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As our hearts continue to grieve for the victims of the October 7 Hamas pogrom, those who remain held hostage, and the loss of innocent lives in Gaza, we are watching the ongoing anti-Israel campus protests around the country with a close eye.  

Collegiate protest movements have a long – and important – history in this country. While we value the right to free speech on college campuses, we call on our local universities to prioritize the safety, security, and learning experience of all students during these demonstrations. This includes Jewish students, who, like the Jewish community at large, have faced an alarming rise in antisemitism since October.  

Over the weekend, campus protesters at Washington University in St. Louis called for intifada in a video obtained by ADL. According to the Anti-Defamation League, “this slogan is generally understood as a call for indiscriminate violence against Israel, and potentially against Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide.”  

All students have the right to receive an education without fear of violence and intimidation. Jewish students should not be subject to antisemitic chants such as, “go back to Poland,” a statement shouted by protesters near Columbia University. Such hateful rhetoric echoes the history of the Holocaust, which began with dehumanizing language, and has no place in our society.  

We are encouraged by the efforts already made by Washington University in St. Louis to promote Jewish life on campus and educate the community on antisemitism. WashU has long been a welcoming home to Jewish students. Yet, as tensions increase on college campuses around the country, stemming from the ongoing Israel-Hamas War, we ask all colleges and universities, including our local partners in higher education, to prioritize that welcoming atmosphere for all students. 

Our Museum’s mission is to share the history of the Holocaust, while honoring the survivors and the memory of the victims, as a reminder of the perils of pervasive, unchecked antisemitism. We will continue to serve as a resource for our entire community, as we continue to grapple with difficult conversations and work together to fight antisemitism and all forms of hate.