In response to recent acts of violence against Jewish people on college campuses and in other gathering places, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) reaffirms its commitment to fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments in its member libraries and archives so that communities may find in them the resources they need for inclusive and informed dialogue.
Anti-Semitism, racism, and hate in any form are antithetical to the mission of libraries to advance society by facilitating discovery, education, and innovation. As stewards of the historical, artistic, and scientific record, ARL member institutions are committed to documenting voices of marginalized populations and to providing safe and inclusive spaces for our communities. ARL therefore strongly condemns these anti-Semitic incidents and all acts of bias.
In addition to the tragic killing of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 27, college campus communities have experienced an escalation of anti-Semitic events over the past year. Data compiled by the Anti-Defamation League show that anti-Jewish incidents on campuses in the US rose 89 percent in 2017, a distressing uptick in an unfortunately long history of such incidents on college and university campuses.
Additionally, advocacy groups have documented an alarming rise of anti-Jewish propaganda on social media by right-wing extremists leading up to the 2018 midterm elections in the US. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Hate Crimes Statistics, 2017 documented 938 hate crimes motivated by anti-Jewish bias in 2017, an increase of 37 percent over 2016, and attacks on Jewish people comprised 60 percent of the religion-based hate crimes reported to the FBI during 2017. In Canada, incidents of anti-Jewish vandalism more than doubled in 2017, while incidents of violence rose by 31 percent, according to an analysis by B’Nai Brith Canada.
In light of these troubling statistics, ARL encourages the higher education and research community to redouble its efforts to foster inclusive dialogue by following documented best practices such as those offered by the Interfaith Youth Core. Research institutions across the US and Canada continue to condemn these anti-Semitic attacks and to offer opportunities for increased learning and competencies in diversity, equity, and inclusion, just as people of all faiths and beliefs continue to express their solidaritywith and hold vigils for the victims.
Association of Research Libraries president Susan Gibbons said, “ARL libraries and archives are committed to providing safe spaces for their communities, especially in this time of increasing attacks on underrepresented populations. Through education and advocacy, we strive to reduce oppression and persecution and to promote a more diverse, equitable, inclusive society.”