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New Wave of Antisemitism Infecting US College Students, Hate Crimes Against Jews Hit All-Time High

Aftermath of the Chabad of Poway synagogue attack in California (AP Photo)

Anti-Jewish hate seems more common in big European cities or in New York City. But as the threat of antisemitism grows right here in the United States, college campuses are the new breeding ground for anti-Israel, anti-Jewish bias.

Hate crimes against Jews set an all-time high last year. Most took the form of violent attacks and vandalism against synagogues and Jewish temples. 

This week on Capitol Hill, congressmen expressed concerns about a new wave of antisemitism infecting young American adults.

"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).

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Often during public demonstrations, pro-Palestinian protestors call for Jews to be purged from college campuses and classrooms. 

And critics say that's exactly what has happened at the University of California, Berkeley where some students have attempted to restrict pro-Israel speech.

Berkeley Law School Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, says media reports about "Jewish Free Zones" are not true. He said 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. 

Berkeley Law School graduate Kenneth Marcus is the founder and chairman of the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights. He called Chemerinsky's response outrageous.

"What if there had been any other context in which any other group was shut out of opportunities? Would a law school dean in the 21st century say not to worry?" he wondered.

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."    
Appearing on the CBN News program the Global Lane, Marcus described the speech ban as utterly absurd, ridiculous, and inconsistent with American law. 

So is this speech ban antisemitic, anti-Jewish, or just anti-Israel?  

"It's all of those," Marcus insisted. "Pick your poison. To begin with, it is a method of silencing one side of a political debate. It is a way of saying we should not permit anyone to participate in a discussion on campus if they are pro-Israel."

American Jewish leaders fear what has started in California may easily spread to other parts of the country.        

Marcus said Jewish students are already being marginalized and excluded on other college campuses because of the Zionist aspect of their Jewish identity.

Jewish students at Rutgers University recently saw their fraternity house egged on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.   

"We're seeing a general effort to marginalize and exclude the Jewish community, to create the notion that Jews and the Jewish community and establishment are simply not a normal part of life on college and university campuses," Marcus explained. 

"What's happening at Berkeley Law now is in some respects unique, but in some respects it is simply the latest in what is clearly a nationwide trend and an ugly one," he said.

And concerned leaders like Marcus and Congressman Torres believe only by standing up and speaking out, can Americans reverse the growing tide of American antisemitism.

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