August 2017 -- Av-Elul 5777,  Volume 23, Issue 8

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Rabbi Shalom Baum

RCA Urges University Leaders to Battle Campus Anti-Semitism

Addressing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents on US and Canadian campuses, the 1000 members of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) recently issued a resolution calling upon the leaders of universities and colleges to take action against campus organizations engaging in such activities.

 

The resolution, “Anti-Semitic Intimidation on North American College and University Campuses,” notes that Jews remain the primary victims of religiously-motivated hate crimes, with anti-Israel campus agitation a primary cause of these attacks, which have occurred at UCLA, Oberlin College, CUNY, and numerous other prominent campuses. “Israel Apartheid Week” events, “die-in”s, mock evictions, and abuse of pro-Israel or Israeli students and speakers are outrageous examples of such agitation, where potentially legitimate criticism of Israel regularly crosses the line into vile anti-Semitism.

 

Freedom of speech does not require an institution to welcome, tolerate, or provide any type of financial or organizational support for individuals and organizations whose speech and behavior defame others and disrupt their freedom of expression, which advocate or intimidate others with physical violence against others, or which receive money from federally recognized terrorist organizations.

 

The professional and lay leadership of North American colleges and universities must be at the forefront of preventing these and similar activities on the campuses for which they are responsible. The RCA membership applauds those who actively fulfill the above duties towards Jewish and pro-Israel students and organizations on their campuses - while at the same time urging far stronger policies on the many campuses where these problems remain a significant issue.

 

The Rabbinical Council of America, with national headquarters in New York City, is a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States of America, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Membership is comprised of duly ordained Orthodox Rabbis who serve in positions of the congregational rabbinate, Jewish education, chaplaincies, and other allied fields of Jewish communal work.