‘Antisemitism Today’ addresses concerns of Jewish community


Collegian | Serena Bettis

Colorado State University Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies Carolin Aronis discusses an antisemitism incident from 2018 at the beginning of her lecture in the Lory Student Center Feb. 28. The lecture was part of the 2023 Holocaust Awareness Week hosted annually at CSU.

DJ Vicente, Staff Reporter

With the events of Colorado State University’s Holocaust Awareness Week in full swing, education and discussion surrounding the effects of the Holocaust as well as the culture and experience of the Jewish community are emphasized.

Max Dietz

One such event was “Antisemitism Today: From the World to CSU,” a lecture held by CSU Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies Carolin Aronis as well as a panel of Jewish students. The event, held Feb. 28 at the Lory Student Center, unfolded the history, harmful rhetoric and impact the spread of antisemitism has on the Jewish community.


“Many Jewish people in the U.S. feel that they are abandoned by authorities and by both their progressive and conservative non-Jewish friends,” Aronis said. “On campus, they feel that they are abandoned by administrations, diversity offices, faculty and other students.”

Aronis, alongside introductions from moderator Lauren Maskus, emphasized the modern impact of antisemitism. She led a lecture that educated attendees on the long history of hateful rhetoric and treatment toward the Jewish community, as well as the forms that hate takes in the modern day.

Aronis expanded on her experience growing up as a third-generation Holocaust survivor, discussing her familiarity with the basic conditions of hatred, being betrayed by neighbors, friends, the system and the products of the precedent antisemitic rhetoric has placed against the Jewish community.

“The point with antisemitism is that it’s not factual; there are no facts. There are a lot of accusations and practices of antisemites to reveal the actual nature of Jews like there is something to be found.” -Carolin Aronis, CSU ethnic studies assistant professor

Much of the impact of antisemitism, especially in the aftermath of the Holocaust, also led to the suppression of Jewish culture and identity in other countries, leading many to wish to hide their cultural and religious identities for safety from antisemitic retaliation.

“You’re familiar with finding your own ways of survival, with being precautious of revealing your Jewish identity and background,” Aronis said. “You know to recognize all too well the practices of the minimization of antisemitism and its total dismissal as well.”

Reflecting on her family’s history with the Holocaust, Aronis recognized the impact the event had on Jewish families, especially those like her own.

“People who are second- or third-generation Holocaust survivors are used to living with dead people in their heart,” Aronis said. “In some ways, they’ve learned to connect to (family members’) photographs and stories if they exist.”

Aronis also expanded on the history of antisemitism, which began internationally with prejudice based on Jews’ religious beliefs. Over time, Jews were discriminated against with political, racial, scientific and other forms of rhetoric, such as hateful conspiracies and horrifically blatant lies about Jewish people gathered throughout the years.

“The point with antisemitism is that it’s not factual; there are no facts,” Aronis said. “There are a lot of accusations and practices of antisemites to reveal the actual nature of Jews like there is something to be found.”


Aronis highlighted the ways in which harmful rhetoric against Jews in the United States has become more prevalent in modern times. She mentioned incidents such as one at CSU concerning a neo-Nazi group on campus in 2018, as well as the recent proliferation of antisemitic rhetoric from rapper Kanye West.

Aronis noted the ways in which antisemitism takes form, including violence in public, private and religious settings, the proliferation of Nazi and antisemitic imagery in public and Jewish places especially on college campuses social media posts sharing antisemitic ideas, political rhetoric and the minimization or denial of the Holocaust.

“Many American Jews carry fear and anxiety of being assaulted and discriminated because of wearing a Jewish identifier (and) attending Jewish institutions when they’re revealing their Jewish identity,” Aronis said.

The lecture also led to a student discussion panel where Jewish students Chaia Geltser and Aaron Gilbert and alumni Michael Lichtbach and Gavriel Binyame, who was absent at the time, gave anecdotes of their experience facing antisemitism.

Much of their discussion revolved around the prevalence of ignorance and hateful rhetoric around the culture and history of the Jewish community, giving firsthand accounts of incidents they experienced.

“Mostly what I experienced was a lack of understanding and basic ignorance,” Geltser said.

One topic brought up in the discussion was the students’ vision for a Jew-inclusive CSU. Gilbert noted that allowing Jewish students the ability to freely express themselves on campus is integral; however, Gilbert believes the window is closing on the United States being able to address the concerns of students as more Jews emigrate to other countries to escape prejudice while others stay in the United States.

Lichtbach noted that one thing he envisioned was making a more diverse campus.

“If everyone feels like they’re not sticking out because they’re the only one of that group, I think that would be the way to do it,” Lichtbach said. “Learn about each other.”

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