Lecturer has heard these stories at universities in Britain, Canada, and US
Mike Damiano’s article reflects my own experiences as a university researcher and lecturer at universities in Britain, Canada, and the United States (“On campus, Jewish students feel ostracized over support for Israel,” Page A1, May 15). Jewish students at various college campuses have spoken to me about distressing experiences of prejudice and ostracization because of their Jewish identities and Jewish affiliations. Many have experienced stigmatization, exclusion, and harassment. When they have reported this to administrators, they have often encountered a refusal to acknowledge and provide redress for their experiences of discrimination.
Many have reported that their lived experiences, histories, and perspectives are frequently ignored, maligned, and distorted and that they are subject to hostility because of how they express their Judaism and their Jewish identities individually and collectively as members of a Jewish community.
Offices of diversity, equity, and inclusion and university administrations need to dramatically improve their efforts to advance the values and aspirations of equity and inclusion for Jewish students, as do faculty and students, and greater efforts need to be made to acknowledge ethnic and racial diversity within the Jewish community.
The writer is an associate fellow with the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill Faculty of Law and a lecturer in international and area studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
This particular kind of antisemitism is often overlooked
Thanks to Mike Damiano for documenting a prejudice that is too often overlooked: antisemitism on college campuses. Some antisemitism is overt, but much of it is camouflaged in the guise of protests against Israel.
Criticism of Israeli policies isn’t antisemitic, but denial of Israel’s right to exist is. Furthermore, when so-called activists single out Jewish students on campus for rebuke and seek to exclude them from participating in activities that are supposed to be open to all students, they are clearly discriminating against fellow students only because they are Jews. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, adopted by 34 countries and three consecutive US administrations, notes that this is one of many forms of antisemitism.
The response from many college and university administrations is underwhelming. Too often they frame online attacks such as those against University of Connecticut senior Natalie Shclover as a First Amendment right. This diminishes the attacks. It also is a missed opportunity. These could be opportunities to provide factual historical context and maybe even foster understanding.