Anti-Israel students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York occupied a campus building and held a “mock trial” in which they convicted school president Martha Pollack of complicity in “apartheid” and “genocide against Palestinian civilians” due to the university’s links to Israeli institutions and companies that do business with the Jewish state.
The Cornell Coalition for Mutual Liberation (CML) occupied an administrative building from Friday until Sunday, by which time the administration had acceded to their call for a meeting with the university’s chief financial officer to discuss their demands, according to the Cornell Daily Sun, a campus newspaper.
Among the demands were adopting a controversial definition of antisemitism with restrictive standards around when anti-Israel speech and activity are antisemitic and divesting from companies linked to and supportive of the Jewish state.
The group promoted their demonstration with a flyer that read, “Martha Pollack on trial for Cornell’s investment in the genocide of Palestinians…We need a crowd!”
During the “trial,” in which speakers said they were “prosecuting” Pollack, CML denounced the university’s collaboration with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and investments in Tata Motors, Hewlett Packard, and Raytheon, alleging those connections make Cornell complicit in what they falsely described as Israeli “genocide” and “war crimes” against the Palestinians.
“Cornell is complicit in genocide! Martha is complicit in genocide” the students chanted. After “convicting” Pollack, they chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of Israel, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
One speaker told the crowd that all global resistance movements are connected.
“I think the sea is narrow, and I think our blood is near,” the student said. “The waterway that connects Southeast Asia, that connects South Asia, that connects the [Middle East and North Africa] region — that connects us to Europe — are deeply, deeply tied. We are not far from each other.”
Eventually, CML met with Ryan Lombardi, Cornell’s vice president of student campus life, who agreed to contact the school’s chief financial officer Christopher Cowen for a meeting about their demands. However, he was reluctant to agree to their demands about adopting the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism, which has been much less widely accepted by experts, governments, and civic institutions around the world than the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
“The institution is not typically in the practice of adopting outside definitions that aren’t ours, and I am trying to stay out of that. But that’s something that would require an additional discussion,” Lombardi was quoted as saying. “I don’t know what the process would look like and I would need a lot of time to think about that and talk with others [in the administration] to see what that might look like.”
By Sunday, after refusing to end their occupation until a date and time for a meeting with Cowen was announced, the students claimed victory. Lombardi confirmed they would have a meeting and that eight members of CML would be allowed to attend it. Cheering the outcome, they chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Martha, Martha, you can’t hide, you’re silent on genocide.”
Cornell has made headlines for the community’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. After the atrocities, history professor Russell Rickford called the terror group’s invasion of Israel “exhilarating” and “energizing” at a pro-Palestinian rally. He has since taken a leave of absence for the remainder of the semester. Later, several posts calling for murdering Jews and raping Jewish women emerged on a popular social media forum used by Cornell students.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
British Columbia’s Jewish community is outraged after MLA Selina Robinson is removed from cabinet over remarks about Israel
Leaders of the British Columbia Jewish community have reacted with dismay to the decision by David Eby, the province’s premier, to remove Selina Robinson from her position as minister of post-secondary education and future skills on Feb. 5 due to remarks she made the previous week during an online discussion. While speaking on a panel […]
Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War
Israelis from the Gaza Envelope are calling on the government to approve their return home, roughly four months since the war’s outbreak on October 7.
The head of the Scot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, said outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, “We demand a clear statement from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister that it is safe to return to the area. Until then we are not moving from here.”
The heads of the other regional councils in the Gaza area joined Idan outside the Prime Minister’s office, where they slept last night in protest.
The regional leaders say that members of the Gaza border towns should be allowed to return to the areas if they wish, rather than being forced to live in hotels. An internal plan is set to be presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the near future.
The heads claim it is safe to return home, and are demanding that the government sign off on such a statement so residents can do so. Their protest comes as the government extended the funds allocated for their stay at hotels until July.
Following the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists, when they stormed southern Israel, murdering over 1,200 and taking hostage more than 240, tens of thousands of Israelis from the area were uprooted from their homes and placed in hotels in the Jerusalem area, Eilat, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea region. Since then, they have been living there full time, with makeshift schools set up for children and activities to keep everyone occupied. The move has also led local businesses to be completely shuttered.
Some Israelis have already moved back to their towns, which is technically allowed but under their own risk — rockets still fly near daily from Gaza and the IDF is operating within the Gaza Strip, which is minutes away from certain border towns.
The plan presented by the regional heads, they say, would mean that the towns are technically safe to return to, and therefore the risk falls under the government and the military.
This is as tens of thousands of Israelis from northern towns also remain out of their homes, with no current timeline for return due to the constant threat of Hezbollah missiles and the potential the war extends to the north.
The post Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Australian Politician Says ‘Jewish Lobby’ Uses ‘Tentacles’ to ‘Influence Power’
Video of a left-wing Australian politician discussing how “the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby” are using their “tentacles” to “influence power” went viral on Tuesday, sparking backlash from the Australian Jewish community.
Jenny Leong, an Australia Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, spoke on a panel for the Palestine Justice Movement in December to promote boycotting Israel.
“The Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups,” Leong said during the panel. “They rock up and they’re part of the campaign,” and “they offer solidarity.”
She continued: “They [the Jewish and Zionist lobby] rock up to every community meeting and event to offer that connection because their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power and I think that we need to call that out and expose that.”
Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes… pic.twitter.com/P9LokLFQwU
— NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (@NSWJBD) February 6, 2024
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which is the representative of Jews who live in New South Wales, called the remarks “despicable,” adding that “Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes to accuse Jews of covertly manipulating civic life. She has outrageously suggested that there is a sinister or evil purpose associated with Jews undertaking the most normal of activities – interacting with other Australians.”
Josh Burns, a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives, said her comments were “a direct attack on Jewish people in Australia” and that “she should unreservedly apologize.” He also called on the Australian Greens to “take responsibility and demonstrate that Jewish people in Australia are safe and respected by their Party.”
The right-leaning Australian Jewish Association wrote on X that “Every credible political party must put the Greens last. Every non-racist fair minded person must put the Greens last.”
In response to the criticism, Leong apologized for specifically using the word “tentacles,” but not for her message. She said: “Speaking on a panel during a two-hour-long event last year, I acknowledge that I used a word at one point that was an inappropriate descriptor for the influence of groups backing Netanyahu’s genocidal attacks in Gaza and the ongoing occupation – I apologise that this has caused offence.”
She continued: “It is incredibly telling that after a conversation where myself and other speakers made countless mentions of the genocidal attacks and occupation occurring in Gaza right now, that two months later more focus isn’t being put on the deaths of over 26,000 people, many of them children.”
Her comments and apology come amid increasing concern over antisemitism on the far-left, which has celebrated violent resistance against Israel since October 7, when Hamas invaded the country, killed 1,200 people, and kidnapped more than 240 more.
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