Antisemitism

CMJS' longstanding program of research on the experiences and perceptions of antisemitism among Jewish young adults in the United States focuses on the experience of students on university campuses and examines antisemitism in relationship to particular issues, such as political identity and Israel.

Course Offering

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management 
HS 125A-1
Spring 2024
T and Th 2:20-3:40 pm
https://registrar-prod.unet.brandeis.edu/registrar/schedule/search (search "antisemitism")

Instructors

Leonard Saxe, PhD
Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Social Policy
Director, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Graham Wright, PhD
Associate Research Professor, Heller School for Social Policy
Associate Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Janet Krasner Aronson, PhD
Research Scientist, Associate Director
Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Publications

Antisemitism on campus report cover

Report

December 2023

Graham Wright, Sasha Volodarsky, Shahar Hecht & Leonard Saxe

“In the Shadow of War: Hotspots of Antisemitism on US College Campuses” describes Jewish students’ perceptions of antisemitism on 51 US college campuses in the wake of the Hamas-Israel war. The report includes our rankings of these schools by the level of antisemitic hostility perceived by Jewish students. We also explore the different forms of antisemitism experienced by Jewish students at these schools (including antisemitism related to criticism of Israel), their levels of concern about antisemitism from different sides of the political spectrum, and the extent to which they see hostility to Israel as emanating from students, faculty, or administrators. The report also examines how antisemitic hostility may be affecting Jewish students’ safety and sense of belonging on their campus.

Journal article

2022

Graham Wright, Sasha Volodarsky, Shahar Hecht & Leonard Saxe

Notwithstanding the increasing alignment between social and political identities, political divisions exist within social groups as well as between them. Despite their shared traditions, American Jews face similar political divisions as Americans in general. But could the perception of a common threat, such as antisemitism, alter the dynamics of political polarization within a social group? American Jews’ concerns about antisemitism might themselves be filtered through political identities, with liberal Jews more concerned about “traditional” antisemitism (long-standing anti-Jewish stereotypes) emanating from the political right, and conservative Jews concerned about “Israel-related” antisemitism (blaming individual Jews for the actions of Israel) associated with the political left. Using a sample of over 2000 Jewish young adults, we find that, although liberal and conservative Jews are equally concerned about traditional antisemitism, conservatives are significantly more concerned about Israel-related antisemitism than liberals. We also find that, after a series of high-profile attacks on American Jews related to the 2021 Israel–Hamas conflict, liberal and conservative Jews’ concerns about Israel-related antisemitism increased at similar rates. These results suggest that, although concerns about antisemitism are influenced by political identity, rising antisemitism is unlikely to exacerbate political polarization between liberal and conservative Jews.

Politics, Groups and Identities (2022), DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2022.2144391

Journal article

February 2021

Graham Wright, Sasha Volodarsky, Shahar Hecht & Leonard Saxe

Since 2016, a series of horrific acts motivated by antisemitism appear to have caused a fundamental shift in the prevalence of antisemitism in the United States. Little is known, however, about how the events during this time have affected the day-to-day experiences and concerns of American Jews. Using repeated cross-sectional data from surveys of Jewish young adults who applied to Birthright Israel, this paper analyzes recent trends in Jewish young adults’ experiences and perceptions of antisemitism.

Contemporary Jewry (2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s12397-021-09354-6 

Limits of Hostility report cover

Report

December 2017

Graham Wright, Michelle Shain, Shahar Hecht, Leonard Saxe

This report is part of a program of research focusing on undergraduates and their perceptions and experiences of antisemitism and anti-Israel hostility on US campuses. This report examines four institutions, Brandeis University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Michigan). The report draws on survey data collected in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years from representative samples of undergraduates (both Jewish and non-Jewish) at these schools. 

Hotspots of Antisemitism report cover

Report

October 2016

Leonard Saxe, Graham Wright, Shahar Hecht, Michelle Shain, Theodore Sasson, Fern Chertok

This report follows an earlier study that found that a substantial portion of Jewish students reported having been exposed to antisemitism and hostility toward Israel on their campuses. Because the extent of the problem varied considerably across campuses, we attempted in this report to identify "hotspots," or campuses where antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment were especially acute. Based on findings from a 2016 survey of Jewish undergraduates at 50 US campuses, this study also looks at the particular manifestations of hostility at different campuses and the ways in which hostile climates influence the lives of Jewish students.  

Antisemitism on the College Campus report cover

Report

July 2015

Leonard Saxe, Theodore Sasson, Graham Wright, Shahar Hecht

This report had two aims: first, to understand the extent of hostility toward Israel and antisemitism on North American campuses and second, to assess the relationship between these trends and Jewish students’ support for and connection to Israel. The study, conducted in spring 2015, draws on a survey of US and Canadian college students and young adults who applied to Birthright Israel.