Cases of antisemitic acts on campus have shown a considerable rise over the years, and the latest instance has come from the Hillel building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where last week, antisemitic messages were chalked on the sidewalk outside.
After UW Jewish students celebrated the first night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, they discovered the messages, “Happy Hanukkah & happy day of int’l solidarity with the Palestinian people,” with an image of the Palestinian flag, and the hashtag “Palestine Day”.
The incident came months after Madison’s Jewish community experienced a rise in reported hate crimes and was reported by students who shared photos of the vandalism.
Speaking to local media, student Rachel Rosen, who is a leading member of the Badger Alliance for Israel said, “These sort of antisemitic attacks are trying to disguise themselves as social justice protests. Using the language of ‘Free Palestine,’ they’re sort of trying to frame it like, ‘We’re not antisemitic, we’re just standing up for what the Israeli government is doing to Palestinians.’ But we can see that if their intention really was to help Palestinians, they would probably be acting differently.”
Meanwhile, UW Hillel said, “No religious celebration should be used as an opportunity to promote divisiveness, and to attempt to hold our diverse Jewish community responsible for the actions of the Israeli government is a modern manifestation of antisemitism. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that our building has been targeted for such political messaging.”