My friends at the AMCHA Initiative have responded by thanking WWU President Bruce Shephard for this step.
CAMPUS ANTI-SEMITISM WATCHDOG GROUP COMMENDS WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY FOR FORMING A TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS ANTI-SEMITISM
Santa Cruz, CA, April 14, 2016 – Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and director, issued the following statement commending Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard for appointing a task force to address anti-Semitism on his campus:
“We appreciate President Shepard's formation of a task force to address anti-Semitism at Western Washington University. Frighteningly anti-Semitism on college campuses coast to coast is rising at an alarming rate and, for those of us monitoring it on a regular basis, it is often a direct result of contentious anti-Zionist activities on campus, particularly BDS. With the rise of the campus anti-Zionist movement has come a rise in anti-Semitism. While not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, much of the rhetoric these days includes classic, centuries-old anti-Semitic stereotypes that incite anti-Jewish bigotry on campus. The lines between appropriate debate and discourse have been blurred and more and more involve hate. Sadly, Jewish students are often caught in the crossfire, regardless of how they personally feel about Israel. In fact, just last month, the University of California acknowledged in its new Intolerance Policy that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism often go hand in hand. We commend President Shepard for recognizing this growing and serious problem and taking action to address it.”
Last year, after multiple incidents of anti-Semitism on many of its 10-campuses, the University of California formed a task force to address anti-Semitism. The task force developed a Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that condemned anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism. The policy was passed unanimously by the UC Board of Regents last month and acknowledges that “historic manifestations of anti-Semitism have changed and that expressions of anti-Semitism are more coded and difficult to identify. In particular, opposition to Zionism often is expressed in ways that are not simply statements of disagreement over politics and policy, but also assertions of prejudice and intolerance toward Jewish people and culture.”
AMCHA Initiative led the University of California effort on behalf of approximately 50 Jewish and education advocacy groups and thousands of California students, professors, parents and community members.
AMCHA Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating, monitoring and documenting anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America.