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Penetrating the Campus

PENETRATING THE CAMPUS: Understanding How Anti-Western Biases Relate to Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism

Aryeh Weinberg, Institute for Jewish & Community Research, May 2012

This is report by Institute for Jewish & Community Research provides an exploratory look at the relationship between critical views of the West and negative views of Jews and Israel. The findings reveal consistent and significant differences that shed light on the relationship between existing criticisms of America, capitalism and business, and rising anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views. In many ways, anti-Jewish rhetoric has moved away from the Jew as the subversive outsider and toward a vision of the Jew as the oppressive insider.

The presence and acceptance of bias within higher education opens the door to the introduction of more nefarious prejudice. Anti-American, anticapitalist and anti-business attitudes do not represent bigotry per se, but they do represent a level of tolerance for simplistic scapegoating that can morph into more dangerous forms. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism have gained access to the campus, in part, through exploiting this weakness.

More extensive and detailed analysis is needed to better understand the nature of the relationship between anti-Western attitudes and both anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. This effort is needed not simply to defend the Jewish community, but rather to support the core ideals of the university. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are symptoms of a deeper malaise afflicting the university and the implications range well beyond the Jewish community. Making this case to the wider American population is an essential part of reversing the trajectory of the campus and re-instituting the social norms against anti-Semitism.

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