‘We don’t want to feel targeted’: Antisemitism hits US campuses over Rosh Hashana - The Jewish Voice
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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

‘We don’t want to feel targeted’: Antisemitism hits US campuses over Rosh Hashana

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By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Antisemitism reared its head over the Jewish New Year holiday in two incidents aimed at least in part at college students over 800 miles apart in the United States.

Anti-Jewish flyers were found Sunday morning on the eve of the holiday in several neighborhoods of Ann Arbor, Michigan, including those of students who attend the nearby University of Michigan. Plastic baggies containing several pages of antisemitic propaganda were thrown onto lawns and driveways.

Another sheet had the British and Israeli flags on two opposites sides of the page, saying, “We did not break free from a small country across the sea just to be controlled by another small country across the sea years later.”

Some of the propaganda, such as accusing Jews of being behind the Covid-19 “agenda,” had also been included in a rash of incidents in states from Florida to Texas to California over the past year.

The white supremacist Goyim Defense League was allegedly behind the flyer dispersal as well as many of the other incidents. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group is responsible for at least 74 such incidents in 2021.


Shadia Martini, a Democrat running to represent the local district for the state house, tweeted, “Officials told me that the flyers were placed in off-campus but traditionally student-populated neighborhoods and contained vile conspiracy theories with a QR code link to an antisemitic hate site.”

She encouraged students and their families “who were affected” by the hateful incident to report it to the university, “which is providing support to those impacted.”

While local police are investigating, in similar incidents the authorities have said that even if caught, the perpetrators could not be charged with a hate crime but could possibly face heavy littering fines.

Meanwhile, at Rutgers University of New Brunswick, New Jersey, the traditionally Jewish fraternity house Alpha Epsilon Pi was egged on Monday, the first day of the holiday. Three eggs were found broken on the sidewalk after hitting the building near its side door.

The students feel certain that it was not simply a college prank, considering the timing and that it has also happened before on a Jewishly significant date, most recently on Holocaust Remembrance Day last year.

“Rosh Hashana is considered a high holiday for the Jewish people, and just the fact that it’s such a holy day, and they just … wanted to kill our morale,” student Josh Platzman told News12 Brooklyn Tuesday.

Platzman said he and his fellow fraternity brothers “just want to feel safe on this campus. We don’t want to feel targeted as the Jewish people.”

Confirming that campus police are investigating the episode, a university spokesperson added in a statement that “Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world.”

Governor Phil Murphy also slammed the vandalism, tweeting, “Antisemitism has no place in New Jersey. I will always condemn and speak out against bigotry and intolerance.”

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