Jewish students feel ostracized – and unsupported – by views of Israel
The lecturer has heard these stories at universities in the UK, Canada and the US
Mike Damiano’s article reflects my own experiences as an academic researcher and lecturer at British, Canadian and American universities (“On campus, Jewish students feel ostracized by their support for Israel”, page A1, May 15) . Jewish students on various college campuses told me of painful experiences of prejudice and ostracism because of their Jewish identity and Jewish affiliations. Many have experienced stigma, exclusion and harassment. When they reported this to administrators, they were often met with a refusal to acknowledge and redress their experiences of discrimination.
Many reported that their lived experiences, stories and perspectives are frequently ignored, slandered and distorted and that they are subject to hostility because of the way they express their Judaism and their Jewish identity individually and collectively as members of a Jewish community.
Diversity, equity and inclusion offices and university administrations need to dramatically improve their efforts to advance the values and aspirations of equity and inclusion of Jewish students, just like faculty and students , and greater efforts must be made to recognize the ethnic and racial diversity within the Jewish community.
The author is a research associate at the Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill Law School and a lecturer in international and regional studies at the University of California at Berkeley.
This particular type of anti-Semitism is often overlooked
Thanks to Mike Damiano for documenting a bias too often overlooked: anti-Semitism on college campuses. Some anti-Semitism is evident, but much of it is camouflaged under the guise of protests against Israel.
Criticism of Israeli policies is not anti-Semitic, but denial of Israel’s right to exist is. Moreover, when so-called activists target Jewish students on campus to berate them and seek to prevent them from participating in activities that are supposed to be open to all students, they are clearly discriminating against other students just because they are Jewish. . The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, adopted by 34 countries and three consecutive U.S. administrations, notes that it is one of many forms of antisemitism.
The response from many college and university administrations is disappointing. Too often, they present online attacks such as those against University of Connecticut senior Natalie Shclover as a First Amendment right. This decreases attacks. It is also a missed opportunity. This could be an opportunity to provide factual historical context and perhaps even foster understanding.