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During the 1930s, America’s most prominent colleges and universities,
including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the Seven Sisters, helped legitimize
antisemitism by warmly welcoming Nazi leaders to campus, enrolling German
exchange students trained as Nazi propagandists, and encouraging their own
students to study in the Third Reich under Nazi auspices, an experience that
transformed many of them into partisans of Hitler’s “New Germany.” The
University of Virginia, sponsor of the nation’s most prestigious foreign policy
symposium, energetically recruited pro-Nazi academics and diplomats from
both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that the Third Reich was able to present its
case to the American public. American university administrators almost never
responded to the vitriolic antisemitic statements made on campus by Hitler’s
diplomatic and student representatives or American apologists for his regime.
The American campus has once again become a principal arena for the
propagation of antisemitism, often now intertwined with a virulent antiZionism. During the last two decades, antisemitic speakers resembling
Germany’s Nazis have attracted enormous and enthusiastic student audiences.
Contemporary university administrators have for the most part refrained from
responding to this torrent of antisemitic invective. Such administrative
indifference has contributed to a campus climate where opponents of Israel
physically intimidate Jewish students and disrupt pro-Israel lectures.