in a bathroom stall.
    GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    9/2/16 – Another swastika was found on campus, this time at Crum Woods.
    GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    HISTORICAL
    8/31/16 – Students found swastikas graffitied in the campus library.
    SUPPRESSION OF SPEECH/MOVEMENT/ASSEMBLY;
    VERBAL ASSAULT;
    HARASSMENT
    2/3/15 – Students who attended a lecture by Hussein Aboubakr sponsored by the Swarthmore Students for Israel interrupted and scoffed at the speaker and yelled at the organizers of the event for bringing Aboubakr to campus.”
    ANTISEMITIC EXPRESSION:DEMONIZATION3/24/16 – During a Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) event with Remi Kenazi, according to an article by an attendee, Kenazi stated, “Do not even think to engage with the other side… You [Israel] deserve nothing, nothing. Zionism is the real threat, infecting the minds of millions with racism.”

     

    In the News ?

    August 11, 2017:
    The Philadelphia Jewish Voice Rising Anti-Semitism at Swarthmore College

    January 26, 2017:
    The Phoenix – Individual identified with antisemitic symbol banned from campus, discussion on McCabe vandalisms continues

    January 20, 2017:
    The Daily Gazette – Swarthmore Democrats Seek Inclusive Coalition
    (Description note – The Swarthmore College Democrats published an open letter in the school paper to “reaffirm” their values, which included investing in candidates that support “important priorities” of “opposing the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories” and standing in solidarity with “Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP).”)

    December 1, 2016:
    The Phoenix – More Swastikas Appear in McCabe Library

    November 21, 2016:
    The Daily Gazette – Another Swastika in McCabe (Includes Photo)

    November 21, 2016:
    Daily Times – Swastika graffiti riles Swarthmore campus
    (Description note, “In her email, Braun referenced a letter from college President Valerie Smith from earlier this fall: ‘Embraced by German Nazis in the 1930s and ‘40s, the swastika has become for Jews worldwide a symbol of intimidation, suppression, and the threat of extermination. Additionally, it has been associated with white supremacist and homophobic movements. This imagery, indeed any imagery or speech that seeks to threaten individuals or communities based on their religion, sexual orientation, race, disability status, gender, nationality, political views or any other characteristic has no place on our campus and will not be tolerated.’”)

    October 6, 2016:
    The Phoenix – Swastika incidents prompt further discourse and education

    September 19, 2016:
    The Daily Gazette – Swastikas Found at Swarthmore Playground
    (Description note, “On Sunday morning, a Swarthmore resident came across offensive chalk graffiti in front of and inside the Sparrow House, a wooden treehouse near the Swarthmore Rutledge School playground. The graffiti depicted swastikas, racial and religious slurs, people’s names, and phone numbers in addition to a number of other offensive images.”)

    September 7, 2016:
    The Algemeiner – Swarthmore Promises Swift, Serious Investigation Into Swastika Graffiti on Campus

    September 5, 2016:
    The Phoenix – Spray painting incident prompts response from Dean’s Office, Bias Response Team

    September 2, 2016:
    Swarthmore College President’s Office – President’s Message Following Second Swastika at Swarthmore

    September 2, 2016:
    The Daily Gazette – A Letter to a Jewish Freshman

    September 2, 2016:
    Jewish Exponent – Swastikas Spray-Painted at Swarthmore College

    September 2, 2016:
    Philly Voice – Swastikas found spray painted in Swarthmore library bathroom

    September 1, 2016:
    The Daily Gazette – A Response to Yesterday’s Anti-Semitic Hate Crime from a “Whiny Brat Jew”

    August 31, 2016:
    Swarthmore College President’s Office – President Valerie Smith Message to the Community Re: Swastikas on Campus
    (Description note, “Embraced by German Nazis in the 1930s and ‘40s, the swastika has become for Jews worldwide a symbol of intimidation, suppression, and the threat of extermination. Additionally, it has been associated with white supremacist and homophobic movements. This imagery, indeed any imagery or speech that seeks to threaten individuals or communities based on their religion, sexual orientation, race, disability status, gender, nationality, political views or any other characteristic has no place on our campus and will not be tolerated.”)

    April 21, 2016:
    The Phoenix – SPJP constructs model of West Bank wall on campus

    March 31, 2016:
    The Daily Gazette – From AIPAC to Remi Kanazi: Why Dialogue on Israel is Doomed at College Campuses
    (Description note, “The problem with Mr. Kanazi’s presentation only emerged when one started to process the message. “Do not even think to engage with the other side,” he repeated poem after poem. “You [Israel] deserve nothing, nothing. Zionism is the real threat, infecting the minds of millions with racism,” he assured the audience stony-faced. Remi’s word choice was simple. His claims stood consistent. His tone remained thematic. His lyrics inspired. The ambiance of the room quickly became infatuated. The eyes of the audience were glued, taped, and fixated on Remi’s exaggerated anger. It impassioned them. It enraged them. They were all thinking the same thing: How could Israel be so evil? Boycott. Divest. Sanction.”)

    February 17, 2016:
    Peace and Conflict Studies – DISMANTLING THE IVORY TOWER: CLASS TAKES FIELD TRIP TO PALESTINE AND ISRAEL

    February 11, 2016:
    The Phoenix – The privilege and discontents of Jewishness
    (Description note, “Social justice activism has mostly failed to treat ambiguous identities, particularly the Jewish identity, with nuance. For the social justice activist, any difference in success between groups must be pathological, a sign that society has been rigged in that group’s favor. This is a valuable instinct; it can be used to expose concealed social and economic structures that privilege one group over another. The danger is when the instinct becomes law. The social justice activist, noting the disproportionate educational and professional success of Jews, may decide that there must be deep, underlying structures that are biasing society in their favor (then, of course, there are the blatant anti-Semites, who believe that this supposed societal bias is the product of an active conspiracy). For that sort of social justice activist, Jewish identity becomes a sort of hyper-whiteness. This meshes well with the tendency to frame Jewish presence in Israel as a purely settler-colonial project. On the other hand, a certain type of social justice activist may note the disadvantages faced by Jews—still extant anti-Semitic prejudice, stereotyping, tokenization of our religious practices, the threat of actual physical violence (more common in Europe than the United States, but not unknown here)—and decide that Jewishness is best understood as simply marginalized, in the same way that they understand African American, Muslim, or trans identities to be marginalized. Neither of these approaches yield an authentic account of Jewishness. I have spent four years trying to fit my Jewishness—an identity I’ve never fully fit within and never fully fit without—into the popular social justice paradigm that dominates Swarthmore’s intellectual life. Perhaps I’m simply not up to the task. But perhaps this failure to fit into one half or another of a dichotomy is not just a failure of my imagination. Perhaps the world cannot be split so easily in two.”)

    February 4, 2016:
    The Phoenix – Students visit Israel/Palestine, deepen understanding of conflict

    April 16, 2015:
    Daily Gazette – A Lesson in Silence: Reflections on Life as a Palestinian-American on Campus(Description note, “”I just got out of an event hosted by the Swarthmore Students for Israel (SSI) in which a film titled “Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism” was screened. The film portrayed a variety of out-of-context, angry Palestinian activists, along with a series of mostly white Jewish students reacting to how “oppressed” they felt by the angry activists bombarding them with statistics and demonstrations on the systematic erasure of Palestinian culture.”)

    March 24, 2015:
    The Daily Gazette – Swarthmore Hillel Got It Right (Description note, “”Hillel International does not encourage a safe space for all Jewish students; instead, it explicitly forbids the expression of political beliefs held by many Jews while claiming its own particular version of Jewish identity as the only one. When Hillel International forced Swarthmore Hillel to choose between leaving Hillel and a lawsuit, Swarthmore Hillel correctly left an organization that excludes many Jewish students.”)

    March 20, 2015:
    Jewish Exponent – Swarthmore Students Criticize Jewish Chapter’s Break from Hillel

    March 20, 2015:
    Daily Gazette – A Response to the Hillel Naming Decision (Description note, “Since the organizationchanged its status to an “open-Hillel” last year, the Swarthmore Hillel has been a political activist group acting under the facade of a religious and cultural organization… Students with a clear Zionist perspective are labeled and excluded from the discussion. We have been told we do not belong at this school, that our voices do not belong in the dialogue. We have been accused of supporting apartheid and of being racist. These are some of the “kinder” words and allegations that have been repeatedly hurled at us when we attempt to speak about our beliefs.”)

    March 19, 2015:
    Mind the Campus – THE CONTROVERSY OVER HILLEL AT SWARTHMORE

    March 18, 2015:
    The Jewish Week – Swarthmore Hillel Drops Its Parent

    March 18, 2015:
    Inside Higher Ed – Not in Our Name

    March 17, 2015:
    The Daily Gazette – Under Pressure From Hillel International, Swarthmore Hillel Changes Name

    March 17, 2015:
    JTA – Swarthmore Hillel votes to disaffiliate with Hillel Int’l

    February 4, 2015:
    Swarthmore Independent – A Reaction to Hussein Aboubakr Event
    (Description note – At a Swarthmore Students for Israel event with an invited speaker, Hussein Aboubakr, who was tortured in Egypt simply for studying Hebrew, students interrupted and were shouting at the speaker. They explain in this open letter, “Our intention was to open a dialogue. Yet some students who attended behaved contemptuously from the very beginning. They opened textbooks and pretended to read while Hussein spoke. They talked amongst themselves. They interrupted and scoffed at him when he told the most harrowing parts of his story. As he tearfully recalled painful experiences in a military prison of being assaulted and cursed at, our peers prepared to yell at him and say that he “can’t f***ing say that.”… Instead of asking the speaker questions, these students yelled at us for bringing him to campus to spread “hatred” and claimed that his lecture “[didn’t] belong here.” One student stood up and proclaimed that he was shocked to hear such opinions at Swarthmore. We thought people attended college to hear new opinions. We expected people to disagree with him politically. What shocked us was that a survivor of sustained torture could be treated in such a way on our campus.”)

    December 4, 2014:
    Daily Gazette – One Year Later, Open Hillel Continues to Define Its Space on Campus

    September 10, 2014:
    Algemeiner – Swarthmore College events shed light on J Street’s co-sponsorships with pro-BDS groups

    September 5, 2014:
    JNS – Swarthmore College events shed light on J Street’s co-sponsorships with pro-BDS groups

    December 28, 2013:
    UNIVERSITY STATEMENT – Statement from President Rebecca Chopp on ASA Resolution

    December 10, 2013:
    Hillel – Hillel President Responds to Swarthmore College Hillel Resolution

    December 9, 2013:
    Forward – Swarthmore Hillel Defies Headquarters on Boycott Israel Program Restrictions

     

    Photo Album - Campus Antisemitism

    Source Credit: Swastika in McCabe - The Daily Gazette (November 21, 2016)

    Source Credit: Swastika in McCabe – The Daily Gazette (November 21, 2016)


    To report antisemitic activity at this or any other campus, you may:

    BDS Tracker

    No divestment vote has taken place.


    BDS Instigators: Student & Faculty


    STUDENT BDS

    Student Group(s) Promoting BDS: 1
    SJP

    FACULTY BDS

    Number of Faculty Endorsing the Academic Boycott of Israel: 5

    1. Sa’ed Adel Atshan
    2. Mani Bakirathi
    3. Lara Cohen
    4. Farha Ghannam
    5. David Harrison

    Signatures
     


    AMCHA Activism

    There are currently no AMCHA Initiative campaigns for this campus.