ICYMI, Jewish Students Are at Risk on Campus


One confounding fact in this onslaught of the world’s oldest hatred is that American society should have been ready to handle it….But diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have proved to be no match for anti-Semitism, for a clear reason: the durable idea of anti-Semitism as justice.

DEI efforts are designed to combat the effects of social prejudice by insisting on equity: Some people in our society have too much power and too much privilege, and are overrepresented, so justice requires leveling the playing field. But anti-Semitism isn’t primarily a social prejudice. It is a conspiracy theory: the big lie that Jews are supervillains manipulating others. The righteous fight for justice therefore does not require protecting Jews as a vulnerable minority. Instead it requires taking Jews down.

This idea is tacitly endorsed by Jews’ bizarre exclusion from discussion in many DEI trainings and even policies, despite their high ranking in American hate-crime statistics. The premise, for instance, that Jews don’t experience bigotry because they are “white,” itself a fraught idea, would suggest that white LGBTQ people don’t experience bigotry either—a premise that no DEI policy would endorse (not to mention the fact that many Jews are not white). The contention that Jews are immune to bigotry because they are “rich,” an idea even more fraught and also often false (about 20 percent of Jews in New York City, for instance, live in poverty or near-poverty), is equally nonsensical. No one claims that gay men or Indian Americans never experience bigotry because of those groups’ statistically higher incomes. The idea that money erases bigotry apparently applies only to Jews. Again and again, the ostensible reasons for not addressing anti-Semitism in DEI initiatives quickly reveal themselves to be founded on ancient, rarely examined assumptions about Jews as invulnerable villains.

DARA HORN, from her feature “Why the Most Educated People in America Fall for Anti-Semitic Lies,” The Atlantic, February 2024.