Standing Up to Antisemitism on College Campuses and in Communities Across the Country

January 2024

Combating Antisemitism

In the face of a dangerous 388 percent spike in US antisemitic incidents following Hamas’s brutal attack against Israel on October 7, 2023, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., reaffirms its commitment to counter antisemitism on college campuses, online, in our communities and around the world through empowerment and education.

Many instances of antisemitism are now masked as anti-Zionism. Historic antisemitic tropes and themes are embedded in the rhetoric used to demonize Israel, delegitimize indigenous Jewish connections to the land of Israel and deny the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The “Zionist” label is purposefully and manipulatively used in place of “Jewish person” — especially online — to avoid censorship and other repercussions. Anti-Zionism villainizes Jewish and non-Jewish individuals who believe Israel has a right to exist, normalizes antisemitism and encourages further violence and hatred. Hadassah reaffirms its call for governments, agencies and organizations to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including 11 specific examples, as a tool to help identify and name hatred and bigotry against the Jewish community in all its forms.

College campuses have become hotbeds of hateful rhetoric, where antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories are voiced in student and classroom interactions. Jewish students, faculty and staff are being targeted and shut out of campus activities. Despite the numerous resources that have been put forward for supporting Jewish students and addressing antisemitism on campus, many leaders and institutions failed to respond appropriately and have publicly justified their decision not to protect Jewish students from discrimination and harassment.

Hadassah proudly supported the introduction of the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism in 2023 and has advocated throughout the year for the implementation of actions outlined within the strategy to combat growing hatred. As we stand up to the dangerous spike in antisemitism, Hadassah will continue to empower our members and supporters to take pride in their identities, speak out against hatred and demand accountability and action from leadership across all sectors.

Hadassah calls on leaders — especially in government and education — to fervently fight antisemitism, including by:

  • Rejecting and denouncing growing antisemitism on college campuses, online and in our communities; raising awareness about antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism and working to ensure antisemitism does not become normalized.
  • Taking steps to protect Jewish and Zionist students, including swiftly addressing threats of violence and other forms of intimidation directed at these students, increasing institutional support and government funding to educate school officials about antisemitism and promoting collaboration with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate and rectify issues of harassment and discrimination.
  • Recognizing and adopting the IHRA definition as the only widely accepted tool to identify and address antisemitism in all its forms.
  • Supporting the continued implementation of the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism across all agencies and sectors.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.