Press Release

ADL Voices Concern About Increase in Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Activity on Campus

New York, NY, May 29, 2015 … As the 2014-2015 academic year winds down, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported a marked increase in the number and intensity of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses.

During this academic year, ADL counted a total of 520 anti-Israel events on campus, representing a 38 percent increase compared to the previous academic year. Moreover, boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns were initiated on a total of 29 U.S. college campuses, nearly double the campaigns seen during the previous academic year.

“These incidents are troubling and are generating heightened concern in the Jewish community about the atmosphere on campus for Jewish students. While the vast majority of Jewish students report feeling safe on their campuses, the incidents reported at certain schools are disturbing and must be proactively addressed,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “The BDS campaigns and the protests against Israel have a limited impact generally, but individually some Jewish students have reported feeling harassed and intimidated. Students should not have to hide their Jewish identity to play a role in campus student life.”

In an op-ed published today in JTA, Mr. Foxman called for a comprehensive approach to fighting BDS on campus.

In response to the reported activity, ADL has been engaging directly with pro-Israel campus groups and students on campus via social media and recently launched an ADL on Campus Twitter account as a resource designed especially for Jewish students and student groups.

ADL had high demand during the academic year for its Words to Action program, which empowers Jewish students to respond effectively to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity. The League has delivered the program more than 72 times to more than 1,900 students across the country, and more trainings are scheduled.

A number of serious anti-Semitic incidents were reported during the 2014-2015 academic year.  Selected examples include:

  • In May, a student at Drexel returned to his residence hall to find a swastika and the word “JEW” taped next to his Israeli flag;
  • In April, a University of Missouri residence hall was vandalized with a swastika and the words, “You’ve been warned.”
  • In March, a UCLA student seeking a nomination to the student council’s judicial board was asked, “Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”