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New York Must Not Allow Cornell and Columbia to Jeopardize Jewish Students

An anti-Israel ‘apartheid wall’ on display at Columbia University during Apartheid Week in 2017. Photo: Facebook.

At New York’s most elite colleges, Jewish students are under siege.

Columbia and Cornell, the state’s two members of the prestigious Ivy League, have both failed their Jewish students — both before and after the Hamas attack on October 7, which was the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

Since the Hamas attack, a rising tide of unconcealed antisemitic harassment has flooded American and Western life, with students on college campuses being particularly targeted.

A rallying tool for the dehumanization of Jews — which also runs afoul of New York state law — is the set of referenda being organized at both schools to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish country, the State of Israel.

It is astonishing and unprecedented that the Jewish community is being targeted this way in New York, the most storied center of Jewish life in America, with the largest Jewish population of any US state: almost 2 million, about a quarter of the total American Jewish community, and at least 7% of the state’s population.

The state, led by Governor Kathy Hochul, must take action to halt the dangerous farce targeting our people.

The issue for these protestors isn’t Israel defending herself. They just have a problem with Jews, even dead ones. It’s as simple as that.

At Columbia, the antisemitic attacks started within hours of Hamas’ horrific invasion of Israel, which killed 1,200 innocent Israelis.

On October 16, one Jewish student was assaulted with a broomstick, fracturing his finger, as he hung posters of the more than 240 hostages abducted by Hamas. Other students were spat on for speaking Hebrew. Another Israeli student’s “phone number was leaked and she received aggressive and explicit text messages and phone calls for weeks.”

Despite this harassment, and at a time of record antisemitism in the US, Columbia is playing host to no fewer than five referenda calling for discriminatory treatment of, economic action against, and, in some cases, the genocidal elimination of the entire country of Israel.

Let’s be clear: calling for the state of Israel to be abolished is not calling for peace. These “protestors” are calling for war to the bitter end of the Jews, and, in fact, studies have demonstrated that campus-wide campaigns calling for the elimination of Israel result directly in an increase of anti-Jewish activity on campus.

Similarly, at Cornell, one student was arrested after he threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews.” Another Cornell student posted, “Zionists must die!” on social media. A Cornell professor, Russell Rickford, at an October 15 anti-Israel rally, said that he found October 7 — which featured mass rape and genital mutilation — “exhilarating” and “energizing.”

And yet the Cornell Assembly has picked this time to pass a resolution calling for the university to make divestment recommendations to the Board of Trustees, implicitly singling out the State of Israel.

For years after World War II, American and Western leaders pledged they would “never again” allow the Jewish people to be targeted for slaughter; now, the new radicals are calling for the deconstruction of the only Jewish state.

New York law and policy are clear: New York agencies and authorities must divest all state funds invested in entities that engage in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activity against Israel. BDS is a strategy that the US State Department has recognized as a form of antisemitism.

Federal law prohibits discrimination against groups like Jews or Israelis, and an ongoing Federal lawsuit accuses Columbia of failing to intervene against antisemitism on campus. A similar lawsuit is being organized against Cornell. As if that wasn’t enough, both schools are facing Federal antisemitism inquiries from the US Education Department.

These are beyond challenging times for America’s Jewish community, which is experiencing an all-time high of antisemitic assaults, as global Jewry faces its most dangerous moment since World War II.

On American campuses, an astonishing 73% of Jewish college students say that they have now personally experienced or witnessed antisemitism just since the start of the school year. The level of attacks on our community is now truly pervasive, and civic leaders must not stand aside while our community is reeling.

Under such circumstances, and with the specific assaults and threats that have manifested at Columbia and Cornell, the New York state government and Governor Hochul must act immediately to protect Jewish students by intervening against the proposed ballot propositions delegitimizing Israel.

Noa Tishby is a New York Times best-selling author, and Israel’s former Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and Delegitimization.

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Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Welcomes Anti-Israel Campus Protesters to ‘Resistance Front’

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, applauded the anti-Israel protesters who have thrown university campuses across the US into chaos over the past several weeks, declaring them part of a new “branch of the Resistance Front” against the Jewish state.

“Dear university students in the United States of America, this message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you,” Khamenei wrote in an open letter published on Thursday. “As the page of history is turning, you are standing on the right side of it.”

Rehashing antisemitic conspiracies of Jewish control, he derided “the global Zionist elite” for speaking against the campus demonstrations.

“The global Zionist elite — who owns most US and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery — has labeled this courageous, humane resistance movement as ‘terrorism,’” Khamenei wrote. “You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure — a government which openly supports the usurper and brutal Zionist regime.”

Khamenei also praised students in other countries who have launched anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, noting the leading role that faculty have played in fostering and supporting the unrest.

“Besides you students from dozens of American universities, there have also been uprisings in others countries among academics and the general public,” he wrote. “The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development. This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you. I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance.”

Khamenei’s letter came amid an outpouring of praise for the anti-Zionist students by Islamist terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

“While we support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them, we also appreciate and value the movement of Western demonstrators and sit-in students from Western universities, who through their sit-ins and protests expressed their rejection of the genocide taking place in Gaza,” al-Qaeda leadership wrote in a recent communique

Hamas and Hezbollah, both backed by Iran, have also cheered the protests.

“Today’s students are the leaders of the future, and their suppression today means an expensive electoral bill that the Biden administration will pay sooner or later,” Hamas official Izzat Al-Risheq said in a statement last month.

Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, also praised the protesters during an interview with Al-Manar TV earlier this month.

“We appreciate and value this very much. Perhaps in the future, there will be cooperation among the youth of the world — in America, France, Britain, Germany, and all the activists,” he said. “The [campus protests] are important, especially because they will have an impact on US elections. They will have an impact on the American position.”

Earlier this month, when some universities suspended students who had occupied sections of campus and refused to leave unless school officials agreed to condemn and boycott Israel, the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a terrorist organization that has repeatedly violated freedom of the seas by attacking international shipping vessels passing through the Red Sea, offered to admit the disciplined students as transfers to Sanaa University, an institution it administers.

Some anti-Zionist student groups have reciprocated the admiration.

Last week, Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) endorsed Hamas, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace Islamic extremism and antisemitism.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has re-formed under multiple names since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, was central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The anti-Zionist student movement’s support for terrorism and anti-American ideologies has been expressed before.

Footage of the protests which erupted on college campuses at the end of spring semester showed demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas and calling for the destruction of Israel. In many cases, they lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas at Columbia University, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

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