“Jewish students are the most persecuted minority on campuses in the U.S.” an Israeli researcher told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
The statement was made by Amnon Goldstof, research director for the NGO Reservists on Duty, a group primarily concerned with fighting misconceptions about IDF soldiers, during his report to the committee on the challenges facing students who stand up for Israel.
Goldstof cited data which showed the number of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses in the U.S. nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, from 47 to 90.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter (Likud) responded to the report with a declaration that Israel has an obligation to do whatever it can to help the students withstand efforts by BDS and other groups to intimidate them.
“We in the Knesset and in this committee have a responsibility to every Jewish person who is attacked for being Jewish,” Dichter said. “We have a responsibility as the nation-state of the Jewish people to help however we can, without breaking local laws.”
Dichter called BDS a “wave of anti-Semitism that unfortunately is taking place in supposedly enlightened countries and campuses that are considered intellectual.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud) recounted that a lecture she was scheduled to give on a U.S. college campus had to be moved because protesters blocked the hall.
“Students don’t feel safe on campus, and professors suffer if they contradict Palestinian propaganda … while there are professors who chair departments funded by countries like Qatar and spread the propaganda,” she said.
Strategic Affairs Ministry Deputy Director-General Tzachi Gabrieli, who attended the meeting, then briefed the committee members on his ministry’s activities behind closed doors.