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Thursday, Nov. 30
The Indiana Daily Student

student life

IU professor comments on modern antisemitism at universities during panel


More than 100 people attended a webinar discussing modern antisemitism on college campuses Monday evening. 

The webinar was led by Ayal Feinberg, associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Gunther Jikeli, a professor in the Jewish Studies program and the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at IU. 

Universities generally fail to protect their Jewish communities, Feinberg said.

Over 18% of hate crimes reported on college campuses in the U.S. are done against Jewish individuals and institutions, Feinburg said. 

Feinburg called for more funding for research into modern antisemitism on college campuses. 

In 2020, IU had the ninth-highest population of Jewish students of American universities according to Hillel International, a U.S.-based Jewish organization. 

There have been multiple reports of antisemitic acts on IU’s campus, including early this semester when a mezuzah was torn down from a Jewish student’s dorm room door in an IU residence hall. Mezuzahs are important Jewish symbols placed on doors of living spaces. One of the most important Jewish prayers is placed inside the mezuzah.

“The vast majority of hate crimes targeting Jews target them not as individuals but as institutions,” Feinburg said. 

The presence of Jewish institutions on campus increases the amount of hate crimes according to Feinburg’s research. 

Interim Provost and Executive Vice President John Applegate released a statement Oct. 29 condemning acts of antisemitism and islamophobia. 

“When one part of our IU community is targeted with hate, we all feel it,” Applegate said.

Antisemitism was reported at multiple universities in the last three years. In October, someone dumped detergent over a Torah, the Jewish holy text, at a fraternity house at George Washington University. Last year, the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center was the victim of an arson attack. In 2018, an office belonging to a Jewish professor at Columbia University was vandalized with swastikas

Over 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes in 2019 occurred against Jewish people, according to the FBI. 

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