JCRC, Minnesota Hillel Statement On Student Meeting With

University of Minnesota appears incapable of connecting antisemitism on campus with pro-Hamas encampment 

After appeasing protesters and granting them an audience with the Regents, why is addressing anti-Jewish messaging and antisemitism too much for firm commitments from the U of M?  

May 4, 2024 

It should have been easy: Jewish student leaders asked the University of Minnesota to improve the campus climate in concrete, low-barrier ways and were met with political maneuvering. 

Students asked that the University condemn slogans calling for the murder of Jews (‘Glory to the Resistance,’ ‘Globalize the Intifada,’ or ‘Victory to Al Aqsa Flood’) that have blanketed the campus since October 7 — and which escalated while the University allowed a pro-Hamas encampment to disrupt campus life.  

In an all-campus message, the University was either unwilling or unable to connect those violent hateful slogans with antisemitism.

Due to the University incorporating the Palestinian “right” of armed resistance (“Thawabit”) in its agreement with the protestors, Jewish students requested the U clarify that they condemn terrorism.

The U was unwilling or unable to meet that request, too.

Students also encouraged the U to join other Big 10 schools with extensive antisemitism training through Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative (CCI).

Despite being one of the few Big 10 schools that hasn’t participated, they were only willing to commit to exploring the possibility.

Minnesota Hillel Executive Director Benjie Kaplan says, “Due to the toxic climate around Israel/Palestine here, we have been encouraging our University partners to participate in this important program for years. Now, when it is most needed, I am pained that this was not an easy ‘yes.'”  

While hundreds of Jewish students on campus find community and support from Hillel, Chabad, Greek life, and the broader Twin Cities Jewish community each year, it is deeply frustrating that the University itself is unwilling or unable to truly stand up for these students and confront the destructive atmosphere permeating significant segments of the campus. 

As the protesters are granted time to present their demands to the University’s Board of Regents this coming week we call upon others, including Jewish and non-Jewish elected officials, to use their voices and make clear that singling out or calling for terrorism against, Jews or Israelis has no place at the University of Minnesota or anywhere else in our state.

There is still time for the University to act.