‘Acceptable’ Anti-Jewish Hatred Grows

Anti-Israel Activists Attempt to Hijack American Education System


Anti-Jewish hatred is becoming so prevalent and accepted in American education that deans at a prestigious American university thought they could joke about it without repercussions. They boldly made light of antisemitism during a discussion about antisemitism. If not for an eagle-eyed attendee, the administrators’ snarky libel would have gone unchallenged. At the same time, K-12 schools continue to grapple with ethnic identities that minimize and deny Jewish experiences and history. Anti-Jewish hatred at universities and K-12 schools continue to reach record levels.

Columbia Deans Find Anti-Jewish Hatred Funny: ‘Ancient antisemitic tropes’

Three of the four deans from Columbia Univ. were removed but not fired after being involved in a disturbing group text message exchange during a discussion on Jewish campus life in May. The deans are currently on “indefinite leave.” The discussion – “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present and Future” – was held at a time of increasing tension for students across America. Police arrested more than 100 students at Columbia’s anti-Israel encampment this Spring.

A U.S. House committee recently released new texts revealing the entire discussion. The messages showed the deans mocked the concerns of “privileged” Jewish students, criticized the Hillel campus rabbi, Yonah Hain, for sounding the alarm on campus antisemitism and invoked the anti-Jewish trope that Jews were enriching themselves.

Chairwoman Rep. Virigina Foxx: “Jewish students deserve better than to have harassment and threats against them dismissed as ‘privilege,’ and Jewish faculty members deserve better than to be mocked by their colleagues.” Foxx criticized the university for only removing the deans from their positions and not terminating them.

University president Minouche Shafik stated: “These sentiments are unacceptable and deeply upsetting, conveying a lack of seriousness about the experiences of members of our Jewish community. They disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes.”

Students and Faculty Defend Pro-Hamas Professors: ‘Extreme anti-Israel ideologies’

A popular Jewish studies lecturer at the Univ. of California at Irvine was replaced by two anti-Israel professors. The department chair is a member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine, a group pressuring the university to cut funding for the Jewish studies center. The chair defended Hamas weeks after the 10/7 attack and supports the destruction of Israel. The lecturer, Rabbi Daniel Levine: “Jewish studies departments across the country have been moving towards an anti-Israel activist lens. I see my role as an educator. In my classroom, no one knows my personal views.”

At Columbia, some students are demanding the university re-hire a professor who openly supports the Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations. A student petition condemns the university for “anti-Palestinian victimization” of the fired professor who praised the 10/7 Hamas attack against Israelis.

Hezbollah flag. The Iranian-backed terrorists have been bombarding Israel with deadly drones, rockets and missiles since Oct. 8.

Racism Accusations Protect Protestors, Rewrite Jewish History: ‘Narrative that negates Israel’

Claims of anti-Palestinian racism are being used to rewrite Jewish history and prevent future arrests of anti-Israel agitators.

A recent decision by Canada’s largest school district is expected to expand into American K-12 schools soon. The Toronto District School Board adopted a strategy to combat anti-Palestinian racism (APR) and rejected the inclusion of anti-Israel racism. The Board’s original report did not mention the rising rate of anti-Jewish attacks. The biggest problem voiced by one school board member is that “the definition of APR is an endorsement of a political narrative that negates Israel. You can’t support Israel without being anti-Palestinian.”

The Arab Canadian Lawyers Association published an APR guide that also is being used in America. The Massachusetts Teachers Association cited it during a webinar. Examples in the guide include the usual false accusations against Israel: denying the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and that Jews are colonizing Palestine. The Palestinian right of return promotes the destruction of Israel; rejecting this position is another example of racism. An additional example includes claiming that Palestinian movements are motivated by hate or antisemitism. The Iran-backed terror organizations Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Palestinian movements dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the annihilation of Jews.

Pro-Palestinian activists spent weeks in encampments at dozens of universities across the country. At UCLA, activists blocked Jewish students from accessing certain parts of campus and at Columbia, protestors violently stormed and occupied Hamilton Hall. The police were called in to remove many of the encampments, including the NYPD at Columbia.

Pro-Hamas protesters at UCLA restricted access to public spaces and provided wristbands only to students who oppose the Jewish state. (X screenshot)

A lawyer for an American advocacy group that defends supporters of Palestinians, Palestine Legal, claims that these universities engaged in “racist crackdowns against Palestinians and their supporters.” The Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating Columbia. The Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst also is under investigation after police arrested 57 Palestinian students and their supporters for trespassing at an Oct. 25 sit-in.

Additional complaints of APR in America include criticizing universities for condemning the Hamas 10/7 attack against Israelis but not Israel’s response and condemning anti-Israel lesson plans in local schools.

Ethnic Studies: Malicious Lies Fuel and Popularize Hate Against Jews

Allegations of anti-Palestinian racism in local school districts and at universities echoes issues surrounding the ethnic studies curriculum that began in California. Anti-Israel activists continue to exploit ethnic studies courses to promote their hateful agenda against Jews and Israel. California’s Jewish Legislation Caucus is promoting a bill to strengthen the ethnic studies guardrails and improve the curriculum transparency process. The JLC also backs a bill to strengthen CA university policies to “better address incidents of harassment and intimidation, and to respond appropriately when students call for genocide.

1. Anti-Israel activists are trying to hijack the American education system

Activists are increasingly spreading anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias under the guise of political analysis. In K-12 schools, curricula are sometimes skewed and Jewish students bullied based on stereotypes. At universities, the situation is even more pronounced. Some student groups and academic programs promote anti-Israel rhetoric that veers into outright antisemitism, creating a hostile environment for Jewish students. Controversial speakers and biased professors further exacerbate the issue. While legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and actions is valid, the conflation with anti-Jewish ideology undermines education’s mission: enabling unbiased learning and promoting tolerance.

2. Columbia Univ. deans unmask anti-Jewish hatred embedded at the executive level

The deans involved in the group text scandal found humor in discussing how Jews might benefit from the increasingly violent campus antisemitism. Their behavior reveals a broader issue where leaders in education, politics and business downplay the severity of hatred faced by American Jews, a prejudice that often escalates to physical attacks from far-left and far-right extremists. By perpetuating antisemitic tropes like greed, the deans exemplified a dangerous normalization of anti-Jewish attitudes. Their stereotypes of Jews showed a double standard that would not be tolerated if applied to any other minority group. This case emphasizes the pervasive hatred against Jews and the urgent need for aggressive efforts to combat it from the top down.

3. Criticism of anti-Israel activists falsely labeled as anti-Palestinian racism

A new strategy from some anti-Israel activists is to claim that actions taken against individuals promoting hatred of Jews and Israel is a form of anti-Palestinian racism. These false claims are being used to shield anti-Israel agitators from legal consequences and to rewrite Jewish history. This shields activists from accountability, and perpetuates harmful stereotypes and misinformation. It also trivializes the serious nature of bigotry against everyone, including Jews, Muslims, Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. It is important to combat all forms of hate and discrimination without relying on false narratives that demonize one group over another for political reasons.

4. Some ethnic studies programs distort Jewish and Israeli experiences and history

Some ethnic studies curricula in American schools present a false and biased narrative about Jews and Israel. These curricula promote a skewed portrayal of Jewish history and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, falsely framing Jews as ‘oppressors.’ This misinformation perpetuates damaging stereotypes about Jews and Israel. This distortion not only misinforms students, but also fosters antisemitic attitudes – making Jewish students feel marginalized and misrepresented in their own education. Urgent reforms are necessary for accurate and balanced education about Jewish history and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Biases must be addressed to foster understanding, prevent prejudice and provide a comprehensive education for all American students.

5. Dozens of civil rights lawsuits prove many universities fail to protect their students

Lawsuits and Congressional investigations are becoming increasingly common because universities are failing to uphold their duty to protect all students and staff. Many anti-Israel protesters and their leaders are marginalizing Jewish students, denying them the opportunity to freely express their cultural and religious identities. Some universities ignore or inadequately respond to harassment and discrimination against their Jewish students and staff – from banning Jewish students from events and even entering specific buildings on campus to blaring chants calling for Israel’s destruction. Universities must take decisive action to protect all Jews on campus, ensuring that they remain safe and welcoming spaces for all. Universities that fail to effectively address these hostile actions are complicit in allowing a toxic environment to flourish.

A. Call out anti-Jewish hatred when you see it: Columbia case proves it works

When you see or hear someone spewing anti-Jewish vile or making threats against Jews whether in person or on social media, alert the proper authorities. Americans must confront all forms of anti-Jewish hatred. A long history of silent ‘bystanders’ did not speak up or intervene when Jews were targeted. The Columbia Univ. deans were only disciplined for their actions after someone reported them – proving that we do have tools at our disposal to call out and reprimand this unaccceptable behavior.

B. Hold universities accountable

Universities must swiftly address anti-Jewish hatred on campus, ensuring a safe learning environment for all students. Urge administrators to strengthen protections for Jewish students by enforcing their policies, conducting external reviews of anti-discrimination policies and adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. Seek guidance from Jewish campus organizations and maintain respectful communication. Administrators must be held accountable for their actions – and inaction.

C. Consider running for school district boards and city councils; attend meetings to make your voice heard

Active civic participation helps encourage changes in your local community. By becoming a board or council member, you gain a direct channel to influence local policies, advocate for educational improvements and shape community development. Attending meetings also is crucial – your voice can add a valuable perspective that is not currently being heard. Check out the ADL Toolkit for Responding to Extremist Disruptions at Public Meetings for recommended actions.

Jewish Life on Campus: ‘Being Jewish a safety hazard’

Tessa Veksler served as student body president at the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara until her recent graduation. In the immediate aftermath of the 10/7 attacks, she wrote on Instagram: “Being a Jewish student on a college campus should not be a safety hazard.” The U.S. Dept. of Education opened a civil rights investigation into UCSB and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law filed a federal civil rights complaint against UCSB on Veksler’s behalf for leaving her “utterly vulnerable to severe and persistent antisemitic bullying, harassment, intimidation and threats.” Excerpts from a recent interview:

It’s hard for me to remember before Oct. 7, but life was very different, and I wasn’t defined by one piece of my identity.

I don’t understand why I – just because I’m Jewish – should have to live a different life or have a different sense of self. Everyone else in the world gets to be who they want to be, and I don’t understand why I should have to change that to make other people comfortable, especially to make antisemites comfortable.

I think the anti-Zionists are the greatest disappointment to the Jewish community. You can criticize Israel all day long, but I think that believing that your Jewish community doesn’t deserve a right to exist just means that you’re extremely privileged to come from a place of being able to say that.

Full interview and details of Tessa’s story.

Alarming Attacks Against Jews Around the World

Anger and fear reached alarming heights after young boys recently gang-raped a 12-year-old French girl because she was Jewish. The sickening attack brought attention to the harsh reality facing many Jews around the world. More recently, an 88-year-old grandmother was beaten in France and called a “dirty Jew”. After the country’s far-left party received the most seats in parliament, a rabbi at the Paris Grand Synagogue stated that “it seems France has no future for Jews” – 92% of French Jews think the party has contributed to rising antisemitism. The party’s leader called French Jews “an arrogant minority” in 2017.

Antisemitism is on the rise in Australia. Recently, Australian war memorials were vandalized with pro-Hamas graffiti. It is a scene reminiscent of war memorials desecrated in the U.S. Universities are another flashpoint. An Australian senator declared that “a judicial inquiry into antisemitism in Australian universities is needed now.” In the Netherlands, only students and staff with palms painted pro-Palestinian red can enter parts of Erasmus Univ. In Canada, the Univ. of Waterloo is seeking $1.5 million in damages against an anti-Israel encampment.

Hamas viciously attacked peaceful Israelis at the Nova Music Festival on 10/7. The irony was lost on musicians and fans criticizing Israel and declaring a “Free Palestine” at Britain’s popular Glastonbury Festival. A London plumber was in the news for denying service to customers who do not voice support for the antisemitic BDS Movement. A Jewish cemetery in Montreal was desecrated with Nazi swastikas and Greek police arrested seven for attacks on a synagogue and Israeli hotel.

In stark contrast, Germany announced a change to its citizenship law that requires new immigrants to support Jewish life in Germany and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Stories Impacting American Jews

Stories Impacting the U.S. and Israel


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This content is developed by The Focus Project in partnership with Mercaz USA. The Focus Project distributes weekly news and talking points on timely issues concerning Israel and the Jewish people, including antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of Israel. It represents a consensus view across a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations. Mercaz USA recognizes and respects the diversity of views on these issues among its readers and the community at large.

The Focus Project develops and distributes news, background, history and weekly talking points on timely issues to inform individuals and organizations about issues affecting the American Jewish community and Israel, and help readers speak with more consistency and clarity. The editions also provide potential responses for addressing incidents of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. With input from a spectrum of major American Jewish organizations, we focus on that which unites us, rising above political and individual agendas. Recognizing that hatred of Jews comes in many forms and directions, we strive to address all sources as they arise, and educate our growing audience on topics ranging from inter-religious relations to relevant international developments. From week to week, we may focus on issues arising from the political left, university campuses, from the political right and from institutions, government, and corporations. We don’t try to address all issues in each edition. We hope you will find this information useful in your writing and/or speaking. We are always open to your feedback: info@focus-project.org.