HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The Algemeiner: How Jew-Hatred Hides Behind A Mask Of Anti-Zionism

May 17, 2024

On May 16, 2024, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Madison Johnson, was published in the Algemeiner, about how universities have witnessed a drastic spike in antisemitism, often masquerading as anti-Zionism. Decades of insipid lies have slanted and distorted views about the State of Israel, with criticism often motivated by anti-Zionism and the denial of the right of Jews to live in their ancestral homeland.

Universities are supposed to be safe spaces that commemorate diversity, individuality, thought, and culture; but the increasing antisemitic rhetoric, masquerading under the guise of ‘anti-Zionism’ on college campuses, is making Jewish students feel unsafe.


How Jew-Hatred Hides Behind A Mask Of Anti-Zionism

By: Madison Johnson

On February 2, 2024, a student came across a public memorial shrine at the Toronto Metropolitan University campus that falsely accused Israel of genocide.

One sign, meant to honor a Palestinian journalist, read in big black letters: “Call it what it is. GENOCIDE”.

But there is no genocide taking place in Gaza — not by a long shot. Israel is taking steps unprecedented in the history of warfare to minimize civilian casualties, including actively providing warning in advance, sending troops into danger to avoid civilian casualties, and more — even as Israel faces Hamas, a jihadist terrorist organization that uses its own people as human shields and targets Israeli civilians.

Unfortunately, in this war, truth has taken a backseat to ideology.

After a few hours, the signs and the shrine were taken down by campus security, but it represented a microcosm of just how much pro-Palestinian messaging is actually anti-Israel propaganda.

Numerous students have printed out “Bring Them Home” posters for the Israeli hostages, only to see them ripped down and replaced by stickers that say “End Israeli Apartheid, Free Palestine.” Aside from the fact that Israel isn’t an apartheid state, this shows that many “pro-Palestinian” students refuse to acknowledge the humanity of Israelis at all.

In the eyes of some, Israelis are no longer human — even those being kept in the hellhole dungeons of Hamas, guilty of no crime besides being Jewish. These actions are not driven by criticism of Israel, but by opposition to seeing Jews as people at all.

Like many universities, Toronto Metropolitan University is a reflection of the multicultural, diverse Canadian society, but this diversity does not ensure freedom from discrimination or prejudice, nor has it created a marketplace of ideas.

Toronto Metropolitan University has witnessed a spike in antisemitism, often masquerading as anti-Zionism, due to the current political atmosphere in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Decades of insipid lies have slanted and distorted views about the State of Israel. The criticism of policies from the Israeli government is often motivated by — or turns into — anti-Zionism, and the denial of the right of Jews to live in their ancestral homeland.

Additionally, the increase of social media and Internet platforms has made the spread of hate and lies much more successful. At Toronto Metropolitan University, stances, attitudes and perceptions of students and faculty have been influenced by this online extremism, and have led to hostile, dangerous action.

Universities are supposed to be safe spaces that commemorate diversity, individuality, thought, and culture; but the vast amount of antisemitism and attacks on Jews are making college campuses an unsafe space for Jews.

Those who strive to create inclusive societies and safe spaces must take an active role against antisemitic views and actions. Students who support social equality and basic human rights must understand how significant it is to advocate against antisemitism, and to support equality and pride for all people.

Antisemitism begins with the Jews, but rarely ends with them. The hateful and intolerant ideology of Hamas, like ISIS, targets anyone — even Muslims — who refuse to fall into line.

By taking a stand, students have the opportunity to show their support for the Jewish community and their devotion to combating prejudice in all its forms. For those truly committed to social justice, the responsibility lies in fostering an environment where truth, dialogue, and mutual respect prevail over misinformation, shutting down ideas, and bigotry. This is what leads to a truly inclusive academic community. Only collective effort and vigilance can help Toronto Metropolitan University become a model of unity and acceptance for all.

Madison Johnson is a social work student at Toronto Metropolitan University and a campus media fellow with HonestReporting Canada and Allied Voices for Israel.

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