Study: Spike In Anti-Semitic Incidents at UW – Matches Trend Across Nation

287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 US schools in first half of 2016.

In a recent Seattle Times Op-Ed, Seattle Jewish Federation President Keith Dvorchik declared the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to be anti-Semitic. Dvorchik explained that “The goal of BDS is – to delegitimize and demonize Israel, blaming only the Jewish state for a complex conflict…” This sober assessment is buttressed by a report released today by The Amcha Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to documenting and combating anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America.

The University of Washington featured prominently in the Amcha study with eleven incidents of anti-Semitic activity reported in the first six months of 2016.

According to Amcha nearly 100 more incidents of anti-Semitism occurred on US campuses during the first six months of 2016 compared with the first six months of 2015. In addition, calls for Israel’s elimination on campus tripled, and that expression highly correlated with actions that harm Jewish students.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin at UC Regents meeting on Anti-Zionism. Photo Credit Legal Insurrection

Cautioned Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative director and co-founder, “the growing problem of campus anti-Semitism is no doubt a serious threat facing the Jewish community but this disturbing and dangerous spike and the bolder, more brazen, methods of those perpetrating this hate are particularly alarming.” 

The study, which examined anti-Semitic activity from January through June 2016 on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

The University of Washington featured prominently in the Amcha study with eleven incidents of anti-Semitic activity reported in the first six months of 2016; twice as many as reported during the same period last year. Among the documented incidents were neo-Nazi messages chalked on the UW Campus and burned pages from a Jewish authored book scattered in front of the UW Hillel. Several BDS events sponsored by Super UW and other on campus organizations demonized Jewish Israelis and advocated for the dismantling of Israel as the Jewish state.

In April of 2016 Super UW actively opposed a campus speaking engagement by Professor Kenneth Marcus, a world renowned expert on anti-Semitism


Flyer from anti-Semitic BDS event at the University of Washington.

In March of this year in an event held at the UW and sponsored by Super UW, Remi Kenazi performed his poem, “Normalize This!” in which he falsely accused Zionism of “infecting the mind of millions with racism,” and Israel of being a “settler colonial state with appropriated culture…a racist, exclusivist, supremacist state” that was guilty of “apartheid, ethnic cleansing,” and he promoted the elimination of the Jewish state.”

At Western Washington University resident advisers found a headless porcelain doll with a note that said “Death to all Jews”

The onslaught against the Jewish state in the Cascadia region is not confined to the University of Washington. At Evergreen State College students voted to endorse two anti-Israel resolutions, the first to condemn the presence of Caterpillar equipment on campus and the second to remove Sabra hummus from student dining venues. 67.4% of participating students voted for the Caterpillar resolution while 73.9% voted for de-shelving Sabra.


Protester at Evergreen State College libels Israel with baseless accusation of Apartheid.

At Western Washington University resident advisers found a headless porcelain doll with a note that said “Death to all Jews” attached. In separate incidents, two students reported that a swastika had been drawn on their respective dorm room doors.

Amcha researchers found that Anti-Zionism, particularly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities, anti-Zionist student groups, and faculty boycotters remain the strongest predictors of anti-Semitic incidents on campus. “In the first half of 2016, the incidence of language and imagery opposing Israel’s right to exist was highly correlated with the targeting of Jewish Students.  Expression promoting Israel’s elimination was also very highly correlated with BDS Activity”.  

Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate.

“What we found is that, in 2016, those promoting an anti-Zionist agenda on campus have become significantly more brazen in both their strategy and their tactics, and this has translated into a disturbing increase in conduct that targets Jewish students for harm, including harassment, intimidation, discrimination and suppression of speech and assembly. The phenomenon also illuminates the true goals of anti-Zionist activity.” 


BDS affiliated Super UW is associated with the radical group, Students for Justice in Palestine. Photo Credit: TMR.

Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers told The Mike Report that “Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students.”  Added Beckwith, “Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate.  The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred.”

Concluded the report; “Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled.  To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.”