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Stanford University Report Exposes Widespread Campus Antisemitism

Task Force Findings Reveal Toxic Environment for Jewish and Israeli Students

Stanford University in California is facing intense scrutiny after a university-commissioned task force exposed pervasive antisemitism on campus following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The Subcommittee on Antisemitism and Anti-Israeli Bias released a 148-page report on Thursday, detailing a hostile environment for Jewish and Israeli students. The 12-member committee reported that since October, Jewish and Israeli students have faced exclusion and harassment on the Palo Alto campus.

“Some of this bias is expressed in overt and occasionally shocking ways,” the report stated, “but often it is wrapped in layers of subtlety and implication, one or two steps away from blatant hate speech.”

Instances of antisemitism were so severe that some Jewish students chose to leave their residence halls. Mezuzahs were ripped from doorposts, swastikas were found on doors, and residences were vandalized with phrases like “Free Palestine” and “F—k Zionism.”

In some cases, residential assistants (RAs) posted virulently antisemitic and anti-Israel content on social media, fostering a “culture of fear and suppression” for Jewish students. RAs have even encouraged students to join anti-Israel protests and encampments on campus.

Stanford faculty and staff have raised alarms about unchecked antisemitic rhetoric and behaviors. Although many faculty members support free speech rights for anti-Israel protesters, they have also expressed concern over the ease with which some community members engage in antisemitic rhetoric.

The report included allegations that a Stanford professor used “Zionist” as a euphemism for Israelis, an act described as hate speech. Jewish and Israeli faculty reported feeling alienated, especially after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, which left 1,200 people dead and over 250 taken hostage.

An unnamed Israeli professor noted the lack of condolences from colleagues following the attacks and the unsettling presence of pro-Hamas demonstrations on campus.

For several weeks beginning in April, anti-Israel activists set up a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on campus, demanding the university condemn and boycott Israel. Although the university did not negotiate with the demonstrators, Jewish faculty criticized the administration for its inadequate response to the antisemitic climate.

“The university’s silence suggests that Jews don’t count; the university leadership is cowardly,” a Stanford faculty member stated. “The university should take a stand, articulate its values, and enforce them consistently.”

The report also criticized Stanford’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives for largely excluding Jewish students and faculty. The committee suggested that Stanford reconsider its DEI programs, which they argue propagate oversimplified histories and ideologies without critical inquiry.

Matthew Wigler, co-president of the Stanford Jewish Law Students Association, highlighted that antisemitism has been an issue on campus for years. “Antisemitism was already deeply rooted on campus before Oct. 7,” Wigler told The Algemeiner.

He recalled incidents from his first year at Stanford in 2016 and noted that the problem has become more widespread following the October attacks. At a recent town hall addressing antisemitism, Jewish students were met with hostility, with some students yelling, “Go back to Brooklyn!” and denying the existence of antisemitism.

Stanford President Richard Saller established the Subcommittee on Antisemitism and Anti-Israeli Bias in November amid backlash over the increase in anti-Jewish incidents on campus. A teacher allegedly forced Jewish students to stand in a corner to mimic the Palestinian experience, and parties required students to say “F—k Israel” or “Free Palestine” for entry.

In response to the report, Stanford has taken stronger actions to combat antisemitism. Anti-Zionist protesters were recently charged with felony burglary for occupying President Saller’s office and were suspended from the university.

Stanford remains committed to ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all its students, taking decisive steps to address and eliminate antisemitism on campus.

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