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Anti-Zionist Yale Professor Who Legitimized Hamas Massacre Should Be Removed From Classroom, Nonprofit Says

Palestinian terrorists ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot

A leading nonprofit that promotes education about Israel has implored Yale University President Peter Salovey to remove from the classroom and investigate a professor who praised Hamas’ atrocities in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“We urge you to investigate this matter fully, remove Professor Grewal from the classroom pending the outcome of the investigation, and, if any violations of university values or policy are found, to impose immediate consequences,” StandWithUs said in a letter sent to Salovey on Tuesday, explaining that such a step would protect Jewish and Israeli students from academic bias.

As The Algemeiner has previously reported, Zareena Grewal — an associate professor of American Studies, Ethnicity, Race & Migration, and Religious Studies at Yale who describes herself as a “radical Muslim” — called Israel “murderous” and “genocidal” on the day of the Hamas massacre.

“Prayers for Palestinians. Israeli [sic] is a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity #FreePalestine,” Grewal tweeted on Oct. 7, when Palestinian terrorists led by Hamas murdered 1,200 people in southern Israel and abducted 240 others to Gaza as hostages.

The professor seemed to justify the onslaught, arguing that “settlers are not civilians” and later posting, “No government on earth is as genocidal as this settler colonial state,” referring to Israel.

Grewal continued to defend and seemingly delight in Hamas’ violence, saying at one point: “It’s been such an extraordinary day!” In the ensuing days, she compared Israel’s military response to the Hamas atrocities to the Holocaust.

The disturbing tweets prompted over 55,000 people, including Yale affiliates, to sign a petition demanding that she be fired.

In Tuesday’s letter, StandWithUs (SWU) criticized Yale University’s response to Grewal’s tweets, which the school only commented on in a statement that affirmed its commitment to free speech and noted that Grewal had spoken for herself on her “personal” social media accounts.

“This entirely misses the point, and more importantly, attempts to abdicate Yale of responsibility,” the letter continued, arguing that declining to punish hateful rhetoric aimed at Jews while forcefully doing so when other minority groups are targeted constitutes a civil rights violation. “Instead of pretending that principles of free speech and academic freedom require it to shield Professor Grewal from accountability, Yale, as a private institution, can and should take action here to address the abhorrent and antisemitic rhetoric of this professor.”

The group also suggested that Grewal is benefiting from a left-wing bias, referencing how in 2018, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua was subjected to investigations and rumor-mongering after she expressed approval of then-US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh in a Wall Street Journal column.

“Your administration’s failure to treat this matter with the appropriate level of seriousness unfortunately speaks volumes about Yale’s lack of concern for the Jewish and Israeli members of its campus community,” the letter concluded. “We urge you to send a clear message to your community that you protect your Jewish and Israeli students, that there is no place for discrimination or bigotry at Yale, and that all members of your community are valued and protected equally. The best way to start is through action and enforcement of your own policies and applicable legal provisions.”

SWU’s missive to Salovey comes amid a surge in antisemitism on college campuses across the West. Universities have been hubs of such antisemitism since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, with students and faculty both demonizing Israel and rationalizing the Palestinian terror group’s onslaught. Incidents of harassment and even violence against Jewish students have also increased. As a result, Jewish students have expressed feeling unsafe and unprotected on campuses.

Grewal is not the first faculty member employed by an elite American university to make public statements that have drawn accusations of antisemitism, and responses to such utterances have varied.

In October, Cornell University President Martha Pollack condemned history professor Russell Rickford for saying during a rally held on campus that Hamas’ violence on Oct. 7 “exhilarated” him, describing his remarks as “reprehensible” and “showing no regard whatsoever for humanity.” Rickford later requested and was granted a leave of absence.

Columbia University, however, issued no statement nor took any action after professor Joseph Massad, said in a column published in Electronic Intifada that Hamas’ invasion was “awesome” and that the terrorists who para-glided into a music festival in Israel to rape and murder the young people there were “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.” Neither did the University of California, Berkeley after Gender and Women Studies Department lecturer Brooke Lober falsely claimed during a city council meeting in Oakland, California that Israel fabricated accounts of Hamas’ atrocities and that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), not Hamas, murdered Israeli civilians.

“The notion that this was a massacre of Jews is a fabricated narrative,” Lober said. “Many of those killed on Oct. 7, including children, were killed by the IDF.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaking to legislators during the State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024 at South Dakota State Captiol in Pierre. Photo: Samantha Laurey and Argus Leader via REUTERS CONNECT

South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.

“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”

CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.

Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.

Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.

Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.

“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”

“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.

The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.

“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.

The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.

Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.

“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution

Graphic posted by University of California, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine on February 21, 2024 to celebrate the student government’s passing an resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.

The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.

Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.

“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”

Other council members  voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.

Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.

“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”

University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.

“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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