By: Alex Blecker
With the rise of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) and other anti-Israel movements, anti-Semitism has also seen a surge. The AMCHA Initiative has documented over 2500 acts of anti-Semitic hate crimes on college campuses since 2015, and that number is sharply increasing. These once peaceful learning environments have turned into battlegrounds between Jewish students and their classmates.
Just a couple weeks ago, a Jewish student was attacked at York University for attending a pro-Israel event, and swastikas were drawn over Jewish students’ doors at University of Georgia. On top of this, a Jewish professor was sent a death threat while a white-supremacist manifesto was emailed out to all students at Syracuse University. Jewish students and faculty are scared for their lives and require protection from universities to ensure their safety.
BDS is an inherently anti-Semitic movement that calls for the destruction of Israel, the only Jewish State in the world. They boycott Israeli products and companies just as the Nazis boycotted Jewish products and businesses. They back recognized terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, such as Hamas and the PIJ, that have a reputation for brutally attacking and murdering Jews living in Israel.
Fortunately for me, the BDS movement died down on my campus when the board of trustees led by a Jewish President, limited their ability to enact pro-BDS legislation in the Student Government Association. Other universities around the country should be doing the same to protect their Jewish students from discrimination. Sadly, most schools have been sitting back while watching the carnage unfold.
When the BDS movement is prominent on a college campus, Jewish students feel like they are walking around with a target on their back for supporting the land of their people. Universities wait for an incident, issue a statement, and continue with their day as if nothing has happened. By refusing to take proactive measures to stop anti-Semitism, the Jewish community is left to fend for themselves.
Recently, over 450 missiles were fired indiscriminately at Israeli citizens from terrorists in Gaza. Anti-Israel proponents praise these actions while calling on nations to condemn Israel for defending themselves from the attack. Proponents of the BDS excel at playing the victim and blaming the Jews as the world has done for hundreds of years. Zionist students and speakers are framed as murders who support the killing of innocent women and children. They use these lies to legitimize their physical and verbal violence here in America and abroad. The Jewish population feels the world has once again turned on us and fear another genocide.
The BDS movement attempts to mask their hatred by pretending that they are merely criticizing Israel as a nation and not the people themselves, but the Jewish community sees right through this. Calling for the destruction of Israel and sanctions on the Jewish people is not a criticism, it’s anti-Semitism. Rallies and school clubs that deny the Jewish people of their right to self-determination just as everyone else has should not be tolerated on college campuses and the like. Schools must outright ban these organizations to eliminate the hate at the source.
The BDS movement notoriously applies double-standards to Israel and the Jewish community. By calling Israel an “apartheid” state while ignoring or turning a blind eye to the surrounding nations in the Middle East that limit or don’t provide equal rights to women and members of the LGBTQ community, your true intentions show. Israel is indisputably the most democratic nation in the region and the United States’ closest ally in the Middle East.
Israel openly welcomes and has given full rights to non-Jewish citizens, including Arabs. Still, it is clear from the Palestinian Authority that encourages and rewards the slaughtering of Jews, that the same rights would not be reciprocated to the Jewish people if they were the minority group.
The rise of these anti-Semitic views stemming from the far left has led Jewish students more worried about their safety on campus rather than their academics. Universities must put precautions in place before the BDS gets even more out of hand than it already is.
Etching Swastikas on dorms and verbally or physically abusing Jewish students on campuses should be taken seriously by University administrators. Colleges advocate safe learning environments but do nothing to stop hostile situations from forming. I worry for my Jewish friends on other campuses, and you should too.
Alex Blecker is currently a student at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. He has previously written about the BDS movement in the Atlanta Jewish Times.