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Cornell Student Government Rejects BDS Resolution, Signaling Major Defeat for Anti-Israel Movement

Cornell University history professor Russell Rickford speaking at a rally in which he said Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack on Israeli civilians ‘exhilarated’ him. Photo: Screenshot

In a shocking defeat for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement Cornell University’s Student Assembly, an undergraduate governing body, rejected a resolution accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza and demanding that school officials “divest” from companies it deems as “complicit” in the country’s policies, according to a report by The Cornell Daily Sun.

“Cornell University holds portfolio and direct investments in corporations that profit from Israel in corporations that profit from Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thereby making Cornell complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law,” said the resolution, proposed by the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter. “Cornell University, as a result of these institutional and financial ties, does not currently take a neutral position on the occupation of Palestinian Territories, which as a result, has harmed affected students, faculty, and staff.”

The Student Assembly overwhelmingly rejected the resolution, 16-4, The Cornell Daily Sun said. The paper added that the session in which the vote took place featured dueling demonstrations between the campus’ pro-Israel and pro-Hamas supporters, with pro-Hamas supporters showing up clad in keffiyeh — a symbol of Palestinian terrorist violence and antisemitism since the 1930s — and pro-Israel students sporting kippah and handing out information on the hostages who remain in Gaza after being kidnapped by Hamas during the terrorist group’s massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

One day before the vote, Cornell Hillel called on Jewish students to show up to the Student Assembly and oppose the resolution, noting that it marked an attempt by SJP to bring the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to Cornell during “a time of rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment” on college campuses.

“The resolution does not address the hurt felt by students at Cornell over the last four months nor does it do anything to bring the campus together,” Cornell Hillel said in a statement posted on its social media. “Boycott, divestment, and sanctions resolutions have historically deepened a climate of marginalization and intimidation of Jewish students on campus, which is our primary concern.”

US colleges and universities have experienced an alarming spike in antisemitic incidents — including demonstrations calling for Israel’s destruction and the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students — since Oct. 7, 2023. In a two month span, ADL recorded 470 antisemitic incidents on college campuses alone. During that same period, antisemitic incidents across the US skyrocketed by 323 percent compared to the prior year.

America’s most prestigious schools have been the site of numerous and unprecedented antisemitic outrages, with students and faculty spreading disinformation accusing Israel “apartheid” and “genocide” while defending Hamas’ murdering and raping on Oct. 7 as social justice “by any means necessary.”

At Cornell, antisemitic hatred mushroomed into threats of more slaughter and sexual violence in several posts published on a popular social media forum used by students.

“The genocidal fascist zionist [sic] regime will be destroyed,” said one of the posts. Another said, “if I see a pig male jew i will stab you and slit your throat. if i see another pig female jew i will drag you away and rape you and throw you off a cliff. if i see another pig baby jew i will behead you in front of your parents [sic].”

In addition to threatening the lives of Cornell’s 3,500 Jewish students, who are 22 percent of the school’s student population, the posts called for an attack on a campus kosher dining hall — named 104West  — affiliated with the Steven K. And Winifred A. Grinspoon Hillel Center.

Cornell has also seen extreme rhetoric uttered by its faculty. Earlier this month, history professor Russell Rickford called the Hamas terror group’s invasion of Israel “exhilarating” and “energizing” at a pro-Palestinian rally.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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‘Zionist Fascists:’ Assailants of Jewish Students at Top French University Remain at Large

“From Gaza to Paris, Resistance!” A sign on display at a pro-Hamas demonstration in France. Photo: Reuters/Fiora Garenzi

Police in France have yet to make an arrest in the case of three Jewish men who were brutally assaulted by a pro-Hamas mob on the campus of the University of Strasbourg last Sunday night while they put up posters calling for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

The three men, two of whom are students, were set upon by a group of six people who threw kicks and punches while shouting “Zionist fascists,” according to a statement released on Friday by the university’s president Michel Deneken.

Deneken said that he “strongly condemned” the assault, pointing out that while the attack took place on Sunday, he was only informed of it on Thursday.

One of the victims was “hit and thrown to the ground,” Deneken said.

“It’s very serious,” he added. “This is violence that we have never known here.”

A spokesperson for the Strasbourg police confirmed that the assault had taken place, but that none of the victims were hospitalized as a result. “No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson told the AFP news agency.

The attack was also condemned by the Mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian. In a post on the X/Twitter social media platform, Barseghian said that she extended her support to the victims.

“The police must now investigate so that the necessary action can be taken,” she added.

A separate statement from the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF) noted that the three victims had been putting up posters highlighting the plight of the hostages captured by Hamas terrorists during their Oct. 7, 2023 pogrom in southern Israel. They were spotted by an “anti-Zionist activist” who verbally abused them. She then left the scene, only to return with five other Hamas supporters who beat and insulted the three victims, leaving one of them  with “severe bruising.”

Samuel Lejoyeux, the president of the UEJF, urged that the attack “not go unpunished.”

“It must also serve as a widespread warning: the demonization of Israel fed by far-left groups in universities leads to antisemitic violence. It is urgent to stop tolerating it,” he added.

In a report last Wednesday, the Jewish umbrella organization Crif disclosed that 1676 antisemitic incidents had been recorded in France in 2023 — four times the number registered during the previous year and an unprecedented record,

While in past years the majority of the incidents involved vandalism of property, last year 58 percent of the incidents recorded were directed against people, with 13 percent occurring in schools.

The Oct. 7 atrocities had “acted like a catalyst for hatred by activating latent antisemitism,” Crif president Yonathan Arfi told the AFP news agency.

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German Jewish Academics Launch Network to Combat Rising Campus Antisemitism

A march against antisemitism in the German city of Dusseldorf. Photo: Reuters/Ying Tang

A group of Jewish university professors in Germany have announced the launch of a cross-campus network to offer support and develop strategies to combat the rising antisemitic climate since the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas pogrom in Israel.

In an interview on Friday with the Spiegel news outlet, Prof. Julia Bernstein — a founder of the network who teaches at the Frankfurt University of Applied Science — said that many Jewish academics were hiding their identities or staying away from campus because “they no longer feel safe in the workplace.”

“Antisemitism has increased dramatically since Oct. 7, and there is no reason to think that universities, as a microcosm of society, are any different,” Bernstein observed.

The network is currently comprised of 70 Jewish academics at universities in Germany, as well as Austria and Switzerland. Other founders of the network include pianist Roglit Ishay, professor of music at the Freiburg University of Music; Haya Schulmann, computer science professor at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main; Michael Waidner, Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Darmstadt; and Deidre Berger, partner of the Berlin Tikvah Institute and the long-time head of the American Jewish Committee’s office in Berlin.

The immediate goal of the network is to provide Jewish academics with a “safe space,” Bernstein said.

“The pedagogical or academic examination of the topic of antisemitism is important. Now, however, the first step is to ensure security for Jews, at universities and of course beyond,” she added.

Last month, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger warned that university students who engage in antisemitism could face expulsion from their institutions.

“What before Oct. 7 was perhaps only thought and not lived is now very public — also in the universities,” she said.

On a recent interview with the NZZ news outlet, Hanna Veiler, the president of the Jewish student union JSUD, warned that there had been “a veritable explosion of antisemitic ideas” in the weeks since the Hamas atrocities. She criticized the management of the universities for “reacting far too slowly.” Students convicted of antisemitism should be deregistered, she asserted, along with a ban on “antisemitic, anti-democratic, and extremist” groups.


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This Is Not 1938

The UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgThe International Court of Justice has delivered its interim judgment on the South African government’s “genocide” charge against Israel. Even a political body appointed by the U.N. General Assembly whose members are mainly non-democratic states couldn’t bring itself to order Israel to accept a ceasefire in its war against Hamas. But we should not be grateful for that. The ICJ had no moral right to the power to order Israel to cease its just war of self-defense in the first place.

What these so-called judges should have done is express the gratitude of the international community of civilized nations for the bravery and sacrifice of Israel’s young soldiers, who are going door-to-door to fight the forces of barbarism in the Middle East. They are doing this so that many of you reading this column, who live in the free world, will not have to do it yourselves in your own cities to protect your own children and grandchildren.

This is not 1938. It is 2024. The Jewish people do not have to go on their knees to beg for the right to defend themselves against those who seek to exterminate us.

With God’s blessing, we have a sovereign Jewish state for the first time in almost 2,000 years, protected by a powerful army that ensures Jewish blood is not spilled with impunity. The Oct. 7 attacks were the bloodiest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. But we are not living in Holocaust times. The IDF is defending Jewish lives and making sure such an attack can never be repeated. In time, the vicious jihadi terror group that perpetrated this massacre will be defeated, disarmed and removed from power.

God has given us another blessing. While around half the Jewish world lives in the sovereign State of Israel, around 95% of the other half lives in free democracies, where we have built strong, proud, vibrant Jewish communities.

Enjoying full political and civil rights, we are flourishing as contributing members of our societies, wielding influence and power, and playing vital roles in changing society for the better. We have the right, the resources and the capacity to support and defend the interests of the State of Israel and the Jewish people in this just war of self-defense.

And unlike 1938, we are not alone. We have allies around the world: Fair-minded, decent citizens and free democratic governments who are fully behind Israel and the Jewish people at this moment of crisis. Our allies can see clearly the justice of Israel’s cause. Unlike the ICJ, they know who are the real genocidal forces.

They support us because it’s the right thing to do. Justice demands it. But also because they realize that this is not just a war against the Jews. This is a war against the most cherished values of the free world: human dignity, freedom, tolerance, the rule of law and basic human rights. Around the free world, there are many who are grateful to the IDF for fighting terrorists in Gaza so they will not have to fight them in the U.S. or Europe.

We have seen this support manifest itself in many different ways. There is rock-solid support from the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Indian governments, as well as from African countries including Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia. Other democracies around the world have joined them. Germany heroically pledged to stand by Israel in the dock at the ICJ proceedings. Moreover, the historic Abraham Accords with important Arab countries have weathered the storm of the Gaza war. Except for a handful of signatories, not one Arab nation sanctioned or joined the ICJ proceedings.

The countries that support South Africa’s ICJ application are almost exclusively dictatorships that feel threatened by free democracies. But we also have opponents within democratic countries. Like the African National Congress Party and its government in South Africa, there are forces within the U.K. Labour Party and the U.S. Democratic Party, among others, who are enemies of Israel.

But the forces of good are achieving significant victories, such as prompting the resignation of the presidents of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania after they failed to unequivocally condemn calls for the genocide of Jews.

There was also the recent publication of a bipartisan letter by more than 200 members of the U.S. Congress expressing their disgust at South Africa’s ICJ filing, saying that it “perpetuates false and dangerous allegations against the Jewish state” and encouraging “allies to join us in speaking out against this unfounded attack on Israel, particularly at the United Nations and in other intergovernmental organizations.”

The Jewish world is strong and we have allies in the fight against genocidal movements, who threaten not only us but the civilized world, exactly as the Nazis did.

We are not the Jews of 1938, the Roman expulsion or the Spanish Inquisition. We are not the Jews who were massacred in the pogroms of Europe. When confronted with fearsome enemies, Jews of previous generations had no choice but to take flight. This generation can and will fight. We will fight back with every measure possible—with dignity, strength, self-belief and a sense of justice for our cause.

But we have to be aware of our strength, our purpose and our dignity. We have to go forward with confidence and conviction. In 1938, vulnerable and fearful, with nowhere to run and no allies in the world, we were sent to our slaughter. Today, with God’s blessings, we have risen from the ashes of the Holocaust.

We are a proud, great people with a long history that began when we were born at the foot of Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago. We have a presence stretching across the globe with an independent Jewish state in our biblical homeland, incredible resources and loyal allies.

God has blessed us. We need to believe in ourselves and send the message to all of our enemies that we will not be cowed, we will not be pushed around, we will not be slaughtered with impunity. This is a moral charge. We will defend the survival of our people and, indeed, the free world from the forces of barbarism.

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