Virginia Attorney General condemns the rise of antisemitism

"Religious discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated by my office," Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said.

 University of Virginia in Charlottesville (Illustrative). (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
University of Virginia in Charlottesville (Illustrative).
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON – Virginia Attorney-General Jason Miyares sent a letter to the Council of Presidents and board members at all Virginia public colleges regarding the rise of antisemitism at universities nationwide.

“The Attorney-General is dedicated to the fight against antisemitism and ensuring that Virginia students don’t feel discriminated against because of their faith,” his office said in a statement.

“The Attorney General is dedicated to the fight against antisemitism and ensuring that Virginia students don't feel discriminated against because of their faith."

Jason Miyares

Antisemitism is the oldest and most sustained form of bigotry known to mankind. Jews have been the target of hatred and malice for thousands of years – hatred and malice which they have always overcome with great courage and determination,” he wrote.

“Although America’s commitment to religious pluralism has made it a relative safe haven for Jewish immigrants since our Founding, American Jews have at times dealt with horrifying antisemitic discrimination and violence.”

 White House meeting on antisemitism (credit: OMRI NAHMIAS) White House meeting on antisemitism (credit: OMRI NAHMIAS)

Miyares noted that a recently released study by the Anti-Defamation League reported that over 350 Anti-Israel incidents took place on college and university campuses during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“These events adversely affect the Jewish students attending these institutions and, in some instances, endanger their lives,” he wrote. “I am proud of our system of public and private higher education in the Commonwealth, but we must ensure that our institutions serve all students. Additionally, our institutions should remain centers of thought leadership and diversity, teaching the next generation how to think and not what to think.”

Diversity and academic freedom, he wrote, “cannot survive when groups of students are compelled to conceal their religious identity in order to avoid harassment or violence.”

“Students cannot be active and involved members of their university community in the face of exclusionary policies. Academic freedom and inquiry cannot survive in a maelstrom of religious discrimination,” the letter reads.

“I bring this to your attention because I know we can all agree that discrimination, of any kind, is unacceptable. Every student, regardless of their faith or background, should feel welcomed on every college and university campus in our Commonwealth.”

He went on to say that unlawful religious discrimination of any kind at the State’s institutions of higher education, whether public or private, “will not be tolerated by my office.”

Series of antisemitic incidents in the Washington, DC area

Earlier this weekend, several major Jewish organizations joined to condemn a series of antisemitic incidents in the Washington, DC, area. Jewish Federation of Greater Washington CEO Gil Preuss and the heads of the Anti-Defamation League in Washington, the American Jewish Committee Washington and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington issued a joint statement saying they were “angered and disgusted by the additional acts of antisemitic graffiti and vandalism in our region this weekend.”

“As organizations on the front lines and working together to combat this hatred, we feel our community’s increasing alarm and fear,” they wrote. “Our region is known for celebrating and respecting diversity and is home to one of the largest Jewish populations nationwide. We cannot normalize or become inured to the proliferation of such heinous acts.”