The Anti-Defamation League has released a new report highlighting the growing problem of antisemitism on college campuses.
The report found more than 350 anti-Israel incidents took place during the 2021-2022 school year, including vandalism, verbal and written harassment, and physical assault.
Specifically, it found a disturbing trend toward anti-Israel sentiments that claim Israel has committed "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing" and found that on some campuses Jewish students were ostracized and kept from campus organizations because of their assumed support for Israel or Zionism.
"The antisemitic vitriol directed at pro-Israel students is deeply unsettling and makes our colleges and universities feel less safe and secure for Jewish students," said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. "University leaders must learn how to recognize and adequately respond to antisemitism whenever it arises, including when anti-Israel activities cross the line into anti-semitic hatred."
Leaders on Capitol Hill are also concerned about the rise of antisemitism among young people.
"The substitution of the word Zionist for Jew has become the modus operandi of a new, insidious strain of antisemitism that has taken hold on college campuses and on social media platforms," explained Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY).
As CBN News reported, pro-Palestinian protestors will often call for Jews to be purged from college campuses and classrooms.
"We've seen this happening in over the last ten years, where Zionism is equated with racism...that then translates to students on campus being targeted for being Jewish," Serene Hudson, vice president of advocacy at Passages, told CBN's PrayerLink.
Hudson has worked extensively in fighting against antisemitism and helped to bring thousands of Christian students to Israel to discover the Jewish roots of their faith.
She explained that college campuses are breeding grounds for antisemitism simply because schools restrict pro-Israel speech.
"There's a lot of activism on campus that is anti-Israel activism and I think there is a focus, in the academic realm, to make sure anti-Israel conversation and discussion are quite common. It is easy for academic discussion to then turn into hatred and vitriol and that then translates into flyers, vandalism, and even assault," Hudson said.
In one high-profile case, nine student groups at the University of California's Berkeley School of Law passed a new bylaw pledging to deny access to all pro-Israel speakers, as CBN News reported.
Their rule says they "will not invite speakers that have expressed and continued to hold views or host/sponsor/promote events in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine."
Berkeley Law School Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, says media reports about "Jewish Free Zones" are not true, but adds only a handful of student organizations, fewer than 10 out of 100, have adopted anti-Israel bylaws, which include a ban against pro-Israel speakers.
But Berkeley Law School graduate Kenneth Marcus, founder and chairman of the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights, called Chemerinsky's response outrageous.
Marcus rhetorically asked if "it's okay to have nine segregated areas just so long as we have many other areas that aren't segregated."
Hudson believes the rise of antisemitism across the country is spiritual, in nature.
"There is a spiritual dynamic here at play," she said. "It's hard to understand the source of antisemitism and it seems to morph in various (times) but there seems to be an underlying hatred against God and against His plan and purposes, and part of that is His choosing of the Jewish people to be a light to the world."
Hudson adds, "There is a spiritual element to this which means we need to think about this spiritually as well."
The ADL found antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism reported to ADL. That's a 34 percent increase, with an average of more than seven incidents occurring each day.
Hudson notes that before leaders implement policy to stop antisemitism people should evaluate their personal circles and take a stand when they see it happening.
"It's easy to look at the news and say 'wow, that's really terrible. Let's tweet, let's speak out against this or that personality.' But what if we look at our churches, our own circles, our own families, when we hear anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories, can we call that out?" she asked.
"I think we have a responsibility first to be active in this in our own families, in our own churches, and then to think about policy."
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