From Scholarship to Swastikas: Explaining Campus Antisemitic Events

“From Scholarship to Swastikas: Explaining Campus Antisemitic Events,” by AEN member Ayal Feinberg, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University–Commerce, is the second paper in AEN’s Research Paper Series.

Abstract

Disputes related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have erupted on American college campuses for the last two decades in the classroom and on the quad. Through large-N quantitative analyses of hate crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report and antisemitic bias-incident data from the AMCHA Initiative, this article provides needed clarity on why antisemitic events vary across American colleges and universities. Specifically, this article finds that Jews are more likely to be the victims of hate crimes at colleges and universities than other minority groups and are more likely to suffer bias incidents on campus than in other locations. In addition, the presence of Chabad chapters on campus significantly increases the likelihood of reported antisemitic bias-incidents. Furthermore, the presence of a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group on campus and Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) events at a university dramatically increase the number of antisemitic bias reports submitted.

Key Findings

  1. Jews are more likely to be the victims of hate crimes at colleges and universities than other minority groups. While hate crimes with anti-Black, anti-Asian, and anti-LGTBQ+ motivations are also significantly more likely to occur at American colleges and universities, antisemitic motivations increase the likelihood of the event taking place on campus more than any other target group.
  2. Jews are more likely to be the target of hate crimes on campuses than in other locations. With the exception of places of worship and unspecified locations, antisemitic hate crimes are significantly more likely to occur at American colleges and universities than other locations.
  3. Colleges and universities with an active Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter are significantly more likely to report antisemitic incidents. Specifically, campuses with an SJP chapter suffer 253% more incidents than campuses without one.
  4. The presence of a Chabad operating on campus results in 101% more antisemitic incidents, compared to campuses without a Chabad. The presence of an active Hillel does not appear to have a significant effect on antisemitic incident variation.
  5. Reported antisemitic incidents increase when a campus hosts Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) activities. In the month during and immediately following IAW and related events, antisemitic incidents are significantly more likely to be reported on college and university campuses.

Read the full research paper.