Limmud FSU: Students ‘must learn early to combat anti-Semitism’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Limmud FSU: Students ‘must learn early to combat anti-Semitism’

At New York's event for Russian-speaking Jews, a leading educator and a security affairs specialist talks about campus life

Co-founder Limmud FSU Sandy Cahn, Greg Schneider, Holocaust survivor Roman Kent with his honorary Limmud FSU award, and Chaim Chesler
Co-founder Limmud FSU Sandy Cahn, Greg Schneider, Holocaust survivor Roman Kent with his honorary Limmud FSU award, and Chaim Chesler

Jewish students need to be educated on how to deal with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel situations long before they get to university. This is the view of Martin Yafe, a leading educator in New York’s Jewish community and a security affairs specialist.

Argentinian-born Yafe has written a strategy, Leading on Campus, to help students to deal with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic situations plus activities of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement at universities and colleges.

Yafe was a panel member at what was arguably the stand-out session of the 120 at Limmud FSU for Russian-speaking Jews in Westchester, New York.

Only a month ago, a National Union of Students report – The Experience of Jewish Students – revealed more than two-thirds of those “whose students’ union had a BDS policy or campaign did not feel comfortable or comfortable at all with it”.

Speaking exclusively to Jewish News later, Yafe said the approach that had worked in the past to counter anti-Semitism based on facts and history was now “a myth, it’s wrong that what you need to know to counter these groups is just the facts and history. That’s bull****.”

Now, he says, “the starting point should be training students to stand up for their Jewish identity, to have their own culture accepted, rather than accepting the culture of others first”.  Once that has been achieved, moving on to enable students to deal with issues surrounding Israel becomes easier to accomplish.

However, where BDS is concerned, Yafe says matters become more complicated. Students should not decide their own reactions to BDS activities, which can be very provocative. In one case, hoax leaflets delivered by Students for Justice for Palestine to predominantly Jewish student dormitories told them their building was going to be demolished.

“I asked students what their reaction would be. Some said they would punch the perpetrators, some would talk to parents or the administration. What is right and wrong? If you write a letter, it would be seen as weak. What we have to assess is the forcefulness of the reaction.

“Students should not plan their own reaction. They should look to communal organisations to help them to forge a co-ordinated response. There are people paid to work out the strategy for these events. They know how to deal with the threats. That way students don’t get hurt but get stronger.”

Yafe, consultant and lead educator for New York’s Jewish Community Relations Council, also advocated Jewish students engaging other groups representing ethnic and other minorities to enlist their support. He said he would be happy to pass on his strategy to help students in Britain.

The latest Limmud FSU was hailed a success by founder Chaim Chesler, who said: “The  New York Russian-speaking Jewish community is thriving and Limmud FSU New York has become an integral part of this exciting growth.”

The event was organised by volunteers headed by FSU US project manager Noam Shumach-Khaimov.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: