Campus Anti-Semitism Becomes Mainstream Issue

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Campus Anti-Semitism Becomes Mainstream Issue Empty Campus Anti-Semitism Becomes Mainstream Issue

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:08 am

Pro-BDS movements on college campuses have been pushing Jewish students to the margins for a while, sometimes through threats of violence and intimidation. But it took one dramatic incident on a major American campus to push the issue of campus anti-Semitism to the media mainstream.
The incident took place in the middle of February. A Jewish student, Rachel Beyda, appeared before the UCLA Student Council in a bid to join the council’s Judicial Board. During questioning, one student posed what the Atlantic magazine called “UCLA’s troubling question“:
“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”
More than two weeks later, the incident is finally receiving the attention it deserves, with coverage in the New York Times and the Atlantic. A short video of the meeting appeared on the website for CBS Los Angeles.
It also sparked a discussion of campus anti-Semitism in general. The New York Times made clear that this was not an isolated incident, and linked it to the rise of the BDS movement:
The session — a complete recording of which has been removed from YouTube — has served to spotlight what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country, often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel. This is one of many campuses where the student council passed, on a second try and after fierce debate, a resolution supporting the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at pressuring Israel.
The Atlantic noted that [url= Report Final.pdf]a study of campus anti-Semitism[/url] released in February found that “a majority—54 percent—of respondents said they had been subject to or had witnessed anti-Semitism on campus.”

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The Atlantic also pointed to the conflation of Israel and Jews among many campus activists.
Some, though of course not all, opposition to Israeli policies is tinged with or rooted in anti-Semitism, but opposition to Israeli policies can also flow in the other direction, transforming into anti-Semitism. That’s particularly dangerous for American Jews in an environment where opposition to Israeli policy seems to be growing, especially on campuses. Jewish students find themselves called on to defend a government they may feel very little connection to, or may simply be associated with, as happened to Rachel Beyda.
There is no question that there are anti-Semitic elements within the BDS movement. Over the past two years, there has been a clear rise in tactics directed specifically at Jewish students, spearheaded by the BDS.
At UCLA a year earlier, the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) attempted to intimidate candidates for student government by demanding they pledge not to participate in trips to Israel sponsored by certain pro-Israel organizations. At City University of New York (CUNY), BDS supporters attempted to schedule a divestment vote late Friday night so that religiously-observant Jews would not participate.
The anti-Semitic question posed to Rachel Beyda seems to fall into the same category. Being Jewish and active is automatically viewed as a threat to the BDS agenda, and therefore of questionable fitness for a student government that has passed BDS resolutions.
It should be noted in the name of fairness, however, that the students who questioned Beyda and initially opposed her entry to the council have since published a letter of apology in the UCLA newspaper, and Beyda was ultimately approved. The letter was published 10 days after the incident took place, but before the New York Times published its story about it.
So as Jewish students brace for the annual demonization of Israel known as Israel Apartheid Week on many college campuses, at least they can take heart in the fact that their struggles are being noticed. Too bad it took the mainstream media this long.
Even before the New York Times and the Atlantic took notice of what was brewing on campuses, the website, Spiked, had been running a campaign called Down With Campus Censorship! The latest installment featured a pro-Israel student on a UK campus talking about being silenced for her views.


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