The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor | Congressional hearing on anti-Semitism has implications on campus

By Elan Karoll

Congress recently explored solutions to an issue that has been front and center at the University: rising campus anti-Semitism.

A House of Representatives hearing on Nov. 7  featured a panel of experts, Jewish community leaders and academics discussing this important topic. Many speakers advocated for House passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which passed the Senate in December 2016. This legislation would instruct the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to take action against campus intolerance. Recommended actions include adopting the rigorous State Department definition of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S. have surged over 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Watchdog group AMCHA Initiative recently reported a 40 percent increase of anti-Semitism on college campuses.

These findings are alarming, but not surprising. Sadly, we have experienced this rise in anti-Semitism on our own campus. The Illini Chabad menorah was vandalized on Oct. 27; the fourth act of vandalism against it in two years. As a symbol of Jewish heritage, and an important landmark in our community, this malicious act left many Jewish students feeling shaken and afraid.

Only days later, a student burned an Israeli flag as part of a local demonstration. This was not only an attack on Israel, it was an attack on our campus’s Jewish community, which numbers 3,500 students. This intolerance cannot remain unaddressed. The University must ensure that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, are protected. We must work toward creating a campus environment where every student feels safe and welcome.

Congressional passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would make significant change for the betterment of Jewish students in Champaign-Urbana and across the country. Anti-Semitism, or any act of intolerance, should not be part of anyone’s college experience.

Elan is a junior in LAS. 

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  • Eitan Troyansky

    Thanks so much for writing this, Elan! It’s important that instances of anti-Semitism don’t go unnoticed on our campus.

    • Elan Karoll

      Thank you Eitan! We need to bring loud voices to these important issues.

  • Psalms 94:9 He who planteth the ear doth He not hear? He who formeth the eye doth He not see? 10 He who is instructing nations, Doth He not reprove? He who is teaching man knowledge [is] Jehovah.
    11 He knoweth the thoughts of man, that they [are] VANITY.

  • Psalms 110:1 The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord: `Sit at My right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’
    2 The rod of thy strength doth Jehovah send from ZION, Rule in the midst of thine enemies.
    3 Thy people [are] free-will gifts in the day of Thy strength, in the honours of holiness, From the womb, from the morning, Thou hast the dew of thy youth.
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    5 The Lord on thy right hand smote kings In the day of His anger.
    6 He doth judge among the nations, He hath completed the carcases, Hath smitten the head over the mighty earth.
    7 From a brook in the way he drinketh, Therefore he doth lift up the head!