Harvard home to greatest ‘threat to Jewish identity’


Assessment: Zionism the re-establishment and the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel …

Harvard University leads American campuses in antisemitism targeting Jews who express support for Zionism and the State of Israel, with such attacks threatening Jewish students’ identity and making many students feel uncomfortable expressing their Jewish identity, according to a new study by the AMCHA Initiative published last month.

The AMCHA Initiative divides threats to Jewish identity into three categories: redefinition, denigration and suppression.

“I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,” Says the Lord your God. Amos 9:15

Graduating students hold up a sign reading "Justice for Palestine" during Harvard University's 371st Commencement Exercises in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, May 26, 2022 (photo credit: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

Redefinition includes expressions dissociating Zionism from Judaism or progressive values or denying anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Denigration includes expressions using classic antisemitic tropes to vilify Jewish or Zionist identity. Suppression includes calls to rid campuses of Zionists or Zionism, boycotts or cancellations of Israel-related events or programs, bullying or intimidation of Jewish students or discouraging Jewish students from engaging in Birthright or other Jewish identity trips.

In total 254 incidents involving threats to Jewish identity were reported on college campuses in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Such threats to Jewish identity were seen on nearly 60% of the 109 campuses popular with Jewish students, with campuses reporting 10 or more of such incidents in the 2021-2022 academic year including Harvard (25), University of Chicago (13), Tufts University (12), Rutgers University (10) and University of California Los Angeles (10).

Threats to Jewish identity increased after 2021 Gaza conflict

Incidents targeting Jewish identity also rose drastically after Operation Guardian of the Walls, with the overall number of threats to Jewish identity doubling in the first ten months of the 2021-2022 academic year, compared to the ten months prior to the conflict. The number of schools affected by such incidents also rose by 41%.

Faculty contribute significantly to attacks on Jewish identity

The AMCHA Initiative noted that faculty contributed “significantly” to attacks on Jewish identity during the 2021-2022 academic year, with schools with five or more faculty members who supported an academic boycott of Israel being nearly four times more likely to have an assault on Jewish identity.

In terms of specifically incidents of redefinition, the impact of faculty boycotters was even considerably higher than the impact of anti-Zionist student groups, making such incidents 6.5 times more likely to occur.

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