A recent survey underscores a disturbing trend in university culture amid the Israel-Hamas war and the subsequent rise of antisemitism in the Western world. As the conflict in Gaza continues, the pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas elements on campuses across the country have become more aggressive in pushing their point of view on other students.
This trend has been marked by incidents of violence and threats coming from the anti-Israel crowd, and it is affecting Jewish students, regardless of where they stand on the war. A recent survey suggests that over one-third of Jewish students indicated they feel the need to conceal their identities due to fears of being targeted.
There are 37% of Jewish college students in the United States who report feeling compelled to hide their Jewish identity due to safety concerns, according to a new survey from Hillel International on Monday. This significant percentage underscores the growing challenges and fears experienced by Jewish students in the current academic environment, particularly following the October 7 Hamas attack.
Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International, expressed deep concern about these findings. “The alarming trend of Jewish students feeling unsafe and needing to conceal their identity is a direct reflection of the increasing hostility and antisemitic incidents on campuses,” Lehman stated in a press release. He emphasized the urgent need for university administrations to actively address these issues and provide a safer environment for Jewish students.
Unfortunately, it appears the fears of Jewish students are well-founded, given recent events. At MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), anti-Israel protesters prevented Jewish and Israeli students from attending class by harassing and threatening them.
The protesters even harassed professors and other members of the faculty. “Many Jewish students fear leaving their dorm rooms and have stated that they feel MIT is not safe for Jews,” according to Professor Retsef Levi.
This is the reality that MIT President wants to hide. A letter from Israeli & Jewish MIT students:
To all students at MIT,
Today, Jewish and Israeli MIT students were physically prevented from attending class by a hostile group of pro-Hamas and anti-Israel MIT students that…
— Retsef Levi (@RetsefL) November 10, 2023
At Cornell University, Jewish students received death threats weeks after one of the university’s professors indicated that he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’ October 7 massacre of Israeli civilians.
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) October 30, 2023
Combined with the reality that there has been a staggering 388 percent increase in antisemitic incidents this year amid the Israel-Hamas war, it is a wonder that more students do not report being concerned about potential attacks. The situation has become so pronounced that the Department of Education is looking into the matter.
Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced Friday that the department has opened investigations into seven different schools, including Cornell, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania, after receiving several complaints regarding five cases of antisemitism and two of Islamophobia on the campuses.
The increase of anti-Jewish bigotry on American campuses is a significant cause for concern. It reflects not only growing hostility toward Jewish students, but an apparent inability on the part of university leadership to address the issue. The need for measures to protect these students is now more pressing than ever.