The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) movement has insinuated itself into every elite college and university, as well as most corporate HR departments, promising a more just society. After a month in which virulent and racist anti-Israel protests have roiled elite college campuses and several U.S. cities, now is the time for everyone to acknowledge that DEI has failed America and America’s Jews.
DEI has failed America by demanding everyone stand with anti-racists and then marching shoulder-to-shoulder with antisemites.
DEI has failed America by demanding safe spaces from words they deem “violent” while proclaiming solidarity with those who condone actual violence by chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “one solution, intifada” or by carrying placards that call for the world to be cleansed of Jews.
DEI has failed America by demanding inclusive environments and then excluding Jews, who comprise only 2.4% of the U.S. population but are victims of more than 50% of religious hate crimes.
DEI has failed America by allowing anti-Israel hate to increase in depth and breadth over the past several decades. Speakers devoted to supporting Hamas, destroying Israel and promoting antisemitism have been regularly hosted by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an ally of those promoting DEI on hundreds of U.S. college campuses.
SJP chapters at Emory, Florida Atlantic University, Northeastern, New York University, Vassar, and dozens of other campuses have been criticized but rarely held accountable for such “activism” as posting eviction notices on Jewish students’ dorms and using antisemitic artwork to advertise events.
According to the ADL, SJP disseminates “anti-Israel propaganda often laced with inflammatory and at times combative rhetoric. They are a leading organizer of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel and specialize in using confrontational tactics such as disrupting student-run pro-Israel events and constructing mock ‘apartheid walls.’”
SJP “also regularly demonizes Jewish students who identify as Zionists or proud supporters of the State of Israel.”
One of SJP’s leading provocateurs is Mohamed el-Kurd, an anti-Israel activist who speaks regularly for SJP across the country. Where he speaks, fears of antisemitism increase. Freedom of speech laws protect el-Kurd’s borderline incitement, but they should not be permitted to conceal his cooperation with DEI activists to launder and mainstream his antisemitic ideology.
In 2020, Jewish students sued NYU for creating an environment in which Jew-hatred could flourish. NYU ended up settling the case.
What had NYU done to warrant this lawsuit? It bestowed its highest humanitarian award, the President’s Service Award, on SJP. In exchange for demonizing and harassing Jewish and pro-Israel students, NYU’s administration rewarded SJP for supposedly having “an extraordinary and positive impact on the university community.”
College administrations have long turned a blind eye to the warnings expressed by Jewish students and watchdog groups like StopAntisemitism.org and the ADL.
Antisemitism, as reported by the ADL, had already reached unsettling levels before Hamas’s ghastly Oct. 7 slaughter of innocent Israeli civilians. Since that attack, antisemitism in the U.S. has reached levels not seen since the Holocaust—up over 400% since this time last year.
How can college administrations, especially those at the Ivy League schools that typically have high Jewish student populations, ignore the unsettling trends taking place right in front of their noses?
No one should assume that these universities do not care about their Jewish students. They probably do. Sadly, their failure to heed the warning signs and plan for the inevitable has left their Jewish students as vulnerable as they would have been had these universities not cared at all.
These universities’ anti-Israel and antisemitic “protestors” will soon be on their way to corporate America, in which DEI training is mandated for all employees. It is time for every CEO in the country to acknowledge that DEI has failed their Jewish employees. DEI has failed America. It will fail you if you do not take an active role in changing DEI education.
Diversity, equality and inclusion are noble pursuits, but not if they come at the expense of Jews and only if they work to everyone’s benefit.