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ADL Reports Dramatic Rise in Anti-Israel Activity on U.S. Campuses This Fall

  • October 27, 2014

New York, NY, October 27, 2014 … In the wake of Israel’s Gaza operation this summer, student groups seeking to isolate and delegitimize Israel have dramatically stepped up their activity on college and university campuses, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The fall semester has seen a doubling in the number of anti-Israel events taking place on U.S. college campuses, according to ADL’s online report, Anti-Israel Activity on Campus after Operation Protective Edge.

So far this semester, more than 75 anti-Israel events have been reported on U.S campuses, compared with 35 events taking place during the same period in fall 2013.

“There has been a dramatic increase in anti-Israel activity reported on campus. But while the activity is intensifying, it is still not widespread,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “As of now the vast majority of Jewish students on campus are not effected and do not encounter these events.”

Anti-Israel student groups are known for using confrontational tactics, such as staging “die-ins,” constructing “apartheid walls” on campus, and distributing mock eviction notices in dorms. Their false claims of Israeli ethnic cleaning, genocide and war crimes are rarely, if ever, balanced with an acknowledgement of Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians or recognition of Israel’s continual efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

According to ADL data, student groups have become increasingly active and effective in recent years, disrupting campus life with confrontational tactics and rhetoric that has often led to administration intervention:

  • Student groups hosted at least 374 anti-Israel events during the 2013-2014 academic year;
  • About 40 percent of those events promoted boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel;
  • Over the past two academic years at least 57 events were sponsored by university academic departments, with many if not most presenting an extremely one-sided view of the conflict;
  • In the 2013-14 academic year, anti-Israel student groups submitted divestment resolutions to their student governments at 15 colleges, representing an 87 percent increase in the number of divestment resolutions compared with the 2012-13 academic year;
  •  Confrontational actions were reported on 15 campuses in 2013-14, including mock “checkpoints” or mock “apartheid walls,” leaving some students on those campuses feeling harassed or intimidated. Mock eviction notices were distributed to students on eight campuses;
  • In 2013-14, both the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association voted in favor of resolutions calling for a boycott of Israel. More than 200 university presidents issued public statements denouncing those measures after they passed;
  • At least 30 anti-Israel demonstrations in the U.S. during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge this past summer were sponsored or co-sponsored by pro-Palestinian student groups.

ADL’s report also cited several instances during the current semester where anti-Israel sentiment crossed the line into anti-Semitism, including fliers at the University of California, Santa Barbara depicting the Twin Towers and a Star of David and alleging that the 9/11 attacks was “an outside job” and “9/11 was Mossad.”

The fall semester began with a high-profile example of BDS advocacy when the Student Senate president at Ohio University dumped a bucket of “blood” over her head to supposedly represent the blood of Palestinians killed by Israel.

“While anti-Israel activity is certainly a challenge many students encounter on campus, it must also be noted that for the most part, Jewish and pro-Israel students do not feel unsafe or insecure on their campuses,” the ADL report said. “Furthermore, while anti-Semitism does occur too often at colleges throughout the country, generally respect is the norm, and anti-Jewish bigotry is not openly tolerated.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.  Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY