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Addressing Antisemitism at Sac State
The Division of Inclusive Excellence is committed to intentionally and proactively addressing antisemitism in all of its forms. Since her arrival in November 2021, the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Mia Settles-Tidwell has intentionally put in motion actions to address antisemitism at Sac State.
The Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Action Plan, calls out explicitly our goal and commitment to address antisemitism as one form of hate and othering . Investing in structural ways to prevent antisemitism on our campus is a key action step in addressing hate on our campus in multiple forms. Launching a campus-wide campaign to prevent antisemitism through education, engagement, and action are some of the ways we will continue to fight against antisemitism on the Sac State campus.
Our goal is to stress the importance of belonging for our Jewish community as we desire for all communities. It is critical that we, at Sac State, pay attention to the implicit as well as the explicit ways to act diligently to create belonging on campus for and with our Jewish community. Imagine a campus where Jewish individuals do not have to request accommodations to participate in their traditions or holy holidays.
What is Antisemitism?
The word antisemitism means prejudice against or hatred towards Jewish individuals, Jews as a people, Jewish ethnicity, culture, institutions, and/or religion/religious teachings. In addition, antisemitism can manifest as stereotyped views, hostility, discrimination, or violence against Jews because they are Jewish.
What are the origins of Antisemitism?
Antisemitism has its roots in Ancient Times and continues today in multiple forms from the subtle to the extreme. According to the T’ruah guide explains that “at its core, antisemitism sees Jews as a nefarious and corrupting presence within society".
This hatred originated in antiquity as ‘anti-Judaism’ and evolved into a modern political ideology that blurs race and religion, and sometimes takes the form of conspiracy theories. Antisemitism draws on a pool of stories and tropes about Jews that get pulled to the surface at different times, in different places, by different people, for different reasons, and with different impacts.”
Please watch this 13-minute video on the History of Antisemitism from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to gain understanding of the history of antisemitism.
Who is Considered Jewish?
Like any other group, being Jewish is not a monolithic identity. Jews come from many races and ethnicities, with many subcultures, unique traditions, and languages. One who converts to Judaism becomes a member of this people, no less than those born as ancestral Jews.
Jews who do not consider themselves religiously practicing may often still strongly identify as Jewish and feel a deep sense of connection to Jewish history, Jewish culture, and the Jewish people. Jews traditionally see themselves as both adherents of a religious faith and part of a people since ancient times.
Many Jews feel connected to a variety of cultural practices, stories, customs, etc. that other Jews value as essential to a joint sense of identity that are often only loosely linked to religious practices.
What is Judaism?
The world’s oldest monotheistic (belief in one God) religion. This religion dates back nearly 4,000 years. Jewish people worship in places known as synagogues and their spiritual leaders are called rabbis. The six-point Star of David is one of, if not the main symbols of Judaism.
Jewish religious beliefs and practices span a wide spectrum and can include observance of religious holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur; special ways of marking Shabbat (or the Sabbath); and for some Jews, following kosher dietary laws and other religiously-informed social and cultural practices.
How Does Antisemitism Manifest on a College Campus?
Scholars and Jewish community leaders have different perspectives on how to draw the line on precisely what is or is not antisemitic. As scholars from the Association for Jewish Studies Task Force on Antisemitism and Academic Freedom make clear, “no single group or institution speaks on behalf of all Jews on any issue, including antisemitism.”
Therefore, the following information is not exhaustive and cannot be used in isolation. We must consider context, nuance, and motivational factors when evaluating if a particular action or incident was or was not antisemitic.
- Speech or writing that is slanderous or libelous of Jews as a group, the Jewish religion, or towards Jewish individuals because they are or presumed to be Jewish.
- Claims about individual Jews or groups of Jewish people that call upon classic antisemitic imagery and tropes (such as conspiratorial claims that Jews wield undo power over the financial system, government policy, or Hollywood; or that Jews conspire against the interests of other groups of people).
- Attributing collective responsibility to Jewish people for actions of an individual, or articulating conspiracy theories about Jews as a people or as a group.
- Blaming all Jews for the actions of the Israeli government.
Bias or Discrimination
- Not allowing religious accommodations for Jewish students and staff within private or public institutions.
- Denying or infringing on the ability or right for Jewish people to worship or practice religious traditions.
- Posting signs or making statements that suggest directly or indirectly that Jewish people do not belong or are not welcomed.
- Requiring Jewish students to denounce their beliefs or perspectives as a condition for joining a group.
- Aggressively proselytizing among Jews – demeaning Judaism or demanding Jews convert to other religions or beliefs.
Implicit or Explicit Violence
- Defacing or destroying property with Nazi swastikas, Nazi related numbers (e.g., 1488) or other symbols related to Nazi Germany, white supremacy and dominance, the KKK, or other hate groups.
- Gestures such as the “Sieg Heil” or Nazi salute, which was used as a greeting to Hitler in Nazi, Germany.
- Denying the Jewish Holocaust actually happened or dismissing the scope and trauma of the Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews.
- Challenging the right for Jewish people to exist and targeting Jewish people for wearing traditional head coverings, clothing, or Jewish symbols.
- Physical violence, harassment, or assault against a Jewish individual because they are Jewish.
What is NOT antisemitism?
It is important to define antisemitism as well as demonstrate what it is not. It is NOT antisemitic to:
- Critique or oppose specific policies of the government of Israel.
- Critique, oppose, support, and advocate for Israel.
- Critique, oppose, support, and advocate for Palestine.
- Support or advocate for Palestinian individual or collective rights.
- Express pride in one’s Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or other religious identity
- Ask respectful and genuine inquisitive questions about Jewish history, culture, or religious practices.
What Should I do if I Experience or Witness Antisemitism at Sac State?
There are a couple of reporting mechanism that are available to use when or if you have experienced or witnessed antisemitism on campus.
Acts of Bias Reporting Tool- This is a reporting tool for bias motivated incidents that do not reach the threshold of the federal, state, or local definition of discrimination.
Office for Equal Opportunity- This office works to investigate allegation of discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on protected class categories: race/ethnicity, gender and gender expression, age, national origin, disability, religion, of which, ancestral and ethnic group are included.
Office for Civil Rights- a sub-agency that protects the rights of individuals and entities from unlawful discrimination based on protected class categories.
How Does Antisemitism Affect Jewish Students on Campus?
When students experience any form of hate or hostility like antisemitism on a campus, this could contribute to academic, psychological, sociological, and physical challenges. What this looks like in the day-to-day life of a student differs depending on the individual. General examples of this can be mental health challenges, academic challenges, physical challenges, which could impact the success of students and erode a sense of belonging.
How are We Addressing Antisemitism at Sac State?
Why is it important to combat antisemitism on campus?
The history and rise of antisemitism today are alarming. By proactively addressing it, Sac State can realize it’s goal of becoming an antiracism, inclusive and anti-oppression campus.
Timeline of Actions to Combat Antisemitism
May 2022- Started writing specific messages to the campus to education the campus about Jewish life, contributions, and the fight against antisemitism. Commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month
September 2022- Added to the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Action Plan, Goal #27, specific language and action steps to address antisemitism on campus.
September 2022- Continued messaging to the campus educating the campus about Jewish life, contributions, and the fight against antisemitism. Some examples are below:
October 2022- Updated Acts of Bias Tool to include Hate Incidents, including symbols, images etc.
November 2022- Co-sponsored a panel and town hall on hate incidents and symbols with experts across the campus and Sacramento region.
December 2022- Based on connections with the U.C. Berkeley Jewish Studies Department, Dr. Ethan Katz and his connection with the California Antisemitism Project, forged a relationship with Dr. Gregg Drinkwater to consult with the Division of Inclusive Excellence about ways to education, build resources, and structurally combat antisemitism.
December 2022- Worked with facilities and Police Department to improve communication protocol and coordination of actions when hate symbols on buildings/ defacing are reported.
January 2023- Launch a Multi-faith and Inclusive calendar to support students and the campus in recognizing holidays and observances beyond the traditionally used Christian based calendar.
January 2023- Launch pilot Belonging and Bridging Program with a focus on the following communities: African American, European American, Jewish, and Latinx/Chicanx.
April 2023- Added the category, Religious and Ancestral bias to the Acts of Bias Tool.
April 2023- Division of Inclusive Excellence participates in staff development on but not limited to: sensitivity training, trauma-informed responses to crisis, and antisemitism awareness.
April 2023- Launch a Addressing Semitism at Sac State webpage on the Division of Inclusive Excellence website.
Addressing Antisemitism Campaign
What’s to Come…AICP Year of BECOMING
- QR Code for all campus entities to share what are they tangibly doing to combat antisemitism on campus, including but not limit to: President’s Cabinet, Associated Students Inc., Faculty Senate, Colleges and Departments, State Hornet, University Enterprises, Inc., and any other auxiliary associated with Sacramento State
- Division of Inclusive Excellence will offer faculty release time to create a campus specific video promoting belonging, education, and support for Jewish life and people.
- Update Division of Inclusive Excellence section of Sac State 101, which is a required online training workshop for all employees; this workshop will include a module on antisemitism awareness.
- Fall Green & Gold Speaker Series will focus on belonging. The series will begin with the Jewish community in September 26, 2023.
- Belonging and Bridging Program, Jewish cohort 2 for 2023-24
To learn more about antisemitism and to better understand its complexity, we encourage you to explore these resources offering deeper definitions of antisemitism. Each includes specific examples of antisemitism and offer different details. Some scholars, Jewish and non-Jewish students, and members of the public will prefer one definition over another. We offer these resources not as endorsements of one over another, but as an invitation to learning, unlearn, grow, and dialogue.
Get Connected- Groups/Clubs/Organizations
- Link to synagogues in Sacramento Area (coming soon)
- Hillel at UC Davis & Sacramento
- Links to clubs/organizations (coming soon)
- American Jewish Committee Survey
- Film–Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present , this 11-minute film produced by the Antisemitism Education Initiative at UC Berkeley, offers an overview of antisemitism from ancient times to today.
- The most widely known definition of antisemitism comes from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an international consortium of 35 member countries. Their “Working Definition of Antisemitism” was adopted by the IHRA in 2016 and has since been affirmed or adopted by a wide range of governmental, educational, and political institutions worldwide.
- The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism was created in 2020 by a group of over 200 scholars as a tool to identify, confront, and raise awareness about antisemitism, in part as a response to the IHRA definition.
- Given the importance of questions about the relationship between antisemitism, Israel, and Zionism in contemporary cultural and political discourse, in fall 2020, another group of scholars and community leaders drafted a document titled “Understanding Antisemitism at its Nexus with Israel and Zionism.”
- The Anti-Defamation League offers “Antisemitism Uncovered: A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era,” a deep guide to the history and context of antisemitism.
Text for this page was prepared by the Office of Inclusive Excellence. The text above includes material borrowed from guides to antisemitism produced by the Anti-Defamation League; “A Working Report from the AJS Task Force on Antisemitism and Academic Freedom” produced by the Association for Jewish Studies; and “A Very Brief Guide to Antisemitism” produced by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.
Q: How does antisemitism impact higher education?
A: Institutions in the United States have experienced a rise in antisemitism incidents. This is impactful to higher education because stakeholders (students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members) who identify as Jewish and allies/advocates for the Jewish community are affected by these incidents.
Q: What is Sac State as an institution doing about these incidents?
A: Higher Education institutions have aligned efforts to intentionally support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice efforts and initiatives related to antiracism, anti-bias, and anti-discrimination efforts. At Sac State, we have an Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Action Plan. Combating antisemitism is a part of Goal 27 in the plan. The goal is to create a healthy campus climate for all stakeholders.
Q: What are ways we can provide support to the Jewish community on campus?
A: As a member of the Hornet community, we can uplift and amplify the voices of the Jewish community by providing spaces for members to speak, heal and feel genuinely like they belong. You can also use the QR code on this webpage to list the ways you as an individual or your organization is combating antisemitism on campus.
Q: Will there be another town hall or Green & Gold Speaker Series focused on antisemitism awareness?
A: Yes, an example of what this could look like is another Town Hall (student led) by students who identify within the community. Hearing the voices and concerns of students who represent the Jewish community can help improve strategically planning for combating antisemitism.
Q: How does antisemitism effect Jewish students on campus?
A: When students experience any form of hate or hostility like antisemitism on a campus, this could contribute to academic, psychological, sociological, and physical challenges. What this looks like in the day-to-day life of a student differs depending on the individual. General examples of this can be mental health challenges, academic challenges, physical challenges, which could impact the success of students and erode a sense of belonging.
Q: How can we support and protect students who identify within the Jewish community as antisemitism continues to persist?
A: We can support the Jewish community (all stakeholders) by first providing a space for Jews to share their experiences. It is important to understand the needs and concerns of the population impacted. After listening to the needs provide resources to support students, staff and faculty such as Student Health and Counseling Services, etc.
Q: What are ways to practice allyship?
A: Allyship can be practiced by showing up, speaking out and calling in people.
Q: What United States legislation introduced/passed protects the Jewish community from antisemitism acts, incidents, and hate crimes?
Q: How does antisemitism impact me if I do not identify within the Jewish community?
A: If one population is impacted by a form of hate it affects everyone because we are a community. Even if you do not identify within the community “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Q: What are ways to spread awareness on how to address antisemitism at Sac State?
A: Join the Addressing Antisemitism Campaign, which could include tabling, participating in events and sharing resources from the Inclusive Excellence webpage.
Q: How can the study body make the campus a place of belonging for Jewish students who feel othered?
A: The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) has a resolution that is in support of the Jewish community. It is important to be proactive instead of reactive. It is important to continue spreading awareness and advocating even when incidents do not occur. As a campus community we must learn to work together and to do our part in combating antisemitism.
Q: What is Jewish diversity? Are all Jews the same?
A: Today, about 15 million Jewish people live around the world, with seven million, or just under half of the global Jewish population, living here in the United States. California is home to about 1.2 million Jewish people, or just over 3% of the state’s total population. American Jews have immigrated to this country from many places across the globe, notably Europe, Latin America, North Africa, and the Middle East. Estimates vary, but roughly 8-15% of Jews in the U.S. identify as Black, Latinx, a person of color, or multiracial. Many Jews identify as cultural, ethnic, or secular Jews, while those who also practice Judaism religiously vary in their beliefs and forms of observance. Religiously, Jews can be connected to the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, or Renewal movements within Judaism.
Q: When did the term antisemitism originate?
A: In 1879, German journalist Wilhelm Marr originated the term antisemitism, denoting the hatred of Jews, and also hatred of various liberal, cosmopolitan, and international political trends of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries often associated with Jews. The trends under attack included equal civil rights, constitutional democracy, free trade, socialism, finance capitalism, and pacifism. For more information, see: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/wilhelm-marr