ZOA Condemns the Campus Assault on Jewish Identity
November 21, 2022

Recently, AMCHA Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to investigating, documenting, and combating antisemitism at American colleges and universities, issued a report, Campus Antisemitism & the Assault on Jewish Identity, detailing a pervasive and relentless assault on Jewish identity leading to documented attacks on Jewish and pro-Israel students. Some key findings:

  • Incidents involving threats to Jewish identity were found on over 60% of the campuses most popular with Jewish students, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, Tufts University, UCLA, and Rutgers University.
  • Incidents involving attacks on Jewish identity increased 100% to 200% in the academic year following the Israel-Hamas war, with the number of affected schools also increasing dramatically.
  • Faculty and academic departments played a significant role in attacks on Jewish student identity: schools with academic BDS-supporting faculty were three to seven times more likely to have such attacks.
  • Jewish anti-Zionist individuals and organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) played a significant role in attacks on Jewish identity, more than doubling the likelihood that a campus will endure incidents involving the redefinition or denigration of Jewish identity.

Morton A. Klein, National President, Zionist Organization of America:

“Anti-Israel professors’ and groups’ malicious attempt to separate Judaism from Israel and Zionism is inaccurate and antisemitic. Israel is the religious, cultural, and historic homeland of the Jewish people. The entire Torah is the story of the connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the land of Israel. That is Zionism and it is so integral to Judaism that in Psalm 137:5, we Jews pray ‘If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!’; at every Passover Seder, we pray ‘Next year in Jerusalem”; and Jews throughout the world pray facing Israel and Jerusalem three times a day.”

Susan B. Tuchman, Esq., Director, ZOA Center for Law and Justice:

“This study demonstrates the appalling level of harassment and intimidation of students simply because they are proud Jews who wish to express their Jewish identity by asserting their support for their religious and ancestral homeland, Israel. Rutgers University is among the schools at which students endured 10 or more incidents that threatened their Jewish identity. For over ten years, the ZOA has had a civil rights action against Rutgers for failing to effectively address campus antisemitism, which is still pending at the U.S. Department of Education. Had the federal government held Rutgers accountable under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act years ago, the university surely would be a less hostile place for Jewish students.

“David I. Schoen, ZOA Chairman of the Board, Co-Founder, ZOA Center for Law and Justice:

“These pervasive and unwarranted attacks on Jewish identity in the classrooms and extra-curricular events clearly lead to physical, verbal, and online attacks on Jewish students who are not just victims of isolated efforts; but as the AMCHA report reflects, there are organized, well-funded national groups, often with funding from around the world, working actively to foment this kind of bigotry on campus. Out of fear, increasing numbers of Jewish students hide their Jewish identity on campus. This is a condition no other minority group would be expected to endure; it is abhorrent and un-American.”

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