Fear of antisemitism is causing European and American Jewish students to hide their religious identities, with many afraid to openly support Israel, students have told the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.
In January, students from around the globe, came to Jerusalem to speak to the Israeli legislature about the frequent hostilities and the social isolation that they experience because university administrators refuse to confront antisemitism.
The Committee found that Jewish students at Universities across North America and Europe are hiding their Jewish identity following increasing hostility linked to anti-Israel activism, with many refraining from wearing kippot or anything else that would identify them as Jewish.
Students told the committee that BDS has contributed to a worsening campus experience for Jewish students, with Boycotts being incorporated into policy by various Universities and Student Unions. Olga Deutsch, Head of Europe Desk, NGO Monitor, is hopeful that, as a result of new European laws, BDS will lose its influence.
If these new laws do prove to be effective, it will certainly bring relief to the countless European Jewish students and professors, who are worried that BDS, often with antisemitic undertones and often tied up with Islamism, is becoming the norm on campus.
Baroness Ruth Deech, the first ever appointed UK higher education adjudicator, told The Telegraph that “many universities are in receipt or are chasing large donations of money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and so on, and maybe they are frightened of offending them. I don’t know why they [the universities] aren’t doing anything about it [antisemitism], it really is a bad situation.”
Enter the “Jewni”, universities like Birmingham and Leeds, where Jews feel that it is safe to enroll because of the presence of so many Jewish students. But, with the rise of European antisemitism–a Knesset report revealed that 40% of European citizens are antisemitic–it is now an acceptable tactic to harass Jews. Consequently, Jewish UK students now use one critical measurement to classify universities–how safe is the environment for Jews.
Baroness Deech would, undoubtedly, understand the anxieties of Jewish students. Deech believes that pervasive antisemitism has turned far too many UK universities into no-go zones for Jewish students.
The Knesset committee, which is headed by MK (Member of Knesset), Likud, Avraham Neguise, wanted to know how antisemitism plays out in the daily life of students. The committee learned that some students are too frightened to wear yamulkes in public. Students also admitted that, out of fear, they refrain from expressing pro-Israel opinions, especially in classrooms that are ruled by anti-Israel professors.
Neguise believes that since it is “no longer polite and fashionable to hate Jews as they are, the hatred is disguised as criticism of the Jewish state”.
According to the The Diaspora Affairs report, 75% of Jewish American students have been exposed to antisemitism. In an extreme example, The Washington Post said that in Ohio, at Oberlin College, a female Jewish student, who had hung an Israeli flag in her dorm window, discovered shattered glass all over her bed and floor. A brick had been thrown through the window.
Isabel Storch Sherrell, who is also an Oberlin College student, told the Washington Post that, on multiple occasions, she heard students, “POC [people of color] peers and Jewish white hipsters”, refer to the Holocaust as “white on white crime”.
It is particularly contentious that the extreme Left classifies all Jews as white. Therefore, because of the theory of “white privilege”, the suffering of Jewish students is not considered to be relevant. This leftist mindset, which completely discounts Jewish people of color, plays to racism, and shows the inherent flaws in analyses of prejudices based on preconceived notions of “privilege”.
In an article for The Atlantic, reporter Emma Green said that as far as the extreme Left is concerned, Jews are “part of a white-majority establishment that seeks to dominate people of color”. This, of course, promotes the stereotype of the evil racist white European (Ashkenazi) Jew, who is out to destroy the always innocent Palestinian person of color.
Juda Stone, of The Jewish Agency, told the Knesset that he believes that when students are afraid of antisemitism, it “leads them to escape their own Jewish identity”. Of course, this is something that the Jewish community can not allow.