WASHINGTON, June 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC joined with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a Capitol Hill briefing on “The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States and on College Campuses.”
Senator Gillibrand and AJC sought to raise consciousness about the problem, as a recent Pew poll showed that 22% of Jews aged 18-29 years reported being called offensive names during 2013, and an online research study carried out by Trinity College found that 54% of Jewish college students reported being subjected to, or witnessing, campus anti-Semitism over the previous six months.
“Some of the conversations on American campuses about Middle East politics have turned to actions that are blatantly anti-Semitic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “For anti-Semitism and such hateful behavior to go away, we all have a responsibility to raise our voices and call it out wherever it exists, whenever we see it. The only way we are going to win the war of ideas is with better, stronger ideas.”
The briefing on Tuesday featured presentations by AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs Richard Foltin; Frederick Schaffer, General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs of the City University of New York; and Lauren Rogers, a recent graduate of UCLA who, as a member of the school’s student council, had her right to vote challenged because she had visited Israel on an AJC Project Interchange educational seminar.
“More than 60 percent of victims of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. in 2013 were Jews,” said Foltin, citing FBI statistics. On campuses, “there is an intersection between BDS and anti-Semitism,” he said, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel. “We have too often seen BDS proponents resorting to anti-Semitic tropes directed at Israel, if not to actions and expressions directed at Jews.”
Combatting the rise of anti-Semitism is a priority for AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization. AJC convened a conference in Brussels in May on the issue and released an action plan under the title “A Defining Moment for Europe.”
AJC encouraged the formation in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bipartisan Task Force on Global Anti-Semitism. And, AJC has created a new full-time staff position dealing with campus affairs, with a focus on countering the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement on American college and university campuses across the country.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee