On Monday morning, some University professors were welcomed to school by anti-Semitic propaganda that had been slipped under their doors. The ridiculous canvassing occurred in the West Bank’s social sciences building and seemed to target professors who have Jewish-sounding last names.
That propaganda, largely an incoherent smattering of “cut-and-pastes” from other writings, “warned” of the allegedly disproportionate amount of power held by the Jewish community. It amounted to racism and baseless fear-mongering.
Still, it cannot be taken lightly, especially considering it was the second recent instance of anti-Semitism on campus. Two weeks ago, an anti-Semitic message was spray-painted on the informational panel of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi.
The effect it had personally on the recipients and the Jewish community is saddening. Like members of any demographic group who have been persecuted and discriminated against – in this case periodically, if not consistently, throughout history – people are rightfully disturbed and some might have found it painful and threatening.
Some might think the recent incidents are exceptions to the rule. First, they better be. Second, this makes them no less troubling. As Amy Olsen, director of Hillel, the Jewish student center on campus, noted, “Anti-Semitism is alive and well.” These events merely prove it is alive on our campus, which is sadly not surprising, given that a few years back nearby St. Cloud State University was found to have regularily discriminated against minority professors, including Jews.
Hopefully, authorities can ascertain who is behind this hate and take action. This is, however, unlikely. Even if the perpetrators are found, legal sanctions are difficult to obtain. Thus, the best the University community can do is speak up, condemn these recent events and demonstrate they are exceptions.
We’ll start. Anti-Semitism, like all hate, is pathetic and abhorrent. Jewish faculty, students and staff members are invaluable members of our community. Outside of their hard work and dynamic scholarship, they contribute to the diversity of our campus.