Dear university president,
American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI) is a network of Christian leaders representing over 60 million Americans who are united in our support for Israel. We also value the safety, security, and contributions of our Jewish community members in the United States and around the world.
We write today to ask that you commit to combatting antisemitism on your campus and provide security for your Jewish students in light of the recent antisemitic actions seen on many college campuses in the wake of the Hamas attack against Israel.
While we seek and value peace amongst all people, we cannot ignore the brutal atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians. It was the worst pogrom against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The hostilities of these terror attacks by Hamas and its underlying antisemitism are not limited to the borders of Israel and are rapidly bleeding into our country and, unfortunately, onto our university and college campuses.
A lack of a counter-response will embolden not only hateful rhetoric but also acts of violence against Jewish people, including Jewish students on US college and university campuses—the places in which young learning minds should feel the most secure. Jewish students have been feeling hostility, discrimination, and bias for many years, but they now feel the need to censor their identities to avoid threats, intimidation, or attack.
The ACLI has been briefed by Jewish students in leadership positions on various campuses across the United States. They have relayed that since October 7, they have witnessed and experienced an increase in explicit hostility and threats from faculty, other students, and members of the public—either while on school grounds or within the communities of their schools’ locations. Chants including “Gas the Jews” and “Hamas, Hamas, Hamas,” as well as actual assaults, are being committed against young people in a period of mourning. This is the nightmare of any tuition-paying parent: their children are living and studying in a hostile environment and feel abandoned by their own institutions’ leaderships.
We implore you to not allow hate and hostility to be veiled in a defense of free speech on your campus. Please publicly and boldly convey to your Jewish students, parents, and communities a steadfast commitment to keep them safe, discipline those who espouse hate speech, and forbid the use of campus facilities (virtual or material) for hate speech and assemblies of any kind that glorify the horrors of Hamas’ terror reign in Israel or the calls for jihad now echoing around the world.
With this in mind we ask that your institution:
- Provide tangible security and safety measures for Jewish students—including swift action and discipline when antisemitism is manifested in any way.
- Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to guide your institution’s balance of thoughtful debate and analysis of issues in the Middle East for solutions and problem-solving rather than incitement. The IHRA definition says that “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
- Communicate to your entire academic community (and parents) that any forms of antisemitism espoused by faculty members, staff members, student groups, and students will be swiftly met with disciplinary actions.
- Make it known that campus facilities and resources may not be used for furthering any antisemitic or anti-Zionist notions, including the sentiments espoused by Hamas or its sympathizers.
- Prepare, publish, and communicate to your entire student body, and specifically the Jewish students, a security plan so that no student feels threatened, intimidated, or vulnerable to verbal or physical assault for being Jewish or displaying any indicators that may denote a religion or ethnic affiliation (for example, Star of David pendant, kippah, etc.).
- Offer mental health and other support services to students suffering from the trauma of the events from October 7, 2023. Many Jewish students have personal ties to victims, Israeli citizens, and security forces. As such, they are uniquely burdened by the events that have and will transpire as a result of October 7 and the coming necessary national response.
A legacy of damaged and traumatized students is surely not the goal of your prestigious and respected institution. Stand up for, beside, and behind your Jewish student population.
American Christian Leaders for Israel