Dr. Timothy L. Killeen
The University of Illinois
Dear Dr. Killeen,
I am absolutely appalled to learn that Jewish students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have endured a shameful increase in anti-Semitism activity, including anti-Zionism. Officials there must step in immediately and halt these acts of hatred. This campus enjoys a rich history of Jewish life and has experienced a large and robust Jewish enrollment for decades. This is personal to B’nai B’rith International as we founded the very first Hillel in the world at your campus in 1923. What has happened in the last five years?
Swastikas found on campus? Vandalism at Jewish centers? Ritual items damaged or worse? Israel is not just a fashionable political topic, its existence subject to debate. To Jews, Israel is the undeniable eternal homeland of the Jewish people, a focus of daily prayer for millennia. The culprits behind this campaign have the same mindset of people who create false narratives around the world about Jewish connections to the Western Wall in Jerusalem and a myriad of archeological findings, which date back to well before the First and Second Temple eras, thousands of years.
This matter is not one to be bounced around a conference table or debated in some political science class. Hate speech is not free speech when the result is an assault on student’s ability to pursue and excel in academic subjects or to think freely. Israel is a democracy. It is under healthy scrutiny that occurs in any democracy. This matter doesn’t end with an “accrediting organization” saying the allegations “do not indicate substantive noncompliance.” Nonsense. Take charge of this situation. We have witnessed thousands of years of lies, today’s blood libels, and vandalism. Step in and stand up to this hatred. End this sickening scapegoating.
Is the University of Illinois an academic institution or simply a cluster of buildings reduced to a playground of cancel culture? Solve this problem or the light of this once great university will be dimmed like a flickering bulb.
President, B’nai B’rith International