Wiesenthal Center “Gravely Concerned” About University of Missouri’s Anti-Semitic Double Standard

May 4, 2016

“The perception now is that Mizzou is missing in action when it comes to defending the rights of the Jewish campus community,” wrote Center officials to University’s President

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) expressed concern that the University of Missouri allegedly plays down incidents of anti-Semitism on its campus. This comes following reports that a review of some 7,400 pages of University of Missouri correspondence sent last fall showing that the university downplayed these allegations even as it vocally responded to incidents reportedly targeting black and other minority students.

In a letter to the University’s President, Michael Middleton, Wiesenthal Center Executive Director Rabbi Meyer H. May and SWC Campus Outreach Director Aron Hier, cited an article in The Algemeiner, a Jewish daily, that said the University’s Peace Studies Department hosted four anti-Israel events in the last two years, including the co-sponsorship of a screening of “The Zionist Story”, a film described as “…the story of ethnic cleansing, colonialism and apartheid to produce a demographically Jewish State.” In introducing the film, the hosts of the screening called for the replacement of Israel as a Jewish state—a clear example of an anti-Israel expression that falls well within the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is a staunch defender of the First Amendment. Even hate speech is protected under the Constitution,” wrote Rabbi May and Aron Hier. “But Mizzou is a public university; the doctrine of government speech allows public officials to vociferously, repudiate any and all odious forms of hatred and anti-Semitism,” they added.

Rabbi May and Aron Hier wrote that officials at schools across the country, like the University of California and New York University, recently condemned all anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism on their campuses, but that, “…the perception now is that Mizzou is missing in action when it comes to defending the rights of the Jewish campus community.”

They concluded by writing, “We strongly urge you to join the swelling ranks of those American leaders and University presidents who make it unequivocally clear that anti-Semitism will not get a free pass on campus.”

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