US College Campuses Are ‘Hotbed’ of Anti-Semitism

Harassment of Jews is thriving on US college campuses, which continue to be a “hotbed for anti-Semitism,” despite an overall drop in anti-Semitic violence worldwide, a new report shows.

There were 361 incidents of violent attacks around the world against Jews last year, down 12 percent from 410 in 2015, according to the report released Sunday by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry.

The decreases were most evident in France and Belgium, where anti-Semitic incidents plunged 61 percent and 60 percent respectively, while Australia and the UK, on the other end of the spectrum, saw increases of 11 and 10 percent.

The “other trend,” according to the report, is the large-scale increase in “verbal and visual” anti-Semitism on social media platforms and during demonstrations that is difficult to measure.

“Therefore, even if the number of violent cases decreased, the prevalent feeling among Jews – individuals as well as communities – is an ominous one, and constitutes the most worrisome finding,” according to the report, which analyzed data from 40 countries.

That threatening feeling was evident on college campuses across the US, where researchers found a 45 percent increase of anti-Semitism of “all forms,” particularly harassment and insults, according to the report.

The report noted a “sharp spike” of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism following the election of President Trump, including the usage of swastikas and other Nazi imagery.

“In addition to acts of vandalism, some groups, as well as anonymous individuals, have posted racist fliers on campuses across the county promoting white identity and heritage,” according to the report. “The fliers try to appeal to white college students by focusing on alleged dangers facing white Americans, including demographic changes and ‘white guilt.’”

The report cited several far-right personalities as motivators of anti-Semitism, including Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute who coined the “alt-right” term, and Andrew Anglin, founder of white supremacist website The Daily Stormer.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League found that ant-Semitic incidents in the US surged 34 percent last year and have increased by 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to a report released Monday.

“There’s been a significant, sustained increase in anti-Semitic activity since the start of 2016 and what’s most concerning is the fact that the numbers have accelerated over the past five months,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “Clearly, we have work to do and need to bring more urgency to the fight.”

A total of 34 incidents were linked to the election, according to the ADL report, which cited one incident in Denver, where graffiti posted in May 2016 said, “Kill; the Jews, Vote Trump.” More recently, in November, a Florida man reported he was harassed by someone who told him: “Trump is going to finish was Hitler started.”

And anti-Semitic incidents at non-Jewish elementary, middle and high schools increased 106 percent last year, with the trend accelerating in the first quarter of 2017, when 95 incidents were reported, the ADL found.

“These incidents need to be seen in the context of a general resurgence of white supremacist activity in the United States,” Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said in a statement. “Extremists and anti-Semites feel emboldened and are using technology in new ways to spread their hatred and to impact the Jewish community on and off line.”

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