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The top 10 Jewish sports moments of 2023, from Israel to the NFL

(JTA) — For Jews around the world, this year will be remembered for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza. The fallout has reshaped nearly every aspect of Jewish life in Israel, the United States and beyond — and the sports world is no exception.

The conflict has permeated pro sports, with many teams and athletes showing public support for Israel in the process.

But even before October, many of the top Jewish sports moments of the year concerned Israel — and unprecedented Israeli success on the international stage in baseball, soccer, gymnastics, football, lacrosse and other sports.

Here are the Jewish Sport Report’s top 10 Jewish sports moments of 2023, presented chronologically.

1. Jacob Steinmetz strikes out three MLB stars at the World Baseball Classic

Jacob Steinmetz pitched for Team Israel against the Dominican Republic, March 14, 2023, in Miami. (Dan Passner)

In March, Israel competed in the 2023 World Baseball Classic in Miami with its most talented roster yet. A number of MLB players joined the squad, including Joc Pederson and Dean Kremer.

Though Israel won just one of its four games — a 3-1 comeback victory over Nicaragua — it was an exciting week. Off the field, Israel’s Twitter account went viral, while Israel and the Dominican Republic codified their friendship. And Jewish fans showed up loud and proud.

But the most notable moment on the diamond came during a 10-0 loss against the Dominican team, when 19-year-old Orthodox prospect Jacob Steinmetz struck out three MLB players: superstar Manny Machado, 2022 World Series Most Valuable Player Jeremy Peña and two-time All-Star Gary Sánchez. Steinmetz began the 2023 season in the Arizona Complex League, one of the lowest tiers in minor league baseball.

“It was awesome,” said Steinmetz, the first Orthodox Jew drafted into the MLB, after the game. “Coming out here in front of a sold-out stadium, with all the Dominican fans and the Israel fans, was something that I’ll never forget.”

2. Domantas Sabonis is joining the tribe

Rabbi Mendy Cohen is dwarfed by 7-foot-1 Kings center Domantas Sabonis, who attended Chabad of Sacramento’s Purim party on March 7. (Courtesy of Chabad of Sacramento)

In April, we learned that NBA star Domantas Sabonis had begun the process of converting to Judaism — which will make the 6-foot-10 three-time All-Star the best Jewish player in professional basketball.

“He loves [Judaism] and really wants to be a part of it,” said Sabonis’ wife Shashana Sabonis (née Rosen), who is Jewish.

Sabonis regularly studies with Los Angeles Conservative rabbi Erez Sherman, who said the Sacramento Kings big man is serious about learning and keeps kosher. The Sabonis couple had a Jewish wedding in 2021.

“People that follow me [on social media] see how we do the holidays and Shabbat, and I think it’s really fun for the Jewish community to see that representation in basketball,” Shashana Sabonis said.

3. Israel makes a stunning run the FIFA U-20 World Cup

Israel’s under-20 men’s soccer teams celebrates winning third place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in La Plata, Argentina, June 11, 2023. (Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Israel’s first-ever appearance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup got off to a rocky start, even before its players took the field. In March, FIFA revoked hosting rights from Indonesia after the country objected to Israel’s participation.

But when the tournament kicked off May 20 in Argentina with 24 teams from around the world, Israel went on a miraculous run that included wins over Uzbekistan, Japan and powerhouse Brazil. Israel lost 1-0 in the semifinals to the eventual tournament winner Uruguay but beat South Korea to capture third place.

“We are not players, we are a family with an amazing coach,” midfielder Roy Navi said after the victory. “I feel on the top of the world now.”

Less than a month after Israel’s third-place finish, Israel’s under-21 team made it to the semifinals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship — earning the squad a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

4. Israeli soccer star Manor Solomon joins the “Jewish” Premier League club

Manor Solomon during the Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor in Burnley, England, Sept. 2, 2023. (Will Palmer/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

It was a big summer for Israeli soccer. The news continued when Israeli star winger Manor Solomon signed a five-year contract with the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club — the London-based Premier League club with a rich (and at-times controversial) Jewish history.

Tottenham fans — who include many Jews — have for decades called themselves “Yids” and the “Yid army” in an affectionate way, but last year, the club asked fans to stop using the term, which many consider an antisemitic slur. The Athletic reported that London’s Jewish community was a plus for Solomon and that Tottenham has a following in Israel.

Solomon, who plays for Israel’s overall national team (he’s too old for the U19 and U21 teams), had enjoyed a breakout first year in the prestigious Premier League with Fulham last season, scoring in five straight games from Feb. 11 through March 6. He was the first Israeli player to ever achieve the feat, and the Kfar Saba native’s success on the pitch drew interest from powerhouse clubs across Europe.

While Solomon suffered a knee injury in October that has kept him sidelined, other Jews made headlines in pro soccer around the world. Goalkeeper Matt Turner has become a starter for his Premier League club Nottingham Forest and for the U.S. Men’s National Team; goalie Daniel Peretz became the first Israeli to join the German powerhouse Bayern Munich; and New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Edelman has blossomed into a star in the MLS.

On the women’s side, there were no Jewish players in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, but the ascendant National Women’s Soccer League is led by Jewish commissioner Jessica Berman.

5. Zack Gelof becomes the 18th Jewish player in the MLB in 2023, a likely record

Zack Gelof bats during a World Baseball Classic game between Team Venezuela and Team Israel in Miami, March 15, 2023. (Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

When Team Israel player Zack Gelof made his MLB debut with the Oakland Athletics on July 14, he became the 18th Jewish player to appear in the big leagues in the 2023 season — a moment that carried multiple layers of significance.

For one thing, 18 Jewish players in one MLB season is believed to be the all-time record, according to information compiled by the Jewish Baseball News, a site that tracks Jewish baseball players. And secondly, the record-setting number is symbolic in Judaism.

Once Gelof debuted, he didn’t disappoint. The Delaware native hit 14 home runs with 72 hits and 14 stolen bases in 69 games and broke multiple franchise records for a rookie. He was named the American League Rookie of the Month in August.

The number stretched to 19 when reliever Kenny Rosenberg, who made his MLB debut in 2022, was called up to the big leagues in August.

6. Eli Dershwitz makes US fencing history 

Eli Dershwitz celebrates after winning the sabre men’s senior individual semifinal during the Fencing World Championships in Milan, Italy, July 25, 2023. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Eli Dershwitz, a two-time Olympian and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, became the first American man to win an individual world championship in sabre fencing at the World Fencing Championships in Milan in July.

Dershwitz defeated No. 1-ranked Sandro Bazadze 15-6 in the sabre final, but his semifinal win was even more notable: facing Áron Szilágyi, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the reigning world champion, Dershwitz came back from a 10-4 deficit to advance to the final round.

Dershwitz — who celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Conservative Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, and fenced at Harvard University — won two gold medals at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel. He represented the United States in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics but failed to medal in either appearance.

7. Israel wins its first-ever gold medals at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships

Israeli gymnasts compete at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Valencia, Spain, Aug. 27, 2023. (Jose Jordan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a banner year for Israel on the international stage, perhaps the biggest accomplishment came in August at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Valencia, Spain, when Israel won its first-ever gold medals at the annual competition.

Israel’s team topped China and Spain to take gold in the all-around group category and also won gold in the combined exercise, beating out China and Ukraine. The team also finished fifth in the hoop final.

“We are really happy that we managed to get this medal and that we got the chance to scream out the anthem from the podium,” said Romi Paritzki, the team’s captain, according to Haaretz. “It’s the best feeling any athlete can have.”

Israel has emerged as a global powerhouse in rhythmic gymnastics. Retired Olympian Linoy Ashram, who served as an assistant trainer to the team, became the first Israeli woman to win an Olympic gold medal with her rhythmic gymnastics victory at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Israel has already qualified for group competition at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

8. Israel wins a flag football European championship after a Shabbat forfeit

Israel won a gold medal at the 2023 European Junior Flag Football Championships in Italy. (Giulio Busi)

Just days after Israel’s big wins at the gymnastics tournament, the country’s under-17 men’s flag football team won its first-ever gold medal at the International Federation of American Football’s European Junior Flag Football Championships hosted in Grosseto, Italy.

Israel beat Serbia 34-14 in the championship game after defeating Italy in the semifinals.  Israel’s under-17 women’s team and under-15 coed team both finished fifth in their respective competitions.

The journey to gold wasn’t easy: despite appeals from the Israeli players — a majority of whom are Orthodox — Israel was scheduled to play games on Shabbat. All three teams had to forfeit, resulting in 35-0 losses.

“Our first gold after decades of trying,” Steve Leibowitz, president of American Football in Israel, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “Tough young Israeli players against the best young players in Europe. The moment the whistle blew… I knew we had finally arrived. Next thought, first we conquer Europe, the Worlds are next.”

American football is on the rise in Israel, where approximately 2,000 players, coaches and referees are now involved in the league throughout the country, including many native-born Israelis.

9. Jewish MLB players speak out in support of Israel after Oct. 7

Alex Bregman drew a Star of David on his hat during Game 3 of the Division Series between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins, Oct. 10, 2023. (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, several current and former Jewish MLB players and coaches spoke out in support of Israel, both on and off the field.

As Dean Kremer became the first Israeli to start an MLB playoff game just days after Oct. 7, he opened up about how the war was affecting him and his family. Houston Astros star Alex Bregman drew a Star of David on his hat during a playoff win. Ian Kinsler wore his Team Israel jersey when he threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers playoff game. The Philadelphia Phillies held a moment of silence for Israel before a game.

Players showed their support off the field and on social media, too. A group of 19 current and former players released a video urging fans to support Israel and combat antisemitism. And Team Israel captain Ryan Lavarnway spoke to JTA about his Israel advocacy, which has made the retired World Series champion a sought-after speaker at Jewish events.

10. Greg Joseph kicks game-winning field goal after wearing Israel cleats

The cleats worn by Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)

As NFL players wore cleats this month in support of various causes, Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph chose a particularly personal one.

Joseph, one of only a handful of Jewish players in the league, wore cleats covered in Stars of David with the phrases “I Stand with Israel” and “Am Yisrael Chai,” or “the Jewish people lives.” He picked Leket Israel, the country’s national food bank, as the organization he wanted to promote and support.

The Vikings would go on to win just 3-0 — an extremely rare score in the NFL — on a 36-yard field goal from Joseph, a number that also happens to have meaning in Judaism. (Joseph did not wear his special cleats during the game itself.)

“We were honored to be able to participate in the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program to call for the end to antisemitism and hate in all forms along with the urgent plea to bring home the remaining hostages,” Vikings owner Mark Wilf said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Honorable mentions

From left to right: Luke, Quinn and Jack Hughes pose for a photo before their NHL game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Dec. 5, 2023. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

There were plenty of other notable Jewish sports stories from 2023 that are worth revisiting.

Throughout the year, a number of Jewish athletes were drafted into professional leagues: five players in the MLB, Amari Bailey in the NBA, Abby Meyers in the WNBA and Andrew Cristall in the NHL. Speaking of promising Jewish athletes, we published our first-ever list of 36 Jewish Student Athletes to Watch, an impressive and inspiring group of high school and college athletes with bright futures ahead.
Orthodox athlete Michael Neuman competed on NBC’s obstacle course competition show “American Ninja Warrior” in March and brought with him three young people from his Jewish Inspiration Foundation, which uses sports to support Jewish youth with physical challenges. Neuman had initially qualified for the semifinals — after sharing an emotional on-set moment with Ari Cohen, who has a rare chromosomal disorder. But when Neuman ultimately chose to forfeit his spot because filming for the semifinals fell on Shabbat, NBC decided to cut his entire story from the show and declined to share any of Neuman’s footage — including the clips of his cohort — with their families. Then came the unexpected: two weeks after JTA’s article on Neuman and his foundation, NBC reversed course and shared a clip with Neuman.
Earlier this month, Jewish brothers Jack, Luke and Quinn Hughes made history when they became the first trio of Jewish brothers to play in the same NHL game.

Lastly, the Jewish sports community honored a handful of icons who died this year: Alan Sherman, a champion of Jewish sports and US-Israeli relations; Holocaust survivor and Olympian Ben Helfgott; tennis champion Dick Savitt; and Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner.

The post The top 10 Jewish sports moments of 2023, from Israel to the NFL appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Alleged Neo-Nazi Indicted for Plot to Carry Out New Year’s Eve Mass Casualty Attack Against Jews, Other Minorities

An American flag waves outside the US Department of Justice Building in Washington, US, Dec. 2, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Tom Brenner

US federal authorities have charged, and a grand jury has indicted, a foreign national with planning a mass casualty attack against Jews and other minorities in New York on New Year’s Eve.

The United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York reported that a grand jury indicted Georgian national Michail Chkhikvishvili with soliciting hate crimes and acts of mass violence.

Chkhikvishvili is reportedly the leader of a group called the “Maniac Murder Cult,” a white supremacist, neo-Nazi group.

Specifically, he was recruiting people to carry out arson and bombing attacks — as well as attacks aimed at Jewish and other minority children, according to US officials.

The US Attorney’s Office explained that the “planned New Year’s Eve attack involved Santa Claus handing out poisoned candy to racial minorities as well as distributing poisoned candy to Jewish children in Brooklyn.”

There were more than 450,000 Jews who lived in Brooklyn as of May 2024. Many neighborhoods are known to be predominantly Hasidic.

Authorities found out about the plot when Chkhikvishvili solicited an undercover law enforcement official to be involved in the attack.

He “sought to recruit others to commit violent attacks and killings in furtherance of his Neo-Nazi ideologies,” US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to find and prosecute those who threaten the safety and freedoms of all members of our community, including members of minority communities, no matter where in the world these criminals might be hiding.”

FBI New York Acting Assistant Director Christie Curtis lauded law enforcement for stopping the attack before it could ever take place.

“The swift disruption of this individual, accused of allegedly plotting violent attacks in New York, sends a clear message: we will use every resource in our power to ensure the safety of the American people,” she said. “The men and women who work on this task force day in and day out exemplify true service to our community, demonstrating unwavering commitment in thwarting those who seek to harm our citizens and our way of life.”

The plot comes amid a wave of antisemitic attacks that ramped up in America and around the world after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, amid the ensuing war in Gaza.

Earlier this month, an observant Jew was sucker punched and beaten in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC. The alleged attacker subsequently expressed his motive, saying “They’re [the Jews] the cause of all our wars,” and “We know who you are! We know the lies that you’ve told, that you have stolen the place of the true children of Israel.”

He was charged with assault and a hate crime.

In December, the FBI said there had been a 60 percent spike in antisemitic hate crime investigations since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war. Then, in April, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the probes into antisemitic crimes tripled in the months following Oct. 7.

“Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 30 of this year, we opened over three times more anti-Jewish hate crime investigations than in the four months before Oct. 7,” he explained.

Last year, the FBI found that 63 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the US were directed against Jews.

The post Alleged Neo-Nazi Indicted for Plot to Carry Out New Year’s Eve Mass Casualty Attack Against Jews, Other Minorities first appeared on

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RNC Spotlights Campus Antisemitism as Elise Stefanik Teases ‘Bombshell’ Findings From US Congressional Probe

US Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) speaks during a House Education and The Workforce Committee hearing titled ‘Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, Dec. 5, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

US lawmakers are preparing to release later this year a trove of new “bombshell” information revealing the extent to which antisemitism has been allowed to flourish on university campuses across the country, according to a high-ranking Republican.

US Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) spoke with political pundit and podcast host Megyn Kelly about the efforts of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to investigate surging antisemitism, including anti-Jewish bias, on college campuses. While reminiscing over last December’s congressional hearing with the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — in which each campus leader proclaimed that calls for a genocide of Jews may not violate school rules depending on “the context” — Stefanik revealed that the committee has obtained new documents shedding light on anti-Jewish hate at elite universities.

“This is pervasive in higher-ed. We have worked on this investigation, and if you think the hearing was bad, Megyn, we’re going to have to talk about all the documents that have been turned over because of our subpoena,” Stefanik said. “We’ll put out a report later this year. That’s even more bombshell material in there. It’s a disgrace what’s happening at these universities.”

Antisemitism has exploded at universities since the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, amid the ensuing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Over the past several months, the committee has rigorously investigated antisemitism at America’s most prestigious universities. The panel recently unearthed and exposed text message exchanges between Columbia University deans which revealed the campus leaders mocking Jewish students as “privileged.” The lawmakers also alleged, based on their investigation, that Harvard University has engaged in a “pattern of inaction” in response to campus antisemitism.

Stefanik spoke to Kelly at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Republicans are gathering this week to nominate their 2024 presidential candidate. The issue of campus antisemitism has been a key issue highlighted at the RNC.

On Wednesday night, Shabbos Kestenbaum, a recent Harvard graduate suing his alma mater over its alleged failure to protect Jewish students, took the RNC main stage and delivered an impassioned speech on campus antisemitism. Kestenbaum said that the surge of unchecked antisemitism on Harvard’s campus in the months following Oct. 7 left him disillusioned with progressives, prompting his move to the political right. 

“After Oct. 7, the world finally saw what I and so many Jewish students across this country experienced almost every day,” he told the RNC crowd. 

“My problem with Harvard is not its liberalism, but its illiberalism. Too often, students at Harvard are taught not how to think, but what to think. I found myself immersed in a culture that is anti-Western, that is anti American, and that is antisemitic,” Kestenbaum said. 

Kestenbaum implored the crowd to support the presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump. 

“Sadly the far-left wing tide of antisemitism is rising,” Kestenbaum said. “But tonight, tonight we fight back. I am proud to support President Trump’s policies to expel foreign students who violate our laws, harass our Jewish classmates, and desecrate our freedoms … let’s elect a president who recognizes that although Harvard and the Ivy Leagues have long abandoned the United States of America, the Jewish people never will.”

Anti-Israel protests have ravaged college campuses across the United States in the months following Oct. 7. Students at prominent universities such as Harvard, Columbia, and MIT have participated in demonstrations chanting slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Burn Tel Aviv to the ground!” Progressive student organizations have also openly banned “Zionists,” forcing Jewish students to choose between supporting Israel and maintaining their social network. Campus demonstrators have also openly cheered Hamas and in some cases threatened or committed violence against Jewish students.

Jewish donors and alumni have condemned university administrators over their unwillingness to shut down demonstrations. As a result, many of them have pulled funding and vowed not to allow their children to enroll at their alma maters.

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots NFL team, has ceased donating to Columbia University, citing “virulent hate” against Jews on campus.  Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, pulled a $100 million donation from the University of Pennsylvania. The MIT Jewish Alumni Alliance urged Jewish graduates and allies to protest campus antisemitism by lowering their annual donation amount to $1.

The post RNC Spotlights Campus Antisemitism as Elise Stefanik Teases ‘Bombshell’ Findings From US Congressional Probe first appeared on

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Pro-Israel Group Calls on US Justice Department to Apply ‘KKK Laws’ to Pro-Hamas Demonstrations

Pro-Hamas demonstrators at Columbia University in New York City, US, April 29, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

StandWithUs (SWU), a Jewish civil rights group based in California, is imploring the US Justice Department to crack down on masked protests at Columbia University by enforcing legal statues which are widely referred to as the “KKK Laws,” citing a hostile environment at the school in which pro-Hamas demonstrators who have harassed and assaulted Jewish students continuously evade justice by concealing their identities.

Dating back to the administration of former US President Ulysses S. Grant, the so-called “KKK Laws” empower the federal government to prosecute those who engage in activities which violate the civil rights of protected groups, as the Ku Klux Klan did across the US South during Reconstruction to prevent African Americans from voting and living as free citizens. StandWithUs alleges that five anti-Zionist groups — most notably Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — currently operating on Columbia University’s campus have perpetrated similar abuses in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which guarantees all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, has the right to a safe learning environment.

The most obvious parallel between their conduct and the KKK’s, StandWithUs noted, is an inveterate shrouding of their members’ faces with masks and keffiyehs, the traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians that has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel. Images and footage of the practice have been widely circulated online, and it has rendered identifying the protesters — many of whom have chanted antisemitic slogans, vandalized school property, and threatened to harm Jewish students and faculty during a weeks-long demonstration between April and May — virtually impossible.

Additionally, the groups — which also include Within Our Lifetime (WOL), Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), Columbia University Apartheid, Columbia School of Social Work 4 Palestine (CSSW4P), and Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine (FJP) — have proclaimed their intention to purge Columbia’s campus of Zionists, a category which includes an overwhelming majority of Jews in the US and around the world. Their rhetoric, StandWithUs added, is unlike any uttered in the US since demonstrations against school integration in the 1950s.

“We hope the Department of Justice (DOJ) will take this opportunity to restore justice on Columbia University’s campuses and hold bad actors responsible for violating federal laws,” Yael Lerman, director of the SWU Saidoff Legal Department, said on Wednesday. “Columbia President Shafik’s concession that Columbia is a hostile environment for Jewish students in violation of Title VI reflects a critical need for the current administration to take decisive action at Columbia.”

Lerman added, “We urge the DOJ to investigate the school’s failure to prevent groups and individuals on its campus from joining forces and depriving Jewish students of their civil rights, a failure that runs afoul of the KKK laws.”

SWU’s letter — sent to US Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department on Wednesday — comes amid an ongoing lawsuit the organization’s Legal Center for Justice (SCLJ) filed against Columbia University in February over its alleged failure to prevent and respond to an explosion of anti-Jewish hate incidents which have occurred on the campus since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, an event the protesters cheered and defended as an act of decolonization inspired by the ideas of far-left political philosophers such as Frantz Fanon.

SWU amended its complaint against Columbia in June, adding 45 students as plaintiffs and over “230 pages of allegations.” Meanwhile, the accusations which surfaced following the group’s first filing have already stained Columbia’s reputation.

“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews,” “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” Columbia protesters chanted on campus grounds after Oct. 7, violating the school’s code of conduct but never facing consequences for doing so, the complaint alleges. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

The protesters later reinforced their rhetoric with violence, the complaint adds. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another allegedly 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 went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held its demonstrations.

The school’s 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 purportedly forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, who took office in July 2023, recently attempted to assuage concerns that Columbia has become a sanctuary for antisemites after it was revealed that five high-level administrators participated in a group-chat in which ideas that “disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes” were exchanged. She fired none of the administrators, however, which has led to calls for her to resign from office.

“We will launch a vigorous program of antisemitism and antidiscrimination [sic] training for faculty and staff this fall, with related training for students under the auspices of university life,” Shafik said in statement. “Columbia’s leadership team recognizes this as an important moment to implement changes that will build a stronger institution as a result. I know that you all share this commitment.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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