Why did we let it happen? Why didn’t we just get out? How could we just let them lead us to the gas chambers? How could we let people push us out of businesses, schools, and our communities? 

These were questions from not only after the Holocaust, but these are questions we ask today, in 2024. 

This past week, during Passover, we are seeing a rise in antisemitism like we’ve never seen in this country. And unfortunately, college campuses are a main target. Hillel International is reporting that 56% of college students are feeling scared, alone, and worried. On campuses all over the country we are witnessing anti-Zionist groups establishing encampments and disturbing classes and programs. Many campuses have moved classes online so as to maintain the safety of the students, staff, and faculty. And USC has canceled its main graduation because of the student protests and safety concerns. 

It is not only the students of the institutions, campuses like Emory, found that the organizers and participants are from outside the institution. Then there are students who are impressionable enough to jump in and even risk suspension and expulsion. 

What is happening? How did we let it get this far? Have we had our heads in the sand and did we ignore the signs? Are we walking down the road many of our family members walked 80 years ago? It’s the analogy of the frog in the pot: put a frog in a cold pot of water and they will just stay there as the water slowly starts to boil and kills the frog. How long have we been sitting in the pot?

It is scary what we are seeing in our country and especially on our campuses. It is escalating to a point where people do not feel safe attending school and are even being told, don’t come on campus. 

The ADL sent a letter to 85 Presidents of universities stating: 

“As ADL has been urging for months, when students violate campus policies or the law, there must be clear and immediate consequences. Members of the campus community must understand that while speech may be protected on campus, violations of time, place and manner restrictions — restrictions that are often necessary to ensure campus safety — are not. And while speech critical of Israel and supportive of the Palestinian cause is protected, threats, intimidation and harassment are not. Schools must be able to ensure adherence to their own rules, including through clear communication and robust and consistent enforcement of their own policies. We implore you to take steps now to prevent further escalation.” see the full letter:

And we too can take action by lifting up our voices, even if you do not have a college student: 

Make your voice heard! Demand that university leaders take action to combat antisemitism today. Since October 7, there has been an increase in antisemitism on college campuses, and schools are not adequately protecting Jewish students. ADL’s new Campus Antisemitism Report Card reveals that almost half of the graded campuses are falling short of addressing the ongoing crisis. Click here to tell Columbia University’s leaders to take action today, and click here to reach university leaders at any of the 85 schools in ADL’s Campus Antisemitism Report Card to urge them to do more to tackle campus antisemitism.

Take Action

We cannot sit back and think for a moment that this is just going to go away. 80 years ago, the Jewish community did not just let it happen to them and today, we can’t just let it happen to us. The next generation should not ask the question of, ‘why didn’t you do something?’ We must speak out against antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Silence implies consent and I don’t think any of us agree with anyone feeling scared, intimidated, or having to hide being Jewish. 

May we stand in strength and act with courage.