Fighting antisemitism and hate needs to start early


As a former Board of Education member and president in the Long Beach school district who has worked to provide a safe and more inclusive environment for our students, I am gravely concerned about the unprecedented escalation of antisemitism on our college campuses that many young Jewish people in our community will be facing in just a couple of months.

An Anti-Defamation League and Hillel International survey found that Jewish college students feel significantly less safe since Oct. 7, and that more than 75 percent are dissatisfied with their schools’ response to antisemitism. The study also found that 73 percent of Jewish college students, and 44 percent of non-Jewish students, have experienced or witnessed antisemitism since the start of the 2023-24 school year.

Subsequently, the ADL published its Campus Antisemitic Report Card in April, in which it assessed 85 of the top national and liberal arts colleges in the U.S. with the highest Jewish student populations. Grades were assigned to public and private schools based on “Jewish life on campus,” antisemitic incidents, and how the administration addressed those incidents and took action to fight antisemitism. None of the 14 New York schools included in the report received an A grade. Four received D’s and two received F’s. The schools ranked as follows:

• Barnard College: D
• CUNY Brooklyn: B

• Columbia University: D
• Cornell University: D
• Hofstra University: B
• Ithaca College: B
• New York University: C
• SUNY Albany: C
• SUNY Binghamton: B
• SUNY New Paltz: D
• SUNY Purchase: F
• SUNY Rockland Community College: F
• Syracuse University: C
• Queens College: C

During what should be one of the most hopeful times in young people’s lives, they should feel excited and secure about taking the next step in their future, not fearful of what may await them on college campuses.

During my tenure as school board president, the Long Beach district began taking part in Names, Not Numbers, an interactive media Holocaust film documentary project. Created by Tova Fish-Rosenberg, Names, Not Numbers brings students out of the classroom and into the lives of people who lived through the history being taught about the Holocaust. This past year, I was proud of our Long Beach High School students, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, who interviewed Holocaust survivors and created their own documentary, which was shown at a well-attended screening and will be used in the school’s curriculum. Programs like these are the cornerstone of combating the disturbing rise in antisemitism and all forms of marginalization, by providing education and awareness at a young age.

Fighting antisemitism must start before students enter college. This year’s legislative session in Albany has come to a close without legislation in place to address this vital issue. As a candidate for the State Assembly, it is my goal to work on comprehensive, bipartisan, statewide legislation against antisemitism that will bring education, awareness, accountability and action.

Legislation to combat antisemitism at the state level should:

Ensure that school systems are following state mandates to teach about the Holocaust, and add studies of contemporary antisemitism to the curriculum.

Provide state funding and support for educational programs like the ADL’s No Place for Hate.

Ensure that college codes of conduct for faculty and students include discussion of antisemitism.

Ensure that college administrators are held accountable for enforcing these codes of conduct and are responsible for the safety of Jewish students. The same protections against discrimination offered to other groups must be offered to Jewish students as well. This includes revoking funding for student groups that support terrorism or call for violence.

Ensure that hate crimes are investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Continue providing state funding for security at houses of worship and religious institutions.

Ensure that state-mandated diversity, equity and inclusion programs include antisemitism awareness.

Provide resources to work with federal investigators on the infiltration of campus groups by outside agitators.

Putting this legislation in place will empower Jewish young people and allies to work toward creating a future climate of inclusivity without antisemitism and all other forms of hate.

Tina Posterli is a former member of the Long Beach City Council, a former president of the Board of Education and a candidate for the Assembly in District 20.