Antisemitism on US college campuses on the rise

Dear Parents:

As you may have seen, the appalling trend of an increase in anti-Semitism and hatred on college campuses was made public once more when our fraternity house at the University of California - Davis was spray painted with swastikas over the weekend. This came hours after our brothers at UC Davis were public in their support of Israel at a student senate meeting.

I want to reassure you that there is nothing more important to me and the volunteer alumni leadership at Alpha Epsilon Pi than your son's safety. We will not let those filled with hate intimidate our brothers on college campuses.

To that end, I want to let you know that Alpha Epsilon Pi International has entered into a relationship with a global security firm which specializes in protecting Jewish institutions so that we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of your son. We are also coordinating our efforts with the Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

AEPi is proud of our brothers and their decision to express their Jewish heritage and support for Israel. We will not let such disgusting activities intimidate our brothers or make them feel unsafe on their campus.

If you have any questions about your son's safety, please let me know.

Sincerely, Andrew S. Borans
Executive Director Alpha Epsilon Pi

Report: Anti-Semitism in US campuses on the rise

New reports indicate disconcerting rise in anti-Semitic incidents, anti-Israel activity in campuses across U.S., various European countries in 2014 • Prime Minister Netanyahu: World governments should be more vigilant in their approach to these incidents.

Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Tuesday, the government on Sunday was presented with a report about global anti-Semitism showing that anti-Israel activity increased in campuses across the U.S. in 2014. The report, composed with the cooperation of the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism, was presented by Economy and Trade and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett.

The report found that during July and August 2014, when Operation Protective Edge was being waged in the Gaza Strip, a 400 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents was registered from the same period in the previous year. The radical Right continues to be a major factor in anti-Semitic activity, but in the majority of the violent cases recorded, the perpetrators were of Arab or Muslim descent.

Furthermore, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League, since the Gaza campaign there has been a dramatic rise in student groups across U.S. campuses advocating Israel's delegitimization and international isolation. During the recent fall semester, the number of anti-Israel incidents across U.S. college campuses more than doubled to 75, compared to 35 in the previous year.

The report also said that the lines between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism are becoming blurred, particularly on social media websites. According to the report, "France is the toughest place in Europe for Jews to live in."

In response to the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Over the recent year, we have witnessed a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and a wave of anti-Semitism across large parts of the world, first and foremost in Europe. World governments should be more vigilant in their approach to these incidents."

President Reuven Rivlin, who is on his first official visit to the U.S., is scheduled address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, during a session marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, is also scheduled to address the U.N.

Rivlin, who visited the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, said, "I believe Jerusalem will serve as an example for coexistence between communities and religions. This is our path to freedom. A man cannot fight for his own freedom without fighting for the freedom of others."

Meanwhile, a delegation of 37 survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp is scheduled to travel to Poland on Monday, to participate in the international ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation. The delegation was organized by the World Jewish Congress and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors. The trip was organized by the WJC, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, and the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will participate in the ceremony, alongside many other world leaders.

"The moment when the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was liberated, exposing one of the most atrocious acts that have ever taken place in human history, is perhaps the most prominent image of World War II in collective memory," WJC President Ronald Lauder said. 

Colette Avital, head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, said, "In light of recent anti-Semitic events, there is a great temptation to declare a 'second Holocaust.' It is true that anti-Semitism is rising, but it is a part of radical Islam's wider worldview. The situation in Europe today is different."