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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The disturbing rise of antisemitism on college campuses

**Trigger Warning: This article contains discussions of hate crimes and antisemitism**

Ever since the horrific attacks that occurred in Israel on Oct. 7 at the hands of Hamas, protests have broken out across college campuses in support of both Israel and Palestine. However, there has been one stark difference in these types of protests. Israeli protestors are urging the antisemitic terrorist organization Hamas to free innocent civilians that they have taken as hostages, while protests that have been deemed pro-Palestine have quickly become filled with hateful antisemitic chants that call for the elimination of the existence of a Jewish state. Numerous individuals across the country, including on college campuses, have even torn down posters of kidnapped Hamas hostages, as reported by NBC news (1). The phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” has been chanted at numerous protests. The quote refers to the Jordan river in Israel, which runs through the entire country. It means that the entire country of Israel will be Palestine without the existence of any Jewish state—exactly what Hamas professes to believe in.

Ever since Oct. 7, antisemitic attacks in the United States have increased by a horrifying 388 percent, according to Reuters (2). We have seen many of these attacks happen, whether verbal or physical, throughout universities across the country. NBC News details an attack that occurred a month ago at UMass Amherst, where a Jewish student was physically assaulted by someone who was targeting him and the university’s Hillel group specifically because of their religious beliefs, and in opposition to their protesting of Hamas holding innocent people hostage (3). CBS News reports, a couple of weeks ago at Tufts University, Jewish students were blocked into their dorms by pro-Palestinian protestors; they were afraid to get food from the dining hall without being harassed by the protestors, who were chanting the harmful “from the river to the sea” slogan (4). At Cornell University that same week, a student was arrested for making threats against Jewish people online, in which he threatened to murder and sexually assault Jewish students on campus, according to CNN (5). And, just a week ago, two Jewish students at Ohio State University were physically assaulted for their religious beliefs, only two hours after the Jewish Student Center on their campus had been vandalized, reported by WBNS (6). A common theme among all these antisemitic attacks has been that the attacker was always someone who claimed to be a supporter of Palestine.  

What has taken place over the course of the last month and a half has been horrific to witness, and extraordinarily harmful for the Jewish community on American college campuses. The horrors of antisemitism should be fought at every turn. As college students, one of the ways that we can combat this type of hate as a community is by standing up against it whenever we see it happening in public. We can also do our own part to help combat antisemitism by giving back to local Jewish communities, and by taking part in movements that combat antisemitism. One of the biggest organizations that is working to combat antisemitism is in Foxborough, Mass. This organization, Stand Up to Jewish Hate, has worked tirelessly to spread the effort to help combat antisemitism around the world. If you would like to learn more about how to combat antisemitism, you can visit their website to learn more about how to get involved. 



(1) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/people-us-hang-posters-hamas-hostages-others-tear-rcna124241  

(2) https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-antisemitic-incidents-up-about-400-since-israel-hamas-war-began-report-says-2023-10-25/ 

(3) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/umass-amherst-student-arrested-punching-jewish-pupil-spitting-israeli-rcna123787 

(4) https://www.cbsnews.com/boston/news/tufts-pro-palestinian-protests-jewish-students-safety/ 

(5) https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/01/us/cornell-university-antisemitic-threat-suspect-wednesday/index.html 

(6) https://www.10tv.com/article/news/crime/university-police-investigating-2-incidents-targeting-jewish-community-ohio-state/530-89e11618-724b-41d3-84c7-c2879c362faa