Anti-Semitism rife in Victorian Universities

November 18, 2010 by Deborah Stone
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In response to increased reports of antisemitism on campus and intimidation of Jewish students, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) invited Jewish students in Victoria to fill in a questionnaire about their on-campus experiences. 68%  of respondents reported experiencing or witnessing some form of antisemitism. Written material, such as posters and signs, were the most common form of antisemitism, followed by verbal attack and prejudice.

Students reported more widespread antisemitism at La Trobe University than at Deakin, Melbourne or Monash. Many students cited individual examples of antisemitism but did not consider antisemitism a problem on their campus. Few students admitted to hiding their Jewishness or Israel views to avoid attack or abuse but most said they knew Jewish students who did.

Most students made no distinction between traditional antisemitism and anti-Zionism. There was a strong crossover between abuse of Israel and abuse of Jewish symbols and individuals. Swastikas and antisemitic graffiti are used by a range of groups to attack Jews and Israel. The questionnaire also uncovered cases of faculty members using their positions to launch polemics against Israel or make antisemitic statements in ways which intimidated Jewish students.

These results indicate a disturbing number of cases of antisemitism on campus in Victoria, creating a campus environment that is uncomfortable and sometimes intimidating for Jewish students.

Most of the antisemitism was linked to attacks on Israel with cases of Jewish students being abused as “terrorists” or “racists”, Jewish symbols being distorted into swastikas and lectures being interrupted by activists screaming “Jews are murderers”.

There were also cases of students being told not to vote for a student candidate because he was Jewish, of a religious Jew abused for wearing a skullcap and of a student who said she was marked down after a lecturer found out she was Jewish.

Students reported more widespread antisemitism at La Trobe University than at Deakin, Melbourne or Monash. All of the La Trobe Jewish students who responded to the survey said they had experienced or witnessed antisemitism and 85 per cent considered antisemitism a problem at the university. Most of the La Trobe students said either they or their friends sometimes hide the fact that they are Jewish to avoid abuse.

Few students at other universities said they hid their Jewishness to avoid attack or abuse but most said they knew Jewish students who did.

The questionnaire also uncovered cases of faculty members using their positions to launch polemics against Israel or make antisemitic statements in ways which intimidated Jewish students.

Daniel Goodhardt co-wrote this article

Comments

4 Responses to “Anti-Semitism rife in Victorian Universities”
  1. Rita says:

    Lyn Newington says: “…By the time students move into the University scene one would think they would have some sense…”

    Not if they have been indoctrinated from early childhood: “Give me a child to the age of 7 and I give you the “wo/man”.

  2. Ben says:

    In my experience, left-leaning professors and leftwing activist students were the most anti-Semitic and conspiratorial creatures on campus. They don’t just talk about Israel, they spit the “I” word out. If I were a Jew, I’d find it hard to focus on study, under such pressure. Just dreadful.

    One student argued that the “good Germans” didn’t really know about the Holocaust. To paraphrase my response: “Hmmm… didn’t Berlin’s smashed shop front windows, cattle trains and burning synagogues, suggest there was something in the water.” Again, dreadful.

  3. Rita says:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/11/italy-40-muslim-students-shouting-allahu-akbar-and-slaughter-the-jews-terrorize-israeli-student.html

    Incidentally, Anti-Semitism is very rife at Sydney University also. (and from what I hear, but have not observed personally, at the University of Western Sydney).

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    This is the saddest thing. Imagine how the parents must feel.
    By the time students move into the University scene one would think they would have some sense.
    I believe faculty members need lecturing in multi faith issues~ with all those letters after their name too, shame on them.

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