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Sarah Lawrence College Ignored, Perpetrated Antisemitism, New Civil Rights Complaint Says

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

At Sarah Lawrence College (SLC) in New York, it is “safe to be Jewish as long as you are openly anti-Israel,” according to a new civil rights complaint alleging antisemitic browbeating, intimidation, and discrimination throughout campus and in the school’s diversity office.

Filed with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) this week by Hillels of Westchester and Arnold & Porter LLP, the complaint describes dozens of alleged incidents of anti-Jewish hatred which administrators either declined to address or had directly initiated, thereby violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Title VI prohibits discrimination in programs and activities that receive federal funding.

“Sarah Lawrence created a hostile environment for Jewish students through years of action and inaction — after more than 15 years of documented pleas for the college to support all facets of its Jewish community, we’ve reached a breaking point,” Hillels of Westchester executive director Rachel Klein said in a press release announcing the legal action. “We are making this formal complaint to ensure the college improves so all future students can safely immerse in the college experience, and we hope the administration takes immediate, sustainable action.”

Sarah Lawrence College did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

Anti-Zionist students at Sarah Lawrence College threaten to kill Jews or kill themselves in front of them, the complaint alleges. Diversity officers assigned as advisers to the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are in charge of processing complaints of antisemitism, the lawsuit continues, and when Jews are killed in Israel, those officers promote anti-Zionist events promising to debunk the so-called “mainstream narrative” about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The school’s alleged disregard for the welfare of Jewish students was revealed in the days and weeks after Hamas’ slaughter of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, the complaint explains. No sooner had the tragedy occurred than Briana Martin — SLC director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) — called on students to ignore Jewish suffering by attending on Oct. 9 “Hour of Solidarity with Palestine,” an event co-sponsored by SJP. While promoting the event, Martin invited Jewish students and Hillel members via email to attend it — a gesture, the complaint says, that the SLC Jewish community found “offensive and dehumanizing.” They soon discovered that in addition to being the school’s chief DEI administrator, Martin is SJP’s adviser, acting as the club’s advocate and liaison.

“Having been sent even before Israel had initiated any military response, the email’s message to ‘understand the mainstream narrative’ could only be interpreted to support SJP’s narrative that Hamas was justified in slaughtering Israeli civilians,” the complaint argues. “That such an obviously hostile and dehumanizing message would be delivered to SLC’s Jewish students by the director of the very office charged with protecting SLC’s minority Jewish student community sent a clear message that the SLC administration has chosen sides and that it would not protect SLC’s Jewish students.”

Martin’s conduct went beyond vocally supporting SJP’s extremist politics. She also allegedly refused to investigate anti-Zionist students accused of antisemitic harassment. When Sammy Tweedy, a Jewish student who had been in Israel on Oct. 7, reported to Martin that an anti-Zionist student threatened to beat him up and said he had “the blood of Gaza on your hands” and should have been murdered by Hamas, Martin would only agree to filing a no-contact order against the student. This wasn’t the first time that Martin declined to investigate or meaningfully punish antisemitic conduct, the complaint continues. Tweedy had filed several previous complaints to which Martin has never responded to this day. At one point, she put off Tweedy by telling him she needed “space and time to move forward.”

As an office, DEIB was complicit in silencing complaints of antisemitism, according to the lawsuit. In November, the office persuaded a Jewish student who wanted to report a professor for antisemitism not to do so, telling them it would not be in their best interest. Long before Oct. 7, former DEIB assistant director Ronald Benion was also allegedly dilatory in responding to antisemitism, as well as in failing to provide sufficient kosher dining options, despite being assigned as SLC Hillel’s representative. SLC President Christie Judd has allegedly avoided addressing these issues and declined to meet with Hillels of Westchester to discuss the school’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Jewish students.

“The hostile learning environment, the lack of support from the administration, and the recurring acts of brazen antisemitism that Jewish and pro-Israel students at Sarah Lawrence College have experienced is alarming and unacceptable,” Hillel International CEO and president Adam Lehman said in Wednesday’s press release. “This is clearly a systemic problem, and it requires a serious, systemic solution from the Sarah Lawrence administration. Nothing short of significant culture change will suffice.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law?

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“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.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”?

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

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 reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been 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 group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. 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.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent 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 while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, 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!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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