(April 2, 2021 / JNS) The Academic Engagement Network (AEN) announces a new video, “Antisemitism in Our Midst,” which charts the history of anti-Semitism, from its ancient origins to its contemporary manifestations.
The video was created as part of the Antisemitism Education Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, which brings together campus stakeholders to inform about, discuss and develop the resources to respond to anti-Semitism. AEN is supporting the Antisemitism Education Initiative with a multi-year grant.
AEN executive director Miriam F. Elman notes the video’s potential to reach new audiences. “With heightened anxiety about anti-Semitism around the country and the disturbing trend of rising anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses, this educational resource couldn’t be better timed,” she says. “We are certain that university leaders, and especially diversity officials and staff, will find the film incredibly helpful in their efforts to promote the values of tolerance, inclusion and respect for Jewish and all students on their campuses.”
Professor of history and Jewish studies Ethan Katz, one of the initiators of the Antisemitism Education Initiative, says the film “is the product of more than a year of work to think through the most effective and fair-minded approaches to presenting anti-Semitism on college campuses, testing and retesting our ideas with administrators, colleagues, and finally, diverse groups of students. ‘Antisemitism in Our Midst’ offers clarity about historical and contemporary meanings of anti-Semitism, and a balanced approach to highly charged matters like Jews and race in America today, and the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism.”
Elman hopes the nuanced way in which the video approaches complex contemporary issues will lead to a deeper understanding of anti-Semitism among senior campus officials, especially those tasked with promoting diversity and inclusion.
“On campus, it’s critically important for administrators and faculty to teach students how to better distinguish between a robust and rigorous criticism of Israel and harassment, intimidation and discriminatory actions targeting Jews for their support of Israel and their Zionist beliefs and identities,” she says.
Naomi Mayor, director of the AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative, says the video will become part of AEN’s toolbox of resources as the organization furthers its mission to improve campus officials’ understanding of the intersecting forms of contemporary anti-Semitism, adding that “we look forward to sharing additional educational resources to accompany the video.”
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