Wellesley College students fear rise in anti-Semitism after Jewish staffers’ firings

Wellesley College. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Jewish students at Wellesley College, a Boston-area school for women, fear that anti-Semitism is growing on campus following what they call the school administration’s lax response to the anti-Israel activities of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as well as its decision fire the school’s Hillel director and Jewish chaplain.

“I firmly believe this college is becoming increasingly anti-Semitic,” Jordan Hannink, a junior at Wellesley, told Haaretz

Several posters have been plastered on walls around the campus “with images of Palestinian children who were killed or wounded during the Gaza war.” Another poster in the student center asks, “What does Zionism mean to you?” Responses to that question that were subsequently written on the poster include “genocide,” “apartheid,” and “murder,” according to Haaretz.

Jewish students said they had turned to the school’s Hillel branch for support in their fight against campus anti-Zionism, but that those efforts were undermined by the school’s decision to fire Hillel director Patti Scheinman and Jewish chaplain David Bernat. School officials cited “restructuring” as the reason for the firings.

Wellesley Jewish students said the abrupt firings made them feel “like we just lost our support system and are on our own,” one student told Haaretz. Additionally, efforts by Jewish students to have dialogue with SJP were scuttled by SJP’s refusal to engage Jewish students, due to the anti-Israel’s groups policy of “anti-normalization” of Jewish and pro-Israel groups.

Posted on November 21, 2014 .