ZBT adopts new position statement

By Jason A. Horowitz —

Zeta Beta Tau stays ever true to our original founding as a Zionist and Jewish organization. Though modern context may need to be applied and enacted at times, ZBT is committed to supporting our Jewish brothers facing antisemitism and to combatting movements to delegitimize the state of Israel on campus.

In recent years, the Supreme Council and Fraternity leadership has taken public, proactive steps to reinforce and remind us of how important this matter is to our Brotherhood. In 2015, we adopted a public statement condemning the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement and later we officially adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Council adopted a new position statement reiterating the Fraternity’s stance in condemning antisemitism and supporting Israel in this time of pronounced antisemitism and extremist activism. Our chapters need clear direction and firm language to use when faced with antisemitic incidents on their campuses and online. In recent weeks, ZBT responded to campus-based incidents in New York, Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, and the new statement has been a crucial part of the effort. Undergraduate brothers are utilizing ZBT’s position statement to take a stand against antisemitism and support Israel on their campuses.

Here is the full position statement:

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity

Position Statement on Antisemitism and Israel

Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity was founded as a Zionist organization and soon became the world’s first Jewish fraternity, due to the exclusion of Jewish men from other fraternal organizations. One hundred twenty-four years after its founding, acknowledging the increase in antisemitism across the United States, ZBT reiterates its commitment to combatting and condemning antisemitism in all forms.

Furthermore, we stand steadfast in our support of the right of the State of Israel and its people to live in peace and security with its neighbors and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their historic homeland. We condemn the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and any other movement that aims to delegitimize Israel for any reason. We firmly stand against any movement that creates a hostile environment for Jews on university and college campuses. We denounce measures that encourage, condone, or permit antisemitic statements or actions.

Recognizing the increase in antisemitism across the United States, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of “antisemitism” which states:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

Examples of antisemitism from the IHRA can be found here.

This definition of antisemitism has been adopted by the United States government and governments of dozens of other countries, dozens of institutions of higher learning, and over 400 global organizations.

Zeta Beta Tau will continue to combat and denounce antisemitism whenever and wherever it occurs. We will continue to partner with organizations who share these values. We will not be silent in the face of intolerance.