Israel deepens its fight in enemy territory, the US holds our hand, and emboldened anti-Israel activists worldwide spell peril for Diaspora Jews
Young voters, Democrats in New York City disapprove of Israel’s war effort in Gaza, poll finds
(New York Jewish Week) — A majority of young people and self-identified Democrats in New York City disapprove of Israel’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, according to a poll released on Wednesday, which also found that New Yorkers view antisemitic prejudice in the city as a serious problem.
A majority of Democrats, 55%, disapprove of Israel’s handling of the war, while 28% approve. Among respondents aged 18-34, 56% disapprove of Israel’s conduct while 24% approve, according to the poll from Quinniapac University. Republicans were more supportive, with 73% approving of Israel’s war effort.
Only 37% of New Yorkers overall approved of Israel’s war against Hamas, while 45% disapproved. The remainder did not have an opinion.
The survey queried 1,297 self-identified registered voters in New York City between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4. It had a margin of error of 2.7%.
Views of the conflict were also split along racial lines, with 55% of white New Yorkers approving of Israel, while 59% of Black respondents, 44% of Hispanic respondents and 62% of Asians disapproved. Among Jews, 72% approved of Israel’s response.
Respondents were also divided regarding sending more military aid to Israel, with 45% in support and 46% opposed. Eighty-one percent of Jews were in favor of further aid to Israel.
The survey found that 72% of New Yorkers are concerned about prejudice against Jews, with 43% calling it a “very serious problem.” Close to a quarter said antisemitism was not so serious, and eight percent said it was not an issue at all.
Among Jews, 90% viewed antisemitism as a concern, with 63% seeing the prejudice as very serious, and 27% as somewhat serious. Eight percent rated it as not so serious.
Data from the New York Police Department and Jewish security groups has indicated a surge in antisemitic hate crimes since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, with 62 anti-Jewish incidents reported to police last month.
A majority of New Yorkers — 63% — also said that anti-Muslim prejudice was a problem, including 53% of Jews (the survey did not include data for Muslims as a separate category). There are consistently fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews in New York City, according to NYPD data, although there has also been an uptick in Islamophobic incidents since the outbreak of the war.
The poll found that New Yorkers broadly disapproved of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who had a 28% job approval rating. The figure represented the lowest job approval rating for a New York City mayor since Quinnipiac began polling the city’s voters in 1996. Most other New York City officials received similarly low ratings.
The poll showed that voters disapprove of Adams’ handling of a range of issues, from crime to the arrival of migrants to homelessness, and also do not find him trustworthy or a strong leader. The poll did not ask voters’ opinion of Adams’ vocal support for Israel during the war.
Affordable housing and crime were ranked as the most urgent issues facing the city.
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Harvard University President Condemns Genocide Against Jews After Backlash for Equivocating on Issue
Harvard University president Claudine Gay on Wednesday issued a statement walking back and clarifying remarks she made the prior day in which she suggested that calling for the genocide of Jews did not necessarily constitute bullying and harassment on campus.
“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” Gay said in a statement posted to X/Twitter by Harvard. “Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”
Gay’s statement came after she received a wave of criticism for her testimony before the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding campus antisemitism, which has been surging since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. For three hours, Gay and the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts of Institute of Technology evaded questions about their plans to combat an alarming spike in antisemitic incidents, including demonstrations calling for Israel’s destruction and the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students at college campuses across the US.
In one tense exchange during the hearing, all three presidents gave indirect answers when asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Harvard alumnus, whether calling for the genocide of Jews constituted bullying and harassment. Stefanik referenced the chanting of slogans such as “globalize the intifada,” “there is only one solution, intifada revolution,” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”— all widely interpreted as calls for violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel.
“We embrace a commitment to free expression even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful — it’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, and intimidation,” Gay said, refusing to provide a definitive answer.
“Does that speech not cross that barrier? Does that speech not call for the genocide of Jews and the elimination of Israel?” Stefanik asked, visibly disturbed by Gay’s answer.
“We embrace a commitment to free expression and give a wide berth to free expression even of views that are objectionable, outrageous, and offensive,” Gay responded. She also said that calls implying the genocide of Jews and Israelis “can be [considered bullying or harassment] depending on the context.”
Gay’s equivocating sparked outrage across social media, with Jewish leaders and non-Jewish allies calling for her to resign from her position.
“You refused to state that calling for the genocide of the Jewish people would violate Harvard policies,” Harvard Law School alumnus Ben Badejo wrote in a letter to Gay that was posted on X. “In so doing, you betrayed the most fundamental values of our country and of all decent people.”
StopAntisemitism, a watchdog that documents antisemitic incidents across the world, said Gay’s more recent statement from Wednesday should have been stated during her testimony to Congress.
“Then why didn’t you say this during your congressional hearing yesterday!?” the group said. “Step down. You are a failure.”
Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, added, “Why was Claudine Gay unable to say this at the hearing and it took universal outrage and condemnation for you to issue this clarification?”
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, Gay’s tenure has been beset by accusations that she is not sympathetic to the Jewish community’s concerns about rising antisemitism and has provided refuge to Harvard students who cheered Hamas’ violence.
For several days, Gay waited to condemn the Hamas atrocities, and when she did, her statement said nothing about antisemitism. When 31 Harvard student groups, led by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, issued a statement blaming Israel for Hamas’ brutality, Gay defended their right to free speech and said they should not be punished or barred from being hired at prestigious businesses and firms after completing their education.
Following weeks of criticism, Gay eventually denounced Harvard students’ chanting of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” last month and announced a campus initiative for fighting antisemitism.
“Harvard was founded to advance human dignity through education,” Gay said. “We inherited a faith in reason to overcome ignorance, in truth to surmount hate. Antisemitism is destructive to our mission. We will not solve every disagreement, bridge every divide, heal every wound. But if we shrink from this struggle, we betray our ideals.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
The post Harvard University President Condemns Genocide Against Jews After Backlash for Equivocating on Issue first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Criticism mounts against UPenn president after she declines to say calls for genocide of Jews constitute harassment
(JTA) — Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said the University of Pennsylvania board should make a “determination” about the school’s president, who is facing pressure to resign after she declined to say outright that calls for the genocide of Jews violate the university’s code of conduct.
The outcry follows a congressional hearing on Tuesday in which the presidents of Penn, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were all asked whether calls for the genocide of Jews constitute bullying or harassment on campus. All three said it depended on “context.”
The exchange has gone viral and prompted broad condemnation, including from the White House. Biden administration spokesman Andrew Bates said in an email, “It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country.”
“Any statements that advocate for the systematic murder of Jews are dangerous and revolting – and we should all stand firmly against them, on the side of human dignity and the most basic values that unite us as Americans,” Bates added.
Shapiro, a Jewish Democrat, is among the most prominent voices calling on Penn’s president, Liz Magill, to face consequences for her response during the hearing. Shapiro did not say Magill should be fired. But he asked the board to convene soon and said if it did not, he said he would see what the state could do.
“Right now the board at Penn has a serious decision they need to make,” Shapiro said Wednesday. He said the board should “meet soon” to determine whether the “testimony under oath of their president in front of Congress represents the values of the University of Pennsylvania and the views of the board of the University of Pennsylvania.”
While Penn is a private institution, its charter names the state’s governor as a non-voting trustee — a position with considerable influence if not power. Shapiro said he would wait to hear from the Penn board before considering any state action.
“I’ve said many times, leaders have a responsibility to speak and act with moral clarity, and Liz Magill failed to meet that simple test,” Shapiro said.
In addition to Shapiro’s comments, Marc Rowan, the chair of Wharton, Penn’s business school, has called on the university’s board to withdraw its support for Magill, according to The New York Times. A petition calling for her resignation has garnered 1,500 signatures. Eyal Yacoby, a Penn student who joined Republican leaders at a press conference prior to the hearing on Tuesday, has filed a lawsuit with another student alleging that the university “subjects them to a pervasively hostile educational environment,” the campus newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, reported.
Shapiro made clear that there was little love lost between him and Magill ever since the campus hosted an event on Palestinian culture in September that included speakers who Jewish groups have said are antisemitic. Following that conference, donors have withdrawn their support from the school, and a federal civil rights complaint has been filed against it.
“I have spoken to President Magill multiple times since that hateful festival that they had on campus,” he said. “I’ve spoken with the chairman of the board multiple times, I made concrete steps that I thought they needed to take to make sure that all students feel safe on campus. They have seemingly failed every step of the way to take concrete action to make sure all students feel safe on campus. And then, the testimony yesterday took it to the next level.”
Jewish groups also condemned the exchange on “genocide” at the congressional hearing.
“How can Jewish and pro-Israel students and faculty possibly feel safe when fellow students and faculty can call for their elimination with impunity?” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations wrote to all 50 governors recommending an “action plan” to make campuses safer for Jews.
One recommendation was that governors “conduct a third-party review of university policies and procedures related to antisemitism” that would “consider campus environment, including an assessment of antisemitic attitudes, current university policies for investigating antisemitism complaints, and consistency of treatment in handling of antisemitism complaints versus other kinds of discrimination.”
Shapiro was speaking to reporters after visiting Goldie’s, a kosher eatery targeted over the weekend by pro-Palestinian protesters who accused it of “genocide,” which Shapiro likened to Nazi Germany.
Shapiro had stopped by Goldie’s in a show of solidarity and for lunch (a falafel sandwich and a tahini shake.). He said the targeting of Jewish-owned stores was antisemitic.
“What they did was blatant antisemitism,” he said. “They protested in restaurants, simply because it’s owned by a Jewish person. That is the kind of antisemitic tropes that we saw in 1930s Germany.”