The New York Post e-Edition

Stoking Hate

Toxic DEI is driving campus antisemitism

TABIA LEE Tabia Lee, EdD, is a senior fellow at Do No Harm.

THE blatant antisemitism on college campuses has shocked millions of Americans over the past week and a half. But not me. I saw antisemitism on a weekly basis in my two years as a faculty “diversity, equity and inclusion” director. In fact, I can safely say that toxic DEI ideology deliberately stokes hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.

I was hired to head the DEI department at Silicon Valley’s De Anza College in 2021. As a black woman, I was the perfect person for the job — on paper. Yet I made the mistake of trying to create an authentically inclusive learning environment for everyone, including Jewish students. Turns out, a toxic form of DEI (which is more accurately called “critical social justice”) demanded I do the opposite.

Before I got to campus, Jewish students had endured a litany of hateful and hostile acts. The school had hosted a Hanukkah party that featured no Hanukkah imagery but plenty of pro-Palestinian protesters. The student body had passed resolutions on “divesting” from Israel — the first college of its kind to do so — and criticizing Israel’s “attacks against humanity.” Multiple Jewish students told me the campus was essentially an antisemitic environment.

I tried to right this wrong. First, I hosted Jewish speakers on campus, with the goal of promoting diversity and inclusion by sharing different perspectives. Critics called me a “dirty Zionist,” and the school refused to promote the events. I then pushed the administration to issue a strong condemnation of antisemitism. My request was refused. Some campus leaders and colleagues repeatedly told me I shouldn’t raise issues about Jewish inclusion or antisemitism.

I was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are “white oppressors” and our job as faculty and staff members was to “decenter whiteness.”

I was astounded, but I shouldn’t have been. At its worst, DEI is built on the unshakable belief that the world is divided into two groups of people: the oppressors and the oppressed. Jews are categorically placed in the oppressor category, while Israel is branded a “genocidal, settler, colonialist state.” In this worldview, criticizing Israel and the Jewish people is not only acceptable but praiseworthy. (Just as it’s OK to attack America and white people.) If you don’t go after them — or worse, if you defend them — you’re actively abetting racist oppression.

I have never encountered a more hostile environment toward the members of any racial, ethnic or religious group.

I was ultimately fired by De Anza College, and I suspect my defense of Jewish students played a part. Yet I’ve subsequently found that my experience isn’t unique. Countless faculty and students on campuses nationwide have told me the DEI ideology encourages antisemitism. One study found 96% of Israel-focused tweets by campus DEI staff criticized the Jewish state. And that was before Hamas launched its brutal assault on Israel this month.

Now the colleges and universities beholden to DEI are hurting Jewish students with their silence, their moral equivocation about terrorism against Israel or their outright praise of the terrorists. Many of the student groups most invested in DEI are actively siding with Hamas.

Look no further than “White Coats for Black Lives,” a national group of medical students with chapters in more than 100 public and private universities. On Tuesday, just days after Hamas murdered Jewish families in their beds, the DEI-driven group proudly declared it has “long supported Palestine’s struggle for liberation.” How could a Jewish patient ever trust a medical trainee or professional who subscribes to such blatant antisemitic hatred? It’s tantamount to threatening their lives, and it raises questions about whether such hate-filled people should even be allowed to practice medicine.

This outpouring of antisemitic hatred is the direct result of DEI’s insistence that Jews are oppressors. What started with rhetorical attacks has morphed into defending and calling for violent attacks. It’s inevitable for an ideology that demeans an entire group of people while accusing them of perpetrating massive injustice. When you stoke that kind of division and anger, you unleash fires you can’t control.

Sure enough, the fire of antisemitism is now burning bright on college campuses. It needs to be extinguished immediately so it doesn’t spread and do more damage.

I know just the place to start. Administrators and lawmakers need to get toxic DEI out of higher education. If they don’t, there will be no true diversity and inclusion on campus, but there will be even more shocking hatred toward Jews.





New York Post