Statements on Anti-Semitism

Oct 27 2018 Statement on Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
On Saturday morning, 27 October 2018, a shooter with a long history of anti-Jewish hate speech on social media entered the Tree of Life Congregation in the Pittsburgh community of Squirrel Hill and shot and killed 11 congregants with an AR-15 assault rifle and several handguns. The assailant, Robert D. Bowers, 46, had recently berated the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) for its long mission of helping Jews flee persecution. Bowers was apprehended by police at the Congregation soon after reports began phoning in.

President Trump denounced the attack but also added that if the temple "had some kind of protection" then "it could have been a much different situation." Actually, the Tree of Life Congregation had put in place an active shooter response training program last year, and members of the congregation were following these protocols, thus saving many in the building.

This attack comes in the wake of pipe bombs mailed to critics of Trump, including one sent to George Soros, a major donor to Democratic candidates, a Jew and a survivor of the Nazi occupation in Hungary. And last week a Senate campaign sign for Josh Hawley, attorney general of Missouri, was sprayed with a swastika. According to an Anti-Defamation League's report earlier this year, the number of reported anti-Jewish incidents in the US has increased by 57% over the past two years. The KU Jewish Studies Program is appalled by this massacre and horrified by the alarming increase in hate crimes in the past two years.

We are in solidarity with all people targeted by hate crimes and especially with the Jewish communities of KU, Lawrence, and Kansas City. The Jewish Studies Program remains a supportive space for the KU Jewish community and its allies -- faculty, students, and staff. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any issues or suggestions that you may have.

Much of this text comes from the NY Times report of Oct. 27, 2018, by C. Robertson, C. Mele, and S. Tavernise:
Aug 14 2017 Statement on Charlottesville riots
The faculty and students of the Jewish Studies Program fully support the Chancellor's strong statement, "Confronting Racism and Hate" (, published soon after the recent events of 14 August in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Jewish Studies Program is also acutely aware that anti-Jewish slogans, signs, and gestures were very much present at the rallies of the white supremacists. Such antisemitism has been on the rise in the United States for some years, but there has been an especially sharp rise in recent months, with some people feeling empowered by the current political climate in the US and elsewhere.
The Jewish Studies Program and its faculty and students are devoted to resisting and calling out racism, antisemitism and all forms of dehumanizing discrimination. We believe that discrimination and bigotry are antithetical to the egalitarian principles of our country, that all people are created equal, deserve equal respect, and should enjoy equal protection of the laws. Bigotry, hatred, and discrimination hurt us all.

voted and accepted by the Jewish Studies Executive Faculty, 28 August 2017
endorsed by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, 10 September 2017

If you see something, say something!
As members of the Jewish Studies community, if you notice any antisemitic activity or are concerned or threatened by hateful actions and expressions on campus, please reach out to the Kansas University Public Safety Office [785-864-5900 or], and/or to the Jewish Studies Program (; we are committed to address your concerns.
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