Editor’s note: Some quotes in this article contain offensive language.
College campuses have historically been cauldrons of political unrest, but what is happening to Jewish students now is downright frightening – for them and their parents. What began with a few pro-Palestinian campus protests has grown into alarming scenarios for young people of Jewish heritage.
On Oct. 29, Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack informed students and faculty that several “horrendous, antisemitic messages” aimed at the institute’s Center for Jewish Living were posted on a website unaffiliated with the university. According to the school newspaper, The Cornell Sun, one post called for the “rape of female Jewish students” and the “beheading of Jewish babies in front of their parents.” If that doesn’t make you sick, read the whole thing in the attached image:
In quick order, Pollack called the police and the FBI to investigate. The college newspaper interviewed the president of Cornell’s student-run Center for Jewish Living, Molly Goldstein:
“’The first reaction from all the students on the ground is genuine fear. We’ve been getting calls from people who weren’t on the complex asking if it’s safe for them to come back to their room tonight,’ Goldstein said. ‘We’ve had people who are too scared to sleep here tonight. So they’ve gone to other places in Ithaca for their safety. We now have three police cars outside of our complex that will be here 24/7 until we understand what’s happening, the real threat.’”
This event came on the heels of a Cornell professor telling a crowd he found the Hamas attack “exhilarating” and “energizing.” He is now taking a leave of absence.
Meanwhile, at the prestigious Cooper Union College in New York City, Jewish students barricaded themselves inside the school library as an angry mob pounded on the door. Multiple reports say the library staff told the intimidated students they could “hide in the attic” if they wanted.
What? Anne Frank déjà vu?
College Campus Anti-Semitism: Fueling the Rage
Pro-Palestinian solidarity activities have occurred at Harvard University, Indiana University, Arizona State University, Cal State University Long Beach, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others, according to Newsweek. This prompted reader Shane Schirmer to respond, “This [article] could also be titled, ‘Universities My Kids Won’t be Attending.’”
A study released Oct. 26 found a third of Jewish students say they have experienced anti-Semitism on campus in the last year. More broadly, if Jewish Americans are feeling persecuted, it’s because they are suffering a higher rate of hate crimes than Muslims. New statistics from an FBI database reveal there is no parity regarding the frequency of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes. For 2022, crimes against Jewish people were 4.5 times more likely to occur than those perpetrated against the Muslim/Arab community.
That’s just a ripple in the pond compared to anti-Jewish hate crimes since Hamas attacked civilians in Israel. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported a 37% increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, which it claims is the highest number in almost three decades.
The ADL Center on Extremism calculated that students on more than a hundred college campuses “staged walkouts demanding an end to U.S. aid to Israel and that their institutions divest from weapons companies allegedly involved with Israel.” Many of these events “promoted the destruction of Israel as we know it and called for the exclusion of ‘Zionists’ from public life on campuses.”
The speed with which anti-Jewish hatred has risen at college campuses across the United States is staggering. For Jewish students — and to the horror of their parents — many American colleges have now become a danger zone.