On May 22nd in Jacksonville speaker Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D. gave a speech about Anti-Semitism on American Campuses, in which he addressed many issues relating to the treatment of Jews and the relationships between Israel and Palestine.
One big topic he addressed was how Jewish students are treated on college campuses. It shocked me to see the videos of students bashing Israel and slandering its name by coming up with lies and excuses for their hateful behavior towards Pro-Jewish voices. One tactic of Anti-Israel people is to silence those that speak against them. This makes it seem like they are in control and they represent what is right. Instead of saying that they are Anti-Semitic, in an attempt to avoid being called racist, they label themselves as Anti-Israel, or Pro-Palestine. Because of this silencing, it’s often hard for Jews to stand up for Israel without fear of being attacked online or in person. This, combined with uninformed and uneducated professors, results in a tense and unsafe environment for Jewish students to live and work in.
As the relationship between Israel and Palestine becomes more heated in a worldwide setting, it also reflects how Jewish people are treated on a more local level. For example, people like Louis Farrakhan Sr., who recently attacked Jews and Judaism at a Mosque in Chicago, fuel this hate by warning his listeners about “satanic Jews who have infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” This language is not okay, and can be easily compared to the language of Nazi leaders in the 1930s and 40s. Wars over land and power aside, the blatant hate that is expressed in an environment that should reflect what the next generation of people will turn out to be is disgusting.
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D. ended the talk by showing us tweets and videos from Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic people that discriminate and dehumanize Jewish people and those that support them to really drive home the point that this issue needs to be addressed and stopped before wars begin, not oversees in far off countries, but instead in our own college campuses with our own children, brothers, sisters, family members and friends.
After the talk, I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his opinion on multiple different issues that he addressed:
Q: I’m a high schooler and I’ve already started looking at colleges in my area. What should I be looking for in regards to the administration and how they handle Anti-Semitism on campus?
A: One big sign is how they deal with hate speech and discrimination on campus. Look out for drawings or symbols that demonstrate hate against Jews or any other groups in the form of posters or rallies. Also look out for double standards and faculty delegitimizing Israel or its impact on the world.
Q: Would you consider Anti-Semitism the same thing as bullying?
A: Yes, both can result in racist remarks and discrimination towards or within a certain group. Anti-Semitism is bullying towards Jewish people in particular, while bullying can include any range of hate towards any type of person.
Q: If bullying is not accepted or tolerated in college campuses, then why is Anti-Semitism still such a big issue? Why are Jewish people still being bullied?
A: Often times it’s because people assume that Jewish people don’t “need” protection and awareness like other minorities do. It’s not as widely recognized so people don’t often stand up against the issue.
Q: What can I do to spread the message and get others involved in this issue?
A: I think you should make people aware that they can easily get informed about the issues in the world, and that doesn’t mean just looking at Snapchat or quickly browsing through the web, you must actually research and read about these problems and how to help these marginalized people. Of course you can always spread love and stick up for what you believe, even if you’re afraid you may get hate for it.
If you would like to find out more about this topic, Richard Cravatts has published multiple books relating to the issue but one especially interesting one titled Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.