Israel-Gaza War, Stanford, USA

Why it's downright scary to be a Jewish student at Stanford these days

Alarming surge in campus antisemitism unveiled at Stanford University.

High angle shot of Stanford University, California, America (Photo: Shutterstock / Top Photo Corporation)

A chilling new report from Stanford University has exposed a pervasive and deeply troubling rise in antisemitism on one of America's most prestigious campuses, raising concerns about the safety and well-being of Jewish students across U.S. higher education.

As reported by The Jewish Insider, the 148-page document, ominously titled "It's in the air," paints a disturbing picture of widespread hostility towards Jewish and Israeli students at Stanford. The report, compiled by a specially appointed committee, describes an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that has gripped the campus since October 2023.

Jewish students at Stanford have reportedly faced a barrage of harassment, from blatant acts of aggression to more subtle forms of exclusion. Incidents include mezuzahs being torn from doorways, students feeling compelled to hide their Jewish identity, and individuals facing ostracism simply for being Israeli.

One particularly shocking incident involved an instructor singling out Jewish students in class, simulating "what Jews were doing to Palestinians" by taking a student's belongings. This event, which also saw the instructor downplaying Holocaust deaths, sparked widespread controversy on campus.

The report highlights the insidious nature of much of the antisemitism, noting that it is often "wrapped in layers of subtlety and implication." Social media platforms, especially the anonymous app Fizz, have become hotbeds for unchecked antisemitic rhetoric.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the committee found that the most common form of antisemitism on campus was "the imposition of a unique social burden on Jewish students to openly denounce Israel and renounce any ties to it."

But leaders who tried to speak up were also disciplined, as evidenced by Stanford ousting its president after challenging the prevailing campus ideology, including by denouncing antisemitism.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that Stanford University's tolerance of antisemitism appears to stem from a fear of reprisal from leftist faculty. This reluctance is exemplified by the university's response to pro-Hamas chants on campus, where leaders issued a statement supporting "academic freedom," including the "expression of controversial and even offensive views."

Despite the alarming findings in Stanford University's report, it seems unlikely that substantial changes will occur to protect Jewish students. The deeply ingrained nature of these issues, coupled with the administration's hesitance to challenge prevalent campus ideologies, suggests that Jewish students may continue to face harassment and intimidation. Without decisive action and a clear commitment to addressing and eradicating antisemitism, the hostile environment is likely to persist, leaving Jewish students vulnerable and unsupported in their educational pursuits.

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