A recent article by Columbia Professor Joseph Massad claims that describing Israel as a Jewish state is itself anti-Semitic, and that a method for preventing anti-Semitism is to sever the association between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry. In response to the article, ADL New York / New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein issued the following statement:
ADL considers denying the Jewish character of the State of Israel to be anti-Semitic, as it undermines the right to self-determination to the Jewish people.
While not all American Jews consider Israel or Zionism to be part of their identity, a vast majority do. Demonizing Zionism or disrespecting this segment of American Jewry because of their ethnic, familial, social or religious connections with Israel is anti-Semitic. No student should be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome due to part of their identity, and we urge Columbia University to ensure that respectful dialogue and inclusivity are maintained on campus. We hope that all classes at Columbia, including those taught by Professor Massad, remain open and safe places for the free exchange of ideas.