When it comes to anti-Semitic incidents on college and university campuses, denial is the first refuge of university administrators. These incidents are often glossed over as isolated and not warranting any meaningful administrative response.

There are a number of obvious reasons for this – obvious, at least, to anyone who has spent any time in the groves of the academy. Campus politics, like American politics generally, is a clash of competing interest groups.


Student politics is dominated by ethnic, gender, and racial divisions and alliances. Students of color are inculcated with the notion that they share a bond in the face of white oppression. They form alliances and voting pacts for campus issues.

Because campus issues are generally issues that affect the larger society, the external groups affected by these same issues will augment and assist their campus proxies. A campus administration dealing with political issues weighs not only the strength of the campus interest group but also that of the community group that might come to its assistance.

Unspoken in this decision is an administrative calculus of an offended group's capacity for disruption through mass demonstrations and even violence.

A college campus is a bureaucracy in the worst sense of the term. You do not become a high-ranking university official by being a person of principle. You succeed in university administration by having a well-developed sense of situational ethics, a leftist ideology, and by virtue of what might be called “underprivileged” demographic characteristics that you are more than capable of exploiting.

In this mix, Jewish students are routinely marginalized and disadvantaged. They might not be seen as white people by the Aryan Nation, but on campus they are defined as privileged members of the white oppressor class. They do not cause mass demonstrations and riots, and their external defense organizations prefer to work quietly behind the scenes.

No campus administrator ever worries that an episode offending Jewish students or even putting them at risk will bring the campus to a grinding halt or even a challenging lawsuit.

In any society, the weak are exploited. You might rail incessantly against the evils of Western imperialism, but in all societies, when cultures clash, the stronger exploits the weaker.

Student politics is not about a benign and sensitive culture seeking compassion. It is the politics of those who claim they were previously exploited and who find virtue in the politics of vengeance. Student politics is imbued not with the principles of the founders of the republic, who are eschewed as irrelevant, dead white men, but with the psychopathology of Frantz Fanon, whose taste for the blood of the oppressor is justified without end.

These notions of victimization and the justification for violence are encouraged by an effete class of college professors who suffer from the status incongruity of high education, mediocre salaries, and not being taken seriously in the larger society. Before a captive audience of the intellectually pre-pubescent, they and their long-discredited Marxist nonsense become important.

In this mix, Jews become real victims. They are not part of the faux victims' coalitions that comprise campus political groups. They are not defended by their external organizations. And they confront organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine that thrive on precipitating anti-Semitic harassment.

At New York University, mock eviction notices were served in a largely Jewish dormitory to raise awareness of the evictions of Palestinians who build in Israel without building permits. Targeting the private space – the residence – of the students, the strategy was designed to intimidate, harass, violate and marginalize. The administration took no action.

Imagine if a student group passed out eviction notices to “illegal aliens” and justified this behavior as merely raising awareness of how illegals deprive citizens of jobs and admission to schools like NYU. They would be hauled before a campus Star Chamber faster than you could imagine, and their campus funding would be severed.

There is one set of standards for harassing groups designated as victims and quite another for harassing Jews. As the Amcha Intiative has empirically documented, the presence of anti-Zionist groups, anti-Zionist campaigns, and anti-Israel faculty leads to anti-Semitic incidents. Amcha has documented what common sense would dictate and university administrators choose to deny.

So, what is to be done? I am neither a believer in mass demonstrations nor an apologist for the pathological hatred of anti-Semitic groups. Let them have a monopoly on these tactics. I do not believe you can have an intelligent discussion with faculty members who believe Israel is colonized Palestine.

University administrators who fail to protect Jewish students should be targeted where they are most vulnerable:  their reputations. Administrators are careerist, always climbing the ladder and hunting for the next opportunity. But one thing no academic hiring committee wants to deal with is controversy. Whether the product of mass demonstrations or of questions about ethics and integrity, controversy is the death knell for a careerist.

Jewish alumni and contributors should zip shut their wallets. No campus that fails to protect Jewish students is worthy of financial support.

Jewish parents at orientation week should ask hard questions about anti-Semitism on campus. If it is present, it is because an administration encourages or tolerates it. Send your children elsewhere. For example, it is absolutely insane for any Jew to attend Connecticut College. It is a cesspool that relishes hatred.

Jewish defense organizations have been asleep at the switch when it comes to the campus, either ignoring the issues or yielding the fight to the local Hillel director, who might be less than emotionally and intellectually equipped to take on the fight. If Jewish defense organizations cannot defend Jewish students, they no longer have a reason to exist.

Miller is an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.