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Anti-Semitism on campus is prevalent at colleges with significant undergraduate Jewish populations and is linked to the presence of “anti-Zionist activities,” including student and faculty support for an academic boycott of Israel, according to a new study from AMCHA Initiative, a pro-Israel group that has frequently criticized the boycott movement.
The study finds instances of anti-Semitic expression, as defined by the U.S. Department of State, to be highly likely on campuses where students, faculty or groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine support or promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions (or BDS) movement against Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine did not respond to emailed requests for comment. But a spokeswoman for Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the boycott movement, said that, among other flaws, relying on the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism is misguided because it is too vague. And, she added, “the false conflation of BDS activity and SJP with anti-Semitism erases the many Jewish students who are leading campaigns on many campuses … There are hundreds of Jewish students involved in SJP and JVP chapters on campuses across the country.”
Matthew Berger, spokesperson for Hillel International, said in a statement sent to Inside Higher Ed, “We know from our experience on campus that BDS votes are often followed by anti-Semitic incidents. The BDS movement pollutes the campus environment and threatens Jewish life on campus.”