Report says Harvard university ranks top for campus antisemitism

A study by the Amcha initiative said there were more incidents of antisemitism than at any other college


CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 08: A view of the campus of Harvard University on July 08, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have sued the Trump administration for its decision to strip international college students of their visas if all of their courses are held online. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A new report shows that Harvard University ranked top in three measures of campus antisemitism amongst hundreds of colleges across America.

According to the AMCHA Initiative, an organisation that documents and investigates antisemitism on US college campuses, Harvard University had more incidents of antisemitism in each of its three categories of antisemitism than any other school in 2021-2022.

AMCHA’s three categories of antisemitism are the “denigration” of Jewish students, Jews feeling like they have to “suppress” their identity, and Jews having to “redefine” their Jewish identity to make it acceptable (for example, stipulating that they may not be pro-Israel).

There were 254 incidents that fit at least one of these categories at 63 of the 109 schools most popular with Jewish students. Harvard alone had 25 incidents.

According to the report, redefinition and denigration were most likely to take place on campuses with five or more faculty members supportive of academically boycotting Israel, while suppression was more likely on campuses with “one or more anti-Zionist student groups.”

Some examples of antisemitism on Harvard campus was the tearing down of Harvard Hillel posters across campus, anti-Israel stickers being attached to tubs of Sabra hummus in the dining halls, and anti-Harvard College Israel Trek posters appearing.

There had also been coordinated attempts at suppressing and disrupting speeches that present Israel’s point of view.

Further, a swastika was found in an undergraduate dorm, the school paper endorsed the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and Harvard’s Palestine Solidarity Committee put up a wall with Holocaust imagery and antisemitic statements.

Ira Stoll, a graduate of the ivy-league school and who has worked at the university for more than 30 years, said: “the level of antisemitism on campus over the past year is shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful—like nothing I’ve seen before.”

In the 1990s Harvard’s student body was said to be nearly a quarter Jewish, and were warmly welcomed. Now however, those identifying as Jewish in Harvard’s 2023 class is only 5.3%.

Between June 2021 and June 2022, Harvard saw the highest number of threats to students’ Jewish identity with 25 incidents, followed by the University of Chicago with 13. UCLA had 10 incidents, Brown University had 9, and Columbia had 8.

Incidents involving attacks on Jewish identity of every kind rose dramatically in the academic year following the 2021 Israel-Hamas war. 

A comparison of the ten-month period before the onset of the conflict, and the first ten months of the 2021-2022 academic year found a 100% increase in overall threats to Jewish identity, from 114 incidents to 228. In addition, the total number of schools with overall threats to Jewish identity rose from 41 to 58.

Harvard Public Affairs & Communications and President Lawrence Bacow did not respond to requests for comment from Algemeiner.

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