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Anti-Semitism is ravaging Europe like an epidemic. 

A vicious strain of anti-Semitism is ravaging Europe like an epidemic.

Synagogues are being burned and defaced in France. Yarmulke-wearing Jews are targets of stone-throwers in Germany. Even in merry old England, it's no longer safe to be Jewish.

Could it happen here in the U.S.? If you look closely, you can already see the signs – especially on college campuses, often where the worst societal trends get their start.

Here's some of what's been happening at the University of Chicago:

A car drove up to a Jewish student on campus and a passenger screamed: "Death to Jews. Hitler should have finished you all off when he had the chance."

On a public listserve in the Humanities Department, a pro-Palestinian graduate student joked openly about Auschwitz.

A Jewish senior was told by a university-appointed preceptor that he couldn't be "bothered" reading her B.A. paper because it focused on topics relating to Judaism and Zionism.

Fliers posted in a dorm to publicize a pro-Israel rally were defaced with obscenities and vile, anti-Semitic suggestions.
Such is life for Jewish students at a major U.S. university. Similar stories can be heard from students at dozens of other colleges across the country.

Where does this hatred come from? Often it begins with a faculty with a contempt for open and honest debate and a penchant for propaganda.

Students at the University of Chicago tell a story of professors teaching literary theory turning seminars on writing into condemnations of Israel. Professors in Near Eastern Language and Civilization teach history without ever suggesting there is a legitimate Israeli perspective on the birth of the Jewish state. Other professors simply stifle dissent and nuanced discussions or treat students with different points of view like pariahs.

In other words, anti-Semitism has become the latest form of political correctness on campus.

Where can students turn in the face of such hostility? In the case of the University of Chicago, they tried going to the administration. But the authorities on campus have shown little interest in promoting balance, tolerance, diversity and academic freedom – once the highest goals on campus.

Meanwhile, after a spate of alleged anti-Muslim violence across the nation, University President Don Randel issued a "zero-tolerance" policy toward discrimination against Muslims. Yet, when anti-Semitism appeared to be on the rise worldwide – especially in Europe – no similar statements condemning anti-Jewish bigotry were elicited from Randel.

As a result of this double-standard, Jewish students no longer feel welcome on the campus. They see a climate of increasing hostility toward Jews and supporters of Israel.

In response, Jewish students and others have made a list of recommendations to the administration:

A policy that states grades should not be affected by one's political opinions and that indoctrination should not be a goal in the classroom;

A policy promoting civility – starting with professors;

The creation of one class on campus on modern Israel that explains the Zionist perspective;

A policy of promoting balance in university-sponsored seminars on the Middle East;

A suggested panel discussion on the topic: "When does legitimate criticism of Israel slip into anti-Semitism?"

To date, despite weeks of waiting, the students who made these reasonable proposals are still waiting for any response from the administration.

If this were an isolated instance, we could chalk it up to one university sadly out of touch or too timid to respond to the new political correctness on campus. But the University of Chicago is no different in this regard to dozens of other campuses I hear from on a daily basis.

This is how it begins.

The bullies are winning the day.

Can it happen here?

It has already begun.



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