Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

Just curious—in a 2 state solution, can Arabs remain in the Jewish state (hypothetically, within the Green line)? Now turn it around—Can Jews remain in the Arab state, if that is where they live? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

But I agree we should get back to the original point of the thread, anti-Semitism on campuses.

I know we are mostly discussing US colleges, but this is disturbing and relevant.

That story is disturbing. Somewhat mitigating my disturbance, however, is the fact that it involves . . . a dodgeball team? I’m guessing that the members of the dodgeball club were probably pretty marginal from the get-go (although probably what happened is that a group of anti-Semitic skinheads formed a dodgeball club in order to get an allocation of student activities funds).

Meanwhile, this morning my local paper had a more lighthearted story that intersects both with this thread and the thread started by a mother about her son’s poor results on Tinder. It was about a new dating site started by a couple of women: Red Yenta. Red Yenta is where committed leftists can look for love without political compromise. Not terribly surprising: the founders and many of the users are Jewish. One user incorporated the following slogan into her profile: “You can’t spell BDSM without BDS!” No, you can’t.


Great perspective from Vassar student Abigail Johnson. In her piece, she demonstrates maturity, resilience, optimism, leadership and is a great writer to boot. Of course, this was written four years ago - in 2016. We all know things have devolved since then.

@jhs. Thanks for the tip for things to avoid. I bet the red yenta gang are really fun at a party.

Regressive aggressive possessive and not really progressive aren’t my cup of tea ,dating wise.

I am a progressive liberal who is passionate about social justice, and something I find continually frustrating is how some of my fellow liberals fail to recognize that the BDS movement is inherently anti-Semitic (its leaders literally have endorsed and/or professed explicitly anti-Semitic ideology to fuel the movement). You can separate extremists from a movement, but not when the extremists make up significant parts of its leadership. Anti-Semitism is alive and well on both sides of the political aisle. On the left, we see it transpire on college campuses by some social justice groups who have a propensity to oversimplify complex issues (Israel’s right to exist). On the right, we see it with your cross-burning, tiki torch wielding, skinhead neo-Nazis. Both sects are becoming uncomfortably acceptable in our current political climate.

But they align themselves with individuals and groups that DO “support driving the Jews of Israel into the sea, either, or expropriating their property or abrogating their civil rights.” A frightening alliance, indeed.

I have a D who just graduated University of Michigan, where there is active anti-semitism in the guise of anti-the-politics-of-Israel. Protestors “against” Israel disrupted Passover services at Hillel. Protestors aggressively approach Jewish students and scream in their faces. Protestors have slipped “eviction notices” under the dorm-room doors of Jewish students. Invited speakers to campus have equated Israel with Naziism. My D loved her time at Michigan and of course did not encounter these things every day. What made it OK to be there was the very strong Hillel, which was on top of the anti-semitic activity and provided a gathering place and a literal safe space.

In general wherever you have a larger progressive university population (which supports BDS and similar policies) or a larger Arab student body, you are going to have more antisemitism. Anywhere they are constantly comparing people they don’t like to Nazi’s you find it too. (rather juvenile for a university campus where kids should be able to make a proper analogy) Ironically, you rarely find it in Christian or Evangelical colleges, or more conservative places like Hillsdale or even HBCU’s.

IMO the Social Justice vibe, which jettisons individual responsibility, is responsible for a lot of it. It’s much easier to blame ‘society’ or a group (e.g. Jews) for problems rather than holding people accountable for their own decisions. I’ve always found anti-Israeli sentiment in the Arab world pretty bizarre as well- you’d think that other countries and groups in the region would want to emulate the most successful ME country and adapt the more positive elements of its culture.

@Saisei1 you quoted me as saying:

I did not write that. My post on this thread is #15. In it, I wrote that I was upset to hear about anti-Semitic incidents at Vassar, as both of my daughters liked the college. I posted a link to an article about it written in 2018 by a Jewish, pro-Israel Vassar student.

That quote sounded dismissive about anti-Semitism and claimed special knowledge of Vassar. Neither applies to me.

*Edited to add: Now I see that you did not mean to quote me but an article title. It was disconcerting to see those words attributed to me, but I see that it was just a mistake.

You’d think. 'Cause it’s not really anti-israel sentiment It’s anti-Jewish sentiment. Israel is the Jew among nations.

I live near UC Irvine, which has the dubious distinction of being ranked #10 for “The 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students, 2017” by Algemeiner ( even though only 2% of the student body is Jewish. The actions of the anti-Jewish groups at UC Irvine have been well-documented over the years. I regularly see anti-Israel and anti-Jewish graffiti on the walls of the neighboring University Town Center mall.

The Muslim groups on campus have a narrow, focused program to discredit Israel, but does it pass the smell test? The gassing of Syrian civilians by their own government did not spur protests by these campus organizations, nor does the oppressive policies of the Saudi Arabian government towards women, nor does the actions of ISIS towards Shiite Muslim populations. It seems telling that their focused anti-Israel stance, coupled with the complete disregard for Muslim and Arab atrocities towards Muslims themselves, uncovers their true feelings. It’s just another case of anti-Israel rhetoric serving as a convenient cover for antisemitism.

The “why Israel” questions in this thread really can be answered by Israel’s emergence as a nation of strength. For those old enough to remember, up until the Yom Kippur War of 1973 Israel had the sympathetic backing of academia, the media, and the left at large. It really wasn’t until Israel took what many believed was aggressive action against Lebanon in 1978 did this stance take a pronounced shift. After that, Israel was no longer seen as a bullied victim that needed to fend off attacks from hostile neighbors, but a nation that could not only stand up for itself but even take–what it determined–was preemptive action. Lots of people who are comfortable with a weak Israel are not so comfortable with a strong Israel.


IDK how I feel about Michigan being ranked the absolute worst - especially with an an active and vibrant Hillel among other things. Michigan is definitely not as bad as schools like UC Berkeley, where you likely cannot even fly an Israeli flag without being ostracized or assaulted.

I was very much against the Divestment resolution that passed over a year ago, but I think it is a little far to say that it in and of itself makes Michigan the worst school for Jewish students (the Divestment resolution was actually a lot milder than what has been passed in other schools). Also, the CSG President at the time signed the resolution with “discretion and caution” with a statement that called out the anti-Semitic tone it had while supporting the intended spirit of the resolution to elevate the voices of a marginalized population. Let’s also not forget that when the Michigan professor denied writing a recommendation for a student because his program would be in Israel, he was heavily disciplined and sanctioned (which is incredibly rare for tenured faculty).

Yes, there were serious incidents on campus that we need to reflect more on and ensure similar things do not happen again. However, the the student body largely respects the Jewish community. Over a quarter of Central Student Government reports being Jewish, and the current Student Body President and former Student Body President and Vice President are Jewish. Putting Michigan dead last seems like a bit much when we consider all this.

Disclaimer: I’m not Jewish, so I am not qualified to know how Jewish people experience college. I just wanted to bring some facts to light.

@yikesyikesyikes, rankings always needed to be taken with a grain of salt, but the institutions listed probably earned their spot. Unfortunately someone has to be at the top. Not sure how they split hairs to anoint the winner. Recently UC Santa Barbara was deemed “most unsafe campus,” yet it sure looked like paradise to me when I visited. You never know with rankings.


“rankings always needed to be taken with a grain of salt”

Tell me about it! I just found that this newspaper for Jewish-American audiences actually ranks Michigan 11th BEST for Jewish life:

Exactly. The world likes Israel vulnerable, not strong. Israel had the support of the entire world (minus Arab countries) for the first 30-40 years of its existence. When Israel was a scrappy, semi-third-world country with spotty phone service and a formidable military the world cheered her on. As a liberal Zionist, I can’t wrap my head around what goes on now on campuses and elsewhere. I constantly find myself saying, “Wait—what? That’s not true at all! What are you saying? Those are outright falsehoods!” Providing facts and data is useless. They have a narrative and they’re sticking to it. Before they left for college, my kids attended workshops on how to counter anti-semitism on campus. Never in my life did I ever think I’d have to do that.

Trackable database of antisemitism on college campuses

@brantly. My kids went through the antisemitism lectures when transitioning from middle school to high school. They chose not to do it again for college since it is very similar. Sad we even have to talk about it actually. I am going to ask my son if he encountered anything at Michigan. I really don’t think he has not to say there aren’t things going on. He is doing a study abroad for engineering in France then going right to Israel for a engineering internship through onward Israel…

We bought him a University of Michigan Kippa. He doesn’t wear one at all but we thought it would be great when in Israel for Shabbat with all the other students… My wife wants to hide it or not send it with him when he goes to France… Yes, she is that uneasy about sending it with him. This is how the world has changed our views.

We just honored Yom Hashoah. We can never forget.

I think schools can be listed as great for Jewish students, yet still be a hotbed of anti-semitism. Let’s face it, people who protest Israel, support BDS, and use anti-Israel language as a cover for anti-semitism, want a reaction. They won’t get one if there are few Jewish students on campus.

Evangelical schools are often very supportive of Israel, but I wouldn’t say they are good schools for Jewish students.

Example–my niece is at a small private liberal arts school in Pennsylvania. There are about 3 Jews on campus (her words; she’s likely exaggerating, but you get the point). She has never encountered anti-semitism, there is no BDS movement, etc. There is a Hillel but it is tiny and not very active.

My son is at a private prestigious university in the south. There is both Hillel and Chabad on campus which offer tons of programming. Israel Apartheid Week this year was positively awful. Eviction notices, campus anti-Israel protests, etc. (Ironically, his second choice was U Mich, which had problems this year too.)

Which is better for Jewish students?

When my son was looking at colleges, we took several off the table for anti-Semitic activity–NYU, Oberlin, virtually all the University of California schools. At most college visits we were able to ask Jewish students about anti-Semitic activity, BDS, etc.; it was a consideration in deciding which schools to apply to. Ironically, the school he attends never had an issue until this year, so in spite of our best efforts we were not successful in avoiding it.