Calling for the Death of Jews on Campus

To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid or even a white supremacist now that Jews are considered to enjoy “white privilege.” 
August 25, 2022
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In their zeal to create “safe” campus environments, universities have instead created educational environments where students from approved victim groups are coddled, nurtured and shielded from criticism and intellectual or emotional challenges.

Hate speech has long been understood as any speech that expresses prejudice or is abusive toward someone based on their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. But the definition of hate speech has now been broadened to include any expression that contradicts the prevailing progressive orthodoxy on campuses, and such speech is seen as harmful, even violent, by proponents of these ideas. In other words, even questioning whether it is reasonable to view all white or light-skinned people as racists or oppressors, for example, is akin to an act of violence.

Fighting racism is a worthy endeavor. But on many college campuses students and faculty are often forced to offer explicit admissions of their own racism simply because they are light-skinned. Sessions and courses that discuss implicit bias, invisible racism, “white privilege,” and microaggressions, together with a consequential battery of programs and initiatives to protect minority students from this alleged bigotry are in abundance. Mandatory sensitivity training for all faculty and students, school-wide solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and campus-wide initiatives to increase the recruitment of minority students and faculty are the norm. Anyone who questions or challenges these sweeping, unproved allegations of systemic racism can be accused of white supremacy and the promotion of injurious hate speech, which further marginalizes and harms a victim group.

There is, however, one victim group that is rarely protected from vilification and ideological assault, namely, Jewish students who are supporters of Israel. Progressive students have decided, from within their own moral self-righteousness that the Palestinian campaign for self-determination is such a sacred cause that anyone who defends Israel is a moral retrograde. To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid or even a white supremacist now that Jews are considered to enjoy “white privilege.”

Groups such as Students for Justice in Palestinian (SJP) have waged an unrelenting cognitive war against Israel and its campus supporters and Jewish students are confronted with activism, rhetoric, and condemnation that, were it aimed at any other minority group, would be immediately and forcefully denounced, not only by fellow students but by university officials as well—just as they do when a racist, homophobic, or other incident against a victim group takes place. At the University of Chicago, for example, the school’s SJP chapter even used a repulsive Instagram post to urge their fellow students not to enroll in any “sh*tty Zionist classes.”

In 2020-2021, 17 BDS resolutions are were pushed through student governments in which Israel is maligned as a racist, apartheid regime, existing on stolen Arab land, and chronically oppressing the human and civil rights of Palestinians. Yearly Israeli Apartheid Weeks reinforce this false narrative with mock apartheid walls constructed in university quads and guest speakers who parrot calumnies against the Jewish state while accusing its supporters of racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

Often heard at these campus anti-Israel hate-fests is the grotesque chant, “Intifada, intifada, long live intifada,” referring to an uprising in which Israeli civilians, not soldiers, are murdered randomly by psychopathic Arabs. Anti-Israel activists regularly support “resistance” on behalf of the ever-aggrieved Palestinians, resistance being a comfortable euphemism for terrorism against Jews.

Anti-Israel activists regularly support “resistance” on behalf of the ever-aggrieved Palestinians, resistance being a comfortable euphemism for terrorism against Jews.

On campuses where misgendering someone is now considered an act of “violence,” it is telling that when rhetoric calls for the murder of Jews, there is a shocking silence on campus, made even more ironic by the fact that those same activists most likely think of themselves as woke, tolerant and compassionate for the plight of the underdog.

On August 15, 2022 for example, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) tabled an anti-Israel motion that included the expected slanders against the Jewish state, including the allegation that Zionism is racist and colonial, that Palestine is occupied by Israel, and that ethnic cleansing is part of that situation.

Most inflammatory, though, was the language in the motion that “UMSU supports the self-determination of the Palestine people and their right to engage in self-defence [sic] against their occupiers,” that self-defense, of course, being the assumed right of the Palestinians (including the terrorist thugs of Hamas) to indiscriminately lob lethal rockets and mortars into southern Israeli towns from Gaza with the express intent to murder Jewish civilians in their sleep.

Even when university campuses worked diligently in the 1980s to dismantle South African apartheid, no one called for Black people to murder their white oppressors; no one yearned for the complete destruction of the South African state and its replacement with a new, Black-run sovereignty. But in the fictitious narrative about Palestine, illegal occupation and Israeli oppression of an indigenous people, these students make it clear that terrorism and the murder of Jews are not only condoned but celebrated.

The pro-Palestinian movement has always devalued Jewish lives, justifying the murder of Israelis because of the alleged systemic racism and oppression inherent in Zionism and the very existence of the Jewish state. So the language in the UMSU motion calling for and justifying terrorism against Israel is not uncommon, despite its ghoulish lethality and indifference to Jewish suffering.

Lately, that genocidal support for Palestinian terrorism has become even more extreme, suggesting that, if anything, the toxic activism against Israel and its Jewish supporters on campus has grown more sinister and morally debased.

At Ohio State University, for example, the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter just hosted a vigil to honor terrorist Ibrahim Nabulsi, who was killed in a joint operation by Israeli counter-terrorism forces. “Come out for our emergency protest and candlelight vigil for the recent tragedies happening in Palestine,” the group’s Instagram post read. “We will be honoring our martyrs Ibrahim Nabulsi, Hussein Taha, Islam Soboh, and Momen Jaber. Please join us as we continue to fight and stand for justice in Palestine.” Justice in this case presumably means the continued murder of Israelis in the name of Palestinian self-determination.

One of those named “martyrs,” Ibrahim Nabulsi, also known as the “Lion of Nablus,” was not a random terrorist but a key member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. He was responsible, before being neutralized on August 9, 2022, for multiple shootings against Israeli civilians and the IDF.


Unsurprisingly, when OSU officials were queried about the event being held by one of the university’s student groups, they fecklessly sidestepped the issue, claiming that the university is committed to free speech and disingenuously refusing to condemn the event by suggesting it was not an official university event since it was held off campus.

In Canada, two student organizations, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Concordia, co-sponsored a similar grotesque vigil for the murderous terrorists slain by Israel, “Glory to Our Martyrs.” “Over the past few days,” the McGill Facebook post read, “Zionist aggression has escalated … Despite the ruthless attempts to break Palestinians’ collective spirit, the latest war has been named ‘The Unity of All Fronts.’ It is in this spirit of unity that we call on the Montreal community to march against Zionist aggression and honour our martyrs. Until full liberation and return, the struggle continues.”


The “full liberation” of and “return” to Palestine is mentioned here carelessly but it assumes that such an event would result in the completely “liberated Palestine” that SJP, BDS supporters, and their fellow travelers actually seek a Palestine that includes, and subsumes present-day Israel—achieved through the use, if necessary, of terrorism and the murder of Jews.

That university students around the world, professing to speak on behalf of the oppressed, marginalized, and victimized, can in the same breath honor and valorize terrorists, encouraging them to murder more Jews as a justifiable tactic of achieving statehood, indicates how debased the social justice efforts on campus have become.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Jewish students on these campuses, whether or not they actively support Israel or are animated by Zionism, are maligned by this aggressive activism against the Jewish state, and are made to pay the price for the alleged crimes of Israel simply by virtue of being Jewish.

That anti-Israel radicals have hijacked the narrative about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and have cast Israel and its supporters as malignant and irredeemable racists while casting the Palestinian Arabs as innocent victims who justifiably may kill Jews is a continuing tragedy in which Jewish students continue to be targets of the world’s oldest hatred.

Antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism is still Jew-hatred.

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D. is a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Slow Death of the University: How Radicalism, Israel Hatred, and Race Obsession are Destroying Academia.”

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