Wiesenthal Center Applauds Academics’ Initiative to Combat Campus Anti-Semitism

October 18, 2010

The Simon Wiesenthal Center applauds the recent statement by a group of distinguished scholars which details the scope of anti-Semitism on college campuses across North America and offers recommendations to university administrators, legislators, and government officials to combat the growing problem.

Entitled, “Contemporary Antisemitism in Higher Education: Manifestations, Sources, and Responses,” it was prepared by a group of distinguished scholars who gathered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC last summer.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a Jewish Studies lecturer at UC Santa Cruz who co-convened the scholarly workshop along with Kenneth L. Marcus, director of the anti-Semitism initiative at the Institute for Jewish Community Research, has worked closely with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in its ongoing efforts with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California’s higher education leadership to confront the growing problem of anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in California.

"One significant finding of our research was that university and government officials have failed to offer adequate protections to Jewish students, who report feeling physically unsafe, emotionally and intellectually harassed and intimidated by peers and professors, isolated from their fellow students, and unfairly treated by faculty and administrators," commented Rossman-Benjamin.

She added that in order to address this failure, the scholars' statement offers several recommendations, among them calls to university administrators to develop policies and practices on antisemitism, as well as to government officials to ensure that Jewish students are afforded the same protections as other minorities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that the Simon Wiesenthal Center “fully endorses the Scholars’ recommendations” noting that the Center continues to with university officials, law enforcement and elected officials, especially in the state-wide higher education systems, especially in California.

Rabbi Aron Hier, director of Campus Outreach for the SWC also praised the statement, saying that it would be “an extremely valuable resource for our outreach efforts to continue to aggressively combat the problem of campus
anti-Semitism.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.

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