Editorial | Stanford vote on anti-Semitism is a move in right direction

An important positive step was taken this week on a Bay Area campus: The Associated Students of Stanford University voted April 19 to pass a resolution recognizing and reaffirming the fight against anti-Semitism.

This is a move in the right direction, and should serve as a model for other student governments on campuses rocked by anti-Israel activism that all too often spills over into anti-Semitic speech and actions.

The Resolution to Recognize and to Reaffirm the Fight Against Anti-Semitism addresses several points. It references the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism that includes the delegitimization and demonization of Israel; it invokes Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination based on race, color or national origin; and it endorses the U.C. Board of Regents’ recently adopted Principles Against Intolerance.

The resolution, sponsored by Cardinal for Israel, the Jewish Students Association, Chabad at Stanford, Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish fraternity and J Street U, also explicitly states that “the collective rights to self-determination of the Jewish people are no different” than those of any other people — an important corrective to those who would deny the Jewish state’s right to exist.

Further, the resolution acknowledges that Jewish students at Stanford indeed have been victimized by anti-Semitic acts and speech, including in the classroom, and it mandates annual anti-Semitism awareness seminars presented in consultation with the Anti-Defamation League.

All this, while strongly standing up for free speech rights for all, including the right to criticize Israel.

The resolution passed unanimously, as it should. It is sobering that in this day and age, college students still need to “reaffirm” the wrongness of anti-Semitism, as if fighting it is somehow controversial. Sadly, that is the case.

As persistent anti-Semitic violence in Europe and anti-Israel zealotry around the world make plain, contempt for Jews and their right to self-determination via Zionism remains acceptable in too many circles.

A resolution like this will not stop or even slow down the BDS movement and its objective to dismantle Israel. Nor will it stamp out the scourge of anti-Semitism in this country and around the world. Anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hatred will continue on campuses and elsewhere. But congratulations to the Stanford student senate for doing the right thing this week.