Israel and the Campus: The Real Story

By Jeff Dawson, Mitchell Bard

American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, Fall 2012

The college campus has long been the one place where anti-Israel activity and anti-Semitism have been tolerated. Some have argued that there is a well-funded and organized network promoting the delegitimization of Israel. The evidence we have found, however, is that this is not true. Two groups are responsible for most of the anti-Israel activity -- the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Unlike pro-Israel groups, most anti-Israel groups are student-led with little or no professional assistance. Still, at least one anti-Israel student group has a presence at approximately 330 universities out of roughly 4,000 in the U.S.

We tracked 674 unique anti-Israel events at no fewer than 108 universities in the United States (and 25 universities in Canada). These incidents were confined to fewer than 3% of all U.S. colleges and most took place during a two-month period when 49 American campuses held Israel hate fests. For most of the year, few campuses had any anti-Israel activity.

Rather than weaken the relationship between U.S. colleges and Israel, the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement, has largely backfired and ties are stronger than ever and continue to grow.

A shocking percentage of Jewish students report experiencing anti-Semitism on campus. Still, we see no evidence that Jewish students are afraid or that any campuses are hotbeds of anti-Semitism. The most serious problem on campus is not from student activities, but from faculty.

This report concludes with a series of recommendations for pre-collegiate education, for the promotion of Israel Studies, for continued monitoring and research, for improvements to Birthright Israel, for holding universities accountable, and other steps to create a climate on campus where Jewish students feel comfortable and the discussion of Israel is civil, fair and incorporates rigorous scholarship.

Topic: College Organizations, Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Anti-Israel Sentiment, Higher Education, University Organizations, Campus Organizations

Coverage: North America

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Dawson, Jeff. Bard, Mitchell. Israel and the Campus: The Real Story. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Fall 2012:


» View Publication

Bookmark and Share