A group of Jewish students who attend the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) have expressed concerns about a growth of anti-Semitism on campus in the wake of rising tensions in the Middle East.
The undergraduate and postgraduate students say they no longer feel safe in classrooms and note a sharp rise in anti-Israel rhetoric at the educational institute, especially in some faculties.
The complaint comes in the wake of the Hamas terror attack on October 7, which left at least 1,200 mostly civilians dead and 240 kidnapped, according to Israeli officials. Among those being held hostage are 21 Argentines.
The bloodshed triggered an Israeli bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip, which has controlled by Hamas since 2007.
Highlighting the fears, the UBA student group published a press statement detailing several episodes of discrimination.
In one such incident, the group alleges that the Puan campus – which houses the Philosophy and Humanities Faculty – was plastered with Palestinian flags, anti-Semitic posters and graffiti featuring swastikas.
The students say the incident happened in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attack, even before Israel had begun its Gaza bombing campaign.
Other faculties, the group claims, issued documents directly supporting the actions of Hamas.
The statement notes that on October 12, the Jewish students sent a public letter to Dean Ricardo Manetti and all professors, reminding them that UBA, under Resolución RES-UBA 287/2020, had three years previously vowed to adhere to the definition of anti-Semitism..
The resolution, published coincidentally on October 7, 2020 on the official UBA website states that “anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Physical and rhetorical manifestations of antisemitism are aimed at Jewish or non-Jewish persons and/or their property, institutions of the Jewish community and their places of worship.”
“You can’t learn where you don’t feel safe,” said a Jewish student who asked to be identified only as Lucía, who is a student who attends the Puan campus.
In addition, the group of students expressed concerns that anti-Semitic phenomena are being replicated at other faculties, such as Economic Science, Exact Science, Medicine, where students are already organising.
They also complained that posters calling for peace in the Middle East were torn down by other students within 10 minutes of being put up.
The group of Jewish students have also penned a second letter to the dean of the Philosophy Faculty, explaining how fear grows every day among students in a space where openness and debate are preached.
Earlier this month, the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA) umbrella organisation told the Times that anti-Semitic complaints had increased significantly since the outbreak of war in the Middle East. At least 100 have been recorded since October 7, compared to 427 incidents in the entirety of 2022.