Campus Pogoms

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part examination of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.

The Lawfare Project  has announced that “A group of San Francisco State University [SFSU] students and members of the local Jewish community [have] filed a lawsuit alleging that SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students. According to the suit, ‘SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.’ The plaintiffs are represented by a team of attorneys from The Lawfare Project and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.”

As the New York Analysis of Policy & Government reported in March, Anti-Semitism has become acceptable to the American Left.  Anti-Semitic incidents rose in 2015 by 3%, according to the Anti-Defamation League.  The organization’s 2016 statistics are also expected to be disturbing.

The legal action, according to the Lawfare Project, “comes at a crucial time for Jewish students across the United States…Anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities have been rising at exponential rates, doubling from 2014 to 2015 and increasing from 90 to 108-another 20 percent-from 2015 to 2016…According to the FBI hate crimes statistics from 2015 (the most recent year calculated), anti-Jewish incidents accounted for 57 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes.”

According to the Lawfare project, the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and also names as defendants the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong and several other University officials and employees. The suit alleges that “Jewish students at SFSU have been so intimidated and ostracized that they are afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus.”

The legal action was initiated in response the alleged complicity of senior university administrators in the disruption of an April, 2016, speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. The suit states that “At that event organized…Jewish students and audience members were subjected to genocidal and offensive chants and expletives by a raging mob that used bullhorns to intimidate and drown out the Mayor’s speech and physically threaten and intimidate members of the mostly-Jewish audience. At the same time, campus police – including the chief – stood by, on order from senior university administrators who instructed the police to ‘stand down’ despite direct and implicit threats and violations of university codes governing campus conduct.”

According to the legal papers filed, SFSU continues to affirm its preference for those targeting the Jewish community, according to the lawsuit, by claiming to handle such incidents successfully by removing the Jewish students from their lawful assembly without allowing them the opportunity to exercise their free speech rights.

Reportedly, no actions were taken by SFSU against the disruptive students, no disciplinary charges were ever filed, and no sanctions were ever imposed against the groups or students responsible for committing these acknowledged violations.

While that one incident sparked the lawsuit, the plaintiffs note that an ongoing atmosphere of intimidation exists at the campus. “SFSU has not merely fostered and embraced anti-Jewish hostility -it has systematically supported … student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education at SFSU.”

In a Lawfare press release, Amanda Berman, the organization’s Director of Legal Affairs, noted “Every couple of weeks, another anti-Semitic incident occurred; another Jewish student faced harassment or intimidation on campus…another openly degrading comment surfaced from a member of the administration; or another student faced recalcitrance when trying to benefit, the same as all other students, from the opportunities and privileges of enrollment at SFSU. These defendants seem to believe that they are above the law, that discrimination against Jews is entirely acceptable, and that their response to criticism must go only so far as to placate Jewish donors. It is time for profound institutional change at SFSU, and since the faculty and administration is entirely unwilling to pursue such a goal, Jewish victims of this pervasively hostile environment have been left with no choice but to ask a federal court to compel it.”

The Report concludes tomorrow.