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Ithaca College President Rejects Anti-Zionist Group’s Demands

Illustrative Pro-Hamas and anti-Israel activists march to the White House and demand a cease-fire in Gaza. Photo: Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via Reuters Connect

The president of Ithaca College, a school located in New York, has rejected the demands of an anti-Zionist group on campus that staged a “die-in” at the school’s Peggy Ryan Williams Center while events for newly admitted students took place there.

According to The Ithacan, the official campus newspaper of Ithaca College, President La Jerne Terry Cornish refused to accede to three demands made by Students for Palestine (SFP): issuing a statement acknowledging a falsely alleged genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, shuttering Ithaca Hillel’s Birthright program for Jewish students, and, in the paper’s words, an audit “that would provide access to information about if the college receives funding from any Israeli or Zionist corporations.”

Through the college’s public relations office, Cornish told the paper that she has higher priorities.

“President Cornish told them that her sphere of influence and focus remains on representing the entire Ithaca College community, and that the best use of her voice is in advocating for dialogue across differences and in encouraging further opportunities for education, both inside and outside of the classroom,” college spokesperson Dave Maley said in a statement.

“President Cornish has great concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and she stands by her previous statements to the campus community expressing her horror at the ongoing violence in Gaza and Israel; her support for the college’s Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students; and her condemnation of all forms of hatred and bigotry, including Islamophobia and antisemitism,” Maley continued.

One student told The Ithacan that Students for Palestine intends to take further action, such as “showing the administration how many students are disappointed and unhappy and angry with them.” He suggested that a legion of students will join them to “keep pushing that it is not okay to stay silent.”

“Sit-ins” and “die-ins,” demonstrations in which anti-Zionist students unlawfully occupy a building and lie on the floor for hours until campus officials give them what they want, have occurred at higher education institutions across the country since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of civilians in southern Israel.

Last week, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee suspended over a dozen students belonging to an anti-Zionist group that occupied an administrative building and refused to leave, according to the school’s official newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler. During the demonstration, students performed in full view of their peers private bathroom functions, including relieving themselves in plastic bottles. The suspended students are banned from campus until further notice.

Another sit-in at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, staged by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has lasted nearly a week despite the college’s president, Sarah Willie-LeBreton, saying that the demonstration is against school policy and has interfered with official business, including serving students who are disabled.

“Disruption is necessary when injustice is occurring,” SJP said on Sunday in a statement attached to a petition which defends the group’s actions. “There can be no status quo during genocide, at Smith College, or anywhere. There is no disability justice, no equity and inclusion, no protection from legal discrimination, no class justice than can exist without a free Palestine.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips

After a weekend overnight shutdown of Israeli airspace, during which time Iranian missiles and drones attacked the country, Canadians ware cautiously optimistic that travel to and from Ben Gurion Airport will resume regular schedules later this week. Air Canada cancelled departures from Toronto on Saturday and from Tel Aviv on Monday—the latter despite the airport […]

The post Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students

Students accusing Israel of genocide at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, Nov. 16, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lawyers representing Harvard University in Massachusetts have requested the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by six Jewish students who accused the school of ignoring antisemitic discrimination.

According to The Harvard Crimson, the university said in a court filing that a lawsuit, as well as a period of discovery during which its conduct would be thoroughly examined, was not necessary due to the “tangible steps” it has taken to combat antisemitism in just the past few months. Additionally, the school argued that the civil suit, led by graduate student Shabbos Kestenbaum and Students Against Antisemitism, lacked standing.

“Without minimizing at all the importance of the need to address energetically antisemitism at the university, plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the strategy and speed of Harvard’s essential work does not state a legally cognizable claim,” said the motion to dismiss, as quoted by The Crimson. “Consequently, the amended complaint should be dismissed.”

Harvard University recently received an “F” grade for its handling of antisemitism in a first-ever Campus Antisemitism Report Card issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, students have stormed the campus calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, terrorizing students and preventing some from attending class.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who —as seen in the footage — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

In February, a faculty group posted on social an antisemitic cartoon which showed a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David dangling two men of color from a noose.

These incidents, and more, are currently being investigated by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which is probing Harvard’s handling of skyrocketing instances of antisemitic intimidation and harassment on campus.

Proclaiming that Harvard “failed Jews repeatedly,” Kestenbaum told The Crimson that he would not stand down.

“Harvard’s meritless motion to dismiss our lawsuit only proves our point: It has never taken the concerns of us Jewish students seriously, and has no plans to start now,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure in both the court of law and the court of public opinion … We hope that donors and prospective students follow closely.”

No Ivy League school earned better than a “C” in the ADL’s landmark report, a grade awarded to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Four others — Columbia University, Brown University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania — received “D’s” while Harvard and Princeton University both received “F’s.”

“Every campus should get an A — that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects,” ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the report. “They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before Oct. 7.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War

Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel, near Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli army’s chief medical officer told a recent gathering of NATO and allied officials about the striking success of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in saving injured soldiers during the war against Hamas in Gaza.

According to IDF Medical Corps chief Elon Glassberg, the army has brought the time between the moment of injury and seeing a senior medical practitioner to under four minutes, and in many cases under one minute. One reason for the speed is that the IDF has changed its strategy for treating wounded soldiers from the typical field hospitals to which soldiers are evacuated and treated — and in serious cases transferred via helicopter to a hospital — to a system that brings doctors to the battlefield with soldiers.

The new system has, according to Glassberg, more than 670 doctors and paramedics embedded within combat groups in Gaza. As a result, wounded soldiers are given immediate care.

Additionally, the new policy calls for airlifting every wounded soldier to a hospital via helicopter, which are on standby at all times and outfitted to be like flying emergency rooms, staffed with surgeons and intensive care doctors.

The IDF has conducted over 950 such operations in the helicopters, according to Glassberg, bringing approximately 4,200 soldiers to hospitals. In the field, 80 soldiers were saved due to quick doses of plasma and 550 had bleeding stopped before the flights.

Of course, helicopter times to hospitals vary and are not predictable on the minute. The current time from moment of injury to arriving at the hospital stands at one hour and six minutes. This is in comparison to an average time of two hours and ten minutes during the 2014 Gaza War, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The new processes by the IDF are saving lives. According to Glassberg, the current rate of death among wounded soldiers is 15 percent. In Gaza today, however, 6.3 percent of soldiers who are injured end up succumbing to their wounds, showing how quick action is key in ensuring the injured soldiers can return home after the war — or, in many cases, back to the battlefield.

Glassberg also pointed out how the IDF is continuing to learn how to best protect soldiers in the future. For example, he noted, a majority of deaths occurred due to injuries to parts of the body that are not protected by bulletproof vests. Therefore, Israel is already discussing new vests to give to soldiers to lower the casualty count.

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