By Abraham H. Miller, Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle
Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest hatred. Even today, the Uniform Crime Reports show that more than 60 percent of religious hate crimes are directed against Jews.
In contrast, Islamophobia, which has gotten a substantial amount of media attention, is a distant second, accounting for 14 percent of religion-inspired hate crimes.
Nowhere in America has the surge of anti-Semitism been as visible as on college campuses. To deal with the problem, the Amcha Initiative, an anti-Semitism watchdog group, has spearheaded an effort to get the University of California Board of Regents to adopt the U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism.
Criticism of Israel is protected speech, but a definition of anti-Semitism provides the teaching moment that universities are supposed to embrace. Universities capture such a moment when hate speech is directed at other groups. It should do so for Jewish students as well.
Typically perceived as the province of right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism has been taken over by the political left, whose vaunted concerns about sensitivity to ethnic and racial identity groups and gender orientations have been cast aside when it comes to Jews.