College Newspapers Are ‘Obsessed With Israel’ and Produce ‘Extremely Biased’ Coverage, Watchdog Says

An anti-Israel student protest in Louisville, Ky. / Getty Images
September 20, 2022

U.S. campus newspapers are "obsessed with Israel," publishing nearly 1,500 articles about the country since 2017—and much of the coverage is "extremely biased" against the Jewish state, according to a study by a college watchdog group.

Over the past five years, campus newspapers across the United States published at least 1,450 articles about Israel, and a plurality of the stories were slanted against Israel, according to the Alums for Campus Fairness study, which was shared with the Washington Free Beacon.

Over one-third of the articles "present[ed] the Jewish state in a negative way," while 17 percent "provided a positive view of the country."

The findings come as universities are experiencing a spike in anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism and reflect a growing climate of hostility against Jewish students and campus groups.

Examples of bias included reports on the Israel-Palestinian conflict that excluded perspectives from Jewish students or omitted key details, such as the fact that Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip over 15 years ago, according to the report.

"Campus newspapers must include Jewish student and alumni voices when covering topics involving the Jewish community," said Avi D. Gordon, executive director of Alums for Campus Fairness. "A great deal of bias results from the exclusion of Jewish voices and Jewish perspectives."

Gordon said Jewish students and alumni should also be more proactive and "reach out to student reporters to build relationships and offer themselves up as sources."

The study looked at 75 college newspapers. It found that small liberal arts colleges "exhibited the most anti-Israel bias" while larger public universities produced the most Israel-related content. The schools with the highest percentage of anti-Israel stories were Haverford, Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, and Oberlin—although these colleges published fewer articles on the topic than the larger universities.

One-third of Jewish college students said they experienced anti-Semitism in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League—and many said the incidents stemmed from anti-Israel activism. The Department of Education is investigating complaints from Jewish students at the University of Vermont, who say they were excluded from campus groups and received lower grades for expressing support for Israel.

Update 2:48 p.m.: This piece has been updated to correct the name of Avi D. Gordon's organization. It is Alums for Campus Fairness, not Alums for Israel.