University staff responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion show anti-Israel bias
A recent heritage foundation to study found a strong anti-Israel bias in the social media posts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) officers at colleges and universities across the United States. These officials criticize Israel much more frequently and much more harshly than they do against China. Their posts about Israel outnumber those mentioning China by a factor of three, and almost all of their statements about Israel express condemnation, while nearly two-thirds of their comments about China are complimentary.
These disturbing results should come as no surprise. American campuses have become hotbeds of hostility to the State of Israel as well as the idea of the American exception, and in radical campus religion, far-left professors are priests and officers of the DEI are the choir.
This religion has its orthodoxies: America is systemically racist and defined by the perpetual struggle of the oppressed against the oppressors; “White privilege” – of which Jews should be exemplified – is a primary source of oppression, and intersectional status-based categories of victimization confer both justice and entitlement. In this neo-Marxist paradigm, there is no trace of irony when officials who are supposed to be dedicated to promoting “diversity” and “inclusion” instead promote hostility toward Israel or view it as abhorrent. idea that the supposedly privileged Jewish people have the right to national autonomy. determination in their former homeland.
Alas, this nonsense is not limited to classroom discussions or social media posts. DEI trainings have resulted in complaints of discrimination against Jews, and radicalized students indoctrinated in this ideology have made campus life increasingly unbearable for their Jewish and pro-Israel peers.
A recent survey students active in Jewish organizations on campus found that 65% felt unsafe on campus due to physical or verbal abuse. Half felt the need to conceal their Jewish identity or support for Israel for their safety. In response to the widespread harassment and discrimination against Jewish students, President Donald Trump issued a Executive Decree reiterating that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act protects Jews – like all other races, colors, national origins and ethnicities – from discrimination in taxpayer-funded universities.
The anti-Semitism that plagues many college campuses goes well beyond hate speech. Take the complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on behalf of Jewish students at University of Chicago Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He cited numerous instances of pervasive anti-Semitic activity on campus, including criminal activity such as robberies openly targeting Jews, automobile vandalism and other property damage. Universities have a legal and moral duty to prevent such crime and to respond when it occurs.
The toxic environment in universities is a global phenomenon. During his previous diplomatic role, one of the authors of the Heritage Foundation study represented the United States at meetings with European Jewish student leaders. Like those in North America, Jewish and pro-Israel students in Europe report a climate of open hostility on campuses – a climate so bad that in many cases they have had to conceal their identities.
From Berlin to Berkeley, many students feel they must buy their personal safety on campus at the cost of divorcing a key part of their Jewish identity, namely, a sense of Jewish identity and a connection to the Jewish homeland. . These students feel that the environment of their university is telling them: eradicate Israel and Zionism from your identity, and you will go safely to your campus; express otherwise at your own risk.
Forcing Jews to give up key aspects of their ethnic or religious identity is nothing new. In fact, it has a name: anti-Semitism. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expose this fundamental truth in the clearest terms. “Let me say officially,” he said, “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.” Pompeo too rightly recognized that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which plagues campuses and isolates Jewish students, is anti-Semitic.
Fortunately, our schools can take specific steps to correct course and restore sanity on campus.
First, universities and school districts should adopt the standard definition of anti-Semitism highlighted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This “working definition of anti-Semitism” was adopted and promoted by the Department of State through multiple jurisdictions and is used by other federal government agencies. He was also adopted globally, by thirty-five countries, more than 250 provinces and cities, and more than 350 educational institutions and other organizations. The IHRA’s working definition lists eleven “contemporary examples” of anti-Semitism. These capture both the traditional manifestations of Jew-hatred and the more modern targeting of Israel and Zionism.
The IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism is a tool for education, not censorship. Its adoption by universities and schools, and above all, its incorporation into education and training curricula, will promote understanding of hatred of Israel and other forms of anti-Semitism. By properly defining and acknowledging antisemitism, universities will also be better equipped to respond to antisemitic incidents.
Second, universities should drastically reduce the ever-growing crowd of DEI agents. A Heritage survey of sixty-five major universities found an average of forty-five DEI staff at each, including 163 at the University of Michigan. Overall, DEI staff outnumbered disability-focused staff (ADA compliance) by 4.2 to 1. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, DEI staff outnumbered disability-focused staff (ADA compliance). many than that focused on students with disabilities from 13.3 to 1. On average, universities employed 3.4 DEI staff members for every 100 tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Third, universities should strive – or be required by donors and alumni to strive – to achieve greater ideological balance in their faculty and programs. True “diversity” requires a diversity of backgrounds and points of view. Universities should also assess the current state of ideological bias within their faculty and programs. Across the United States, university curricula — especially in Middle Eastern studies departments — promote blatant anti-American and anti-Israel viewpoints, whitewashing terrorism and suppressing alternative views.
Fourth, universities should find ways to celebrate the contributions of the Jewish people, Jewish history, and the values of Judaism that have contributed so much to the United States and to civilization itself. Since 1980, every President of the United States has declared a time period to do just that. Each May is designated by the presidency as Jewish American Heritage Month, but unlike similar months dedicated to blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups, there is little programming, educational materials, or outreach. to American Jewish Heritage Month. At a time when American Jewish heritage is under attack, there is no excuse for neglect.
Let no one imagine that the indoctrination students receive on campus will not affect them when they enter the world of business, civil society, or government. A British MP who fled Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic Labor Party told one of the authors of the Heritage study that the Corbyn disaster happened on UK university campuses. Nothing was done, said the former Labor MP, as campus culture was dismissed as a student-only affair. When the disease crept into Labor it was again dismissed, this time as mere rantings from a far-left fringe. “At last,” said the deputy, “they have won; we lost and I no longer have a political party.
As Americans, our future depends on the steps we take to correct this today.
James Jay Carafano is Vice President of the Heritage Foundation.
Elan S. Carr is a former US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism and Visiting Scholar at Heritage.
Adam Milstein is the co-founder of the Israel-American Council, where he is a member of the board of directors and president emeritus.