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THE IMPACT OF ANTISEMITISM ON TEENS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS

The impact of antisemitism on our youth (especially college students) cannot be underestimated. Children and teens are experiencing antisemitism in record numbers because of the reach of social media and the growth (and tolerance) of anti-Jewish sentiment on college campuses.
 
A recent survey by Alums for Campus Fairness found:
  • 95% of current students and recent graduates feel antisemitism is a problem on their campus
  • 80% of students had experienced or heard firsthand about another student making antisemitic comments in person.
  • More than half of survey respondents had received or heard firsthand about offensive or threatening comments from faculty or university employees.
  • 44% of survey respondents had experienced or heard firsthand about being physically threatened because they were Jewish.  
WATCH: Jewish college students are seeing a new face of anti-Semitism CNN (8:02)
READ: The hard facts about campus antisemitism—and what we can do to stop it e-Jewish philanthropy
READ: What Kids Should Know About Antisemitism Jewish Boston - June 14, 2021
The following sampling of articles detailing recent antisemitic activity at schools have been provided to illustrate that this activity is commonplace at universities as well as middle and high schools.  
READ: Someone Desecrated a Torah at a George Washington University Fraternity National Public Radio - November 2, 2021
READ: Jewish Residents in Hays County Receive Antisemitic Letters After String of Austin-area Incidents Austin-American Statesman - November 4, 2021
READ: Antisemitic Graffiti Found at 2 Chula Vista Schools Day After Halloween San Diego Tribune - November 2, 2021
WATCH: Investigation into antisemitic symbols at AU ‘inconclusive,’ officials say The Washington Post - September 24, 2021.
Antisemitism on campus has mirrored the general trend with antisemitism as it has expanded beyond vandalism, graffiti and rhetoric from the far right and now includes rhetoric from the far left, manifesting in anti-Israel and anti-Zionism propaganda.

 

WHAT IS ZIONISM? 

In short, Zionism is the belief that the Jewish people have a right to “self-determination” – to have their own democratic state – in their ancestral homeland. Being a Zionist, however, is separate from agreeing with the Israeli government’s policies. Zionism also does not mean being against Palestinian human rights.  
 
Did you know that “Zion” is a Hebrew word for Jerusalem?
 
 

IS CRITICIZING ISRAEL ANTISEMITIC?

Not necessarily. Israel — like all countries (including the United States) — is, and should be, subject to political criticism over its government’s actions and policies. That is not antisemitic.
 
Israel is a democratic country (unlike all other countries in the Middle East), with freedom of speech and expression, and a free press.  Criticism is welcome and even expected.
 
Criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic when double standards, delegitimization and demonization apply. For example, boycotting products made in Israel to protest perceived human rights abuses; but not boycotting any other country with human rights abuses; or delegitimization when Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing or being an apartheid state (more to come on Day 6).
READ: The New Antisemitism and the Three D’s Echoes and Reflections
READ: Fighting Campus Anti-Semitism Before it Explodes Inside Higher Ed
READ: “On the Frontlines of Progressive Anti-Semitism” The New York Times - November 14, 2019
WATCH: Is Criticizing Israel Antisemitic? Unpacked (9:04)

SOCIAL MEDIA

READ: What happened when antisemites attacked my teenage son on tiktok  11/18/21
READ: Social Media Platforms Fail to Address Antisemitism, According to New ADL Report  7/30/21
WATCH: Antisemitism on social media  (3:51)

CONNECT

Community Conversations: The State of Antisemitism in Nebraska
January 11, 2023
7pm  |   Alan J. Levine Theater at the Staenberg Omaha JCC


DEEPER DIVES

If you want to delve more into the issues of antisemitism impacting youth and college students, we offer the following:
READ: Anti-Defamation League-Hillel Campus Antisemitism Survey 2021
WATCH: State of the Union Part 4 - "Let's Discuss the Issues" (7:38) Friends of Simon Wiesenthal, featuring guest speakers Noa Tishby, Bari Weiss and Eve Barlow
Social Media and Antisemitism:
WATCH: Quantifying Hate: A Year of Antisemitism on Twitter Anti-Defamation League (2:22)  
WATCH: A New Model for Combating Antisemitism & Anti-Israel Activism on Campus (55:24) Prof. Gil Troy at McGill University and author of The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland – Then, Now, Tomorrow. Presentation concludes at (26:04) and is then followed by Questions & Answers