Anti-Israel harassment on US college campuses up 60%, report finds

“Israel-related harassment continues to be the dominant and steadily increasing form of behavior targeting Jewish students for harm,” the report said.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

A recent report from the AMCHA Initiative found a significant increase in anti-Israel harassment on U.S. college campuses.

AMCHA Initiative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to investigating, documenting, educating about, and combating anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America. The group has documented over 3,000 anti-Semitic incidents since 2015.

“The current study of anti-Semitic activity in 2019 has shown that Israel-related harassment continues to be the dominant and steadily increasing form of behavior targeting Jewish students for harm and is easily adaptable to the online platforms that are likely to play a major role in the 2020-2021 academic year, and perhaps longer,” the report said.

The study found that the number of incidents of anti-Jewish harassment identified as expressing classic anti-Semitism was down 49 percent in 2019 compared to 2018.

However, the number of Israel-related incidents was up 60 percent from 121 reported incidents in 2018 to 192 in 2019.

The study also found that 72 percent of the Israel-related instances of anti-Semitic harassment occurred via online transmission. This trend is expected to continue to increase in 2020 as classes and other campus activities shift to online platforms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Early reports of anti-Semitic activity on virtual college and university platforms from late March have focused primarily on “Zoombombing,” the intentional disruption of Zoom videoconferencing platforms with graphic or threatening messages and speech.

Another trend appearing this year is the increase in anti-Semitic harassment linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.

In early June, a petition titled “Justice for Black Lives: End All University of California Police and Imperial Contracts,” signed by dozens of student groups and thousands of students and faculty, accused Israel of training the Minneapolis police force in the “knee-to-neck chokehold… used to murder George Floyd [that] has been used and perfected to torture Palestinians… through 72 years of ethnic cleansing and dispossession.”

The petition demanded that the university “divest from companies that profit off Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine.”

At least 90 chapters of the anti-Israel campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine have signed a statement of solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.