September 27, 2021 — CHICAGO, IL
American Jewish Committee (AJC) Chicago is horrified by the recent “Globalize the Intifada” demonstration on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus and lack of response from university administration. Speakers at the rally openly glorified violence, promoted antisemitic blood libels, and specifically targeted Jewish students and Jewish organizations on campus, posing a very real threat to Jewish student safety on campus.
“No student should be targeted for their faith or nationality,” said AJC Chicago Regional Director Sarah van Loon. “The university should denounce this dangerous rhetoric and mandate compulsory counter-antisemitism training for all students.”
The First and Second Intifadas left more than 1,000 Israelis—and a number of Jewish American college students—dead. Many were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings targeting buses, cafés, and malls. The modern-day blood libel of accusing anyone supporting the state of Israel or displaying the Israeli flag as supporting genocide is similarly offensive and patently wrong.
Holding Jewish, Israeli, or pro-Israel students and organizations accountable for a foreign government is unacceptable and a blatant display of antisemitism. Policy criticism of any country is protected free speech, but the September 17 gathering at the Alma Mater sculpture expressed no policy aim other than violence against Jews and the elimination of the Jewish state. It is unimaginable that this form of hatred would be tolerated for any other minority.
The “Globalize the Intifada” rally is the latest antisemitic incident over the past several years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. UIUC students, in coordination with the Louis B. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), alleging that the university fostered an environment of rampant antisemitism and did not take proper steps to address it, a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.