By Amy Zewe—
We’ve been following a lot of stories over the last several weeks including the ongoing issues in the Ukraine, the uptick in antisemitism both on the ground in Israel and around the world, and today I want to concentrate on what’s going on Western university campuses. The university campuses in North America and Europe are supposed to be the bastions of liberal thought espousing truth and justice—and the search for truth and justice as well as a pursuit of the scientific method. However, university leaderships and student bodies are falling into a trap of woke-ism and progressivism that is resurrecting the age-old hostility of hating Jews and spinning all your thoughts to that end.
The University of Chicago has a student newspaper that published an Op-Ed from a Jewish group opposing and anti-Zionism activism on campus. The newspaper’s editorial staff issued a formal apology for even posting the Op-Ed and called its contents nonfactual—and removed the Op-Ed from the publication (including its online version).
The Mensa organization, which is an international organization of folks with extremely high IQ’s, has proposed engaging in BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) against Israeli thought leaders, universities, and educational programs. Thankfully the New York University leadership is in opposition of this position and has openly said so. And I find this to be good news!
At Ohio State University, the student government is rallying votes to divest from two Israeli companies. Jewish students at Ohio State are urging the student government to reject this effort.
In England, Jewish student groups are calling for a Liverpool Guild of Students to scrap the vote on supporting BDS. We have seen that the Prime Minister of England has already publicly announced several times that he believes antisemitism is running rampant in the universities of the United Kingdom.
In Canada we see activism to divest from Israel both financially and their academic and educational programs. These efforts are largely led by SJP-type groups on college campuses.
At the University of Connecticut, a young Jewish woman who wrote an article and letter about her experience on the receiving-end of antisemitism was expelled from her own acapella singing group. A group that she said contains her closest friends for over four years. This particular student and her Arab boyfriend were removing hateful flyers from the library after receiving permission from the administration to do so. Many of those flyers were laying on the floor, so they were collecting them not only for their hateful messaging, but they were actually pieces of litter. The result of her cleaning up these hateful flyers was her being bullied! The university and local law enforcement have said that no crime was committed, even though the hostility and harassment was caught on cell phone video, and also was evident online.
Princeton university’s campuswide vote for a BDS referendum is also taking over students’ time and energy. The BDS notion is a false premise and preoccupying student groups across North America and Europe. Jewish communities and local Jewish student populations work hard to raise awareness on the injustices of these kind of votes and sometimes particular university leadership members will also support the Jewish position. That was the case, thankfully, by the Princeton President.
For several years now universities have been engaging every spring in a week of Israeli bashing called “Apartheid Week,” most often organized by the Student for Justice in Palestine or SJP student groups. College campuses give a week-long venue to groups and speakers who are out to vilify Israel and spread lies in order to garner up hate and hostility towards the Jewish state. Oftentimes the local Jewish community suffers greatly from hostilities spilling over from these events. Zionists both Jewish and non-Jewish students who offer up an opposing viewpoints or positions to the SJP propaganda are also often left voiceless and the victims of hostility and even violence. NYC activists on social media called for all Zionist professors and students to be removed. Georgetown University also had a successful weeklong Israeli Apartheid Week event this spring.
Prestigious Duke University has been known over the years to support extremely antisemitic events on campus, oftentimes even in secret. Sometimes they even host terrorists or celebrate terrorists on their campus. Duke University is a beautiful and renowned school known for an excellent education; all alumni should be outraged by their current positions over the last few years regarding the university’s one-sided position on the issues of the Middle East and not offering an academically honest discussion of the topic.
I bring these bits of news to you (these are just small sampling of many such events currently ongoing on college campuses) with the request that you continue to pray for the educational systems in North America and in Europe–not only the universities but also the curriculums for grade school and high school. These antisemitic and anti-Zionist notions are sinking into those leaderships and schoolbooks as well. I also ask that you pay attention to the educational systems within your own communities and network. Be the voice of truth when these scholarly elites spew lies and attempt to stifle the voices of those who are seeking an honest examination and debate on the issues surrounding the communities of the Middle East and the antisemitism that is spilling out into the streets of the United States, Canada, and North America –particularly the college campuses where the young people are the victims.
The Jerusalem Connection is dedicated to addressing this issue in a very personal and specific way. We currently have a Hebrew University scholarship program by which we send an American university student to study in Israel for credit for a full semester so that he or she can bring back the truth to their own campus in America. This scholarship cannot happen without your help. Please consider contributing. Also, if you know a college student or are a college student interested in studying abroad for one semester for full credit in the program of your major, please reach out to us. Find us on our website, under projects tab, Hebrew University Scholarship—for information on how to contribute to the scholarship OR how to apply for it.
Shavua tov. Have a great week