As students return to campus for the fall semester, vandals targeted the Hillel Jewish center at University of Southern California.
A photo of the attack was shared on Twitter Tuesday by the nonprofit watchdog group StopAntisemitism. “Horrifying – the Hillel Jewish center at @USC has been vandalized as an object was thrown through the door, shattering the glass,” the caption reads. The building was not occupied at the time of the incident.
In an Instagram post following the attack, USC Hillel Executive Director Dave Cohn addressed the community. “At this time, we do not yet know the motives or identities of any involved, and are not yet prepared to characterize the incident,” Cohn wrote. “We do not know whether the damage was accidental, a random act of criminal vandalism, or if it specifically targeted our facility. That said, within a half hour of opening our building this morning we were working closely on-site with the USC Department of Public Safety to begin an investigation.” Cohn added that they “are reviewing security footage and will ensure that every measure is taken to prioritize the safety and security of our students and our Hillel.”
StopAntisemitism added that “antisemitism is skyrocketing on American college campuses” in their tweet condemning the USC attack and encouraged students and recent graduates of college universities to give them input on an upcoming report on “the safest schools for Jewish students.”
Indeed, antisemitism is on the rise at universities across the United States, according to a survey by the Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF). Conducted between late March and mid-June 2021, the organization partnered with Jewish on Campus to recruit respondents and recorded multiple forms of antisemitism on campuses. According to the reports, all respondents say antisemitism is a problem on campus and half of the students say that discrimination against Jews is increasing on the campus where they study, including reports of some Jewish students experiencing discrimination first-hand.
Furthermore, nearly four out of five students have heard of another student making antisemitic comments, with also almost half of them having “experienced or heard firsthand about being physically threatened because they identify as Jewish,” according to the ACF.