BDS on the Rise on Campuses – ACLJ Continues the Fight
We have previously drawn attention to the rising tide of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement, particularly on our nation’s campuses. As we have explained, the real aim of BDS, which originated as an effort of members of the Palestinian society, is the destruction of the Jewish State. On college campuses, the Movement’s efforts have resulted in Jewish students becoming the targets of widespread anti-Semitic activity.
A recent study confirms that this type of discrimination is rampant in the American system of higher education right now. According to a report published by the pro-Israel AMCHA Initiative, there were over 300 incidents of anti-Semitism on 113 campuses during 2015. Tellingly, almost every school with an active anti-Israel organization experienced at least one anti-Semitic occurrence during the year. And not surprisingly, the rise in anti-Semitism appears to be directly linked to BDS activity.
The ACLJ is directly involved in combating this issue, having helped to favorably resolve multiple situations in which Jewish students and professors have been targeted by pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel student organizations. We have defended these individuals against baseless attacks and consistently urged administrators to reject false narratives by these groups that seek to vilify Israel in general and/or specific members of the campus community based on either their Jewish ethnicity or their pro-Israel expression. In fact, just last week we succeeded in obtaining dismissal of a student complaint against an Israeli professor at the University of Texas based on a lack of any credible evidence against our client. While we remain committed to protecting the right to freedom of speech for all, it is imperative that those in charge on our nation’s campuses recognize these situations for what they are—abuses of that right intended to harass, denigrate, and marginalize supporters of Israel—and clearly communicate that such conduct will not be tolerated.
We are encouraged to see a number of state legislatures recognizing the bigoted nature of the BDS Movement, with several enacting, and others in the process of considering, measures that “prohibit the state from engaging in business transactions with companies that participate in boycotts of Israel or Israeli companies.” It is time for our colleges and universities to take note and act in similar fashion by unequivocally denouncing anti-Semitism in all its forms and taking decisive action against anti-Jewish discrimination on campus.