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Columbia University Details Hostile Environment Toward Jewish Students in First Antisemitism Task Force Report

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

Columbia University’s Task Force on Antisemitism has released a new report detailing the numerous challenges that Jewish and pro-Israel students at the school have faced since Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“While mourning Hamas’ unspeakable atrocities on Oct. 7, some Jewish and Israeli Columbia affiliates have been the object of racist epithets and graffiti, antisemitic tropes, and confrontational and unwelcome questions, while others have found their participation in some student groups that have nothing to do with politics to be increasingly uncomfortable,” the task force’s report said, calling on the university to enforce civil rights protections.

The report also discussed violations of rules for holding demonstrations on campus, noting that “protesters have disrupted classes and events, taken over spaces in academic buildings, held unauthorized demonstrations, and used ugly language to berate individuals who were filming these protests or just walking by.” Columbia has been a hub of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas demonstrations for the past five months.

Most notably, the report explained that Columbia University has not treated Jews the same as other protected groups, allegedly ignoring their concerns about antisemitic speech uttered by anti-Zionists despite issuing tendentious statements about other “protected classes” in times when “policing, affirmative action, sexual assault, transgender rights, and other important issues” are the subjects of tense public debate.

“This is a challenging issue, since there are important reasons to value the perspective of both the speaker and the audience,” the report continued. “But regardless of how this issue is resolved, the university needs to be consistent in its approach.”

Anti-Israel demonstrators at Columbia University transformed the campus into an enclave of antisemitism where Jewish students have been berated and assaulted at whim after Oct. 7, the group Students Against Antisemitism claimed in a lawsuit filed last month with the help of the StandWithUs Legal Center for Justice.

The complaint alleges 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, beating up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish student with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held its demonstrations, according to the lawsuit. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel, a recognized pro-Israel 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 while no one explained the inconsistency.

Responding to the task force’s report, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik complimented the authors in a copiously worded statement, but she did not commit to implementing their recommendations.

“I welcome the the initial report of the Task Force on Antisemitism and am grateful to the co-chairs and task force members from Columbia, Barnard College, and Teachers College for their hard and thoughtful work,” Shafik said. “As the task force makes clear, it is essential to ensure that debates and disagreements across Columbia are rooted in academic rigor and civil discourse, and that Jewish students, faculty, and staff, and all members of our community, feel safe, supported, and included. The task force’s important work will continued across a number of fronts as the university works to address this ancient, but sadly persistent, form of hate.”

The task force’s work has not stopped anti-Zionist students at Columbia University from continuing to attack Jewish identity.

On Monday, The Columbia Spectator reported that the Columbia College Student Council voted to hold a referendum on a question, written by the Columbia University Apartheid Divest coalition, asking students to support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement seeks to isolate Israel from the international community as a step toward the Jewish state’s eventual elimination.

Among other things, the referendum question calls for shuttering the university’s Tel Aviv Global Center before it opens and cancelling a dual degree program administered in partnership with Tel Aviv University.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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