In 2022, ADL tabulated 3,697 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 36% increase from the 2,717 incidents tabulated in 2021 and the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. This is the third time in the past five years that the year-end total has been the highest number ever recorded. ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022
After the Holocaust, the mantra both here and abroad was “never again.” As in, never again would we allow the mass destruction of the Jewish people. But apparently, the “never again” did not extend to Jewish hatred, harassment, vandalism, and violence.
According to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2022 (which only covers last year, not the violence since October 7 of this year), incidents against Jews are up 36%. In one year. And this is not a one-off, as there have been three record-breaking years in the last five. That is chilling.
What the heck is going on here?
This is insane. Granted, the Jewish people have been discriminated against since at least the Middle Ages, with tropes like “Jews are all rich,” “stingy,” or blaming them for killing Jesus Christ. But after they were nearly exterminated, it seemed like people started to get a wake-up call, but apparently it was just lip service and not real.
I’ve been working on this post for over a week, feeling bad that I have not finished and published it. But new information keeps coming to me that, I think, should be included. In trying to pinpoint part of the problem, I have come across what is going on in higher education.
If you have been following this story in the news, you probably saw that several Ivy League campuses had Pro-Palestinian rallies. This would not be a problem if they were merely protesting the fact that ordinary Palestinian citizens have been victims of the Israel-Hamas war too. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as Jewish students have been impeded, pushed, and screamed at by protesters, and one of those protesters is the Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
College campuses have become a toxic wasteland for free expression and the exchange of ideas, which is supposed to be two of their purposes. On Wednesday, the Presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT were called to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce about antisemitism on their campuses and what they are doing about it. When the President of Harvard was asked if calling for the mass destruction of the Jews violated anti-bullying policies, her answer was: “It depends on the context.” So basically, “no”, it doesn’t violate their policies. She later tried to clarify her statement. But there is no positive context for calling for the genocide of anyone. Jew, Palestinian, or anyone else.
As a result of this hatred, Jewish students are skipping classes, and Jewish high schoolers are seeking alternatives to prestigious schools. Translation: Jews are being pushed out of academic opportunity.
And the problem isn’t just in the Ivy League. Back in November, two professors from Arizona State University published an article saying that free speech shouldn’t be on college campuses because it harms academic freedom, that people who aren’t academic experts shouldn’t give their opinions and should just listen to these experts, and that free speech is a right-wing plot. These professors represent the same people who allow antisemitism and hatred to fester on our campuses. Their ideas would be laughable if they weren’t so embarrassing.
Freedom comes with responsibility, and we all need to take it
The freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights are the bedrock foundation of our society, but they are not absolute. Just like we don’t allow civilians to carry automatic machine guns and stinger missiles in the trunks of their cars, free speech has some limits. Complete “inclusivity” sounds great in theory, but at the end of the day, if you allow for anything without protecting minority rights, then the minority gets overrun. Jews represent 2.4% of our population but account for about 60% of hate crimes.
If our colleges and universities teach and impart knowledge to our future generations, we must hold them accountable for doing so responsibly. Administrators need to protect the rights of students to express themselves without violating the rights of others. If they can’t or won’t, then either it’s time for a change in leadership, or it’s time for the schools to go.