A number of antisemitic incidents rocked the campuses of several colleges and universities this year in the United States following an attack committed against Israel by Hamas militants.
Following the terrorist attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7, which left an estimated 1,200 people dead, several college campuses in 2023 became hot beds for pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid an outpouring of protests on the same issue from different corners of the world. Many of those who took part in the demonstrations failed to condemn the terror group and instead took aim at the Jewish State over its retaliatory efforts.
Several of the protests and demonstrations involved the direct targeting of Jewish students, sparking backlash on a national scale. Other protests seemingly encouraged attacks on Jewish students outside the settings of the demonstrations.
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Israeli student attacked at Columbia University
Less than a week after the initial attack on Israel, a 24-year-old Israeli School of General Studies student at Columbia University was allegedly assaulted with a stick by another student in front of one of the school’s libraries.
The suspect, a 19-year-old female, was reportedly taken into custody and charged with one count of assault, according to the Columbia Daily Spectator, the school’s newspaper, which cited comments from a NYPD spokesperson.
The Jewish student who was attacked, according to the outlet, “suffered minor injuries, including a laceration to his hand.”
Stanford instructor suspended for targeting Jewish Students
An instructor at Stanford University was sidelined in October for “identity-based targeting of students” amid the school’s probing of a situation that caused “serious concern” on the heels of the brutal Hamas terror attacks in Israel.
Stanford President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez issued a lengthy statement addressing “several issues that have arisen” on campus since the Hamas terror attack, including the apparent suspension of an unnamed instructor.
“We have received a report of a class in which a non-faculty instructor is reported to have addressed the Middle East conflict in a manner that called out individual students in class based on their backgrounds and identities. Without prejudging the matter, this report is a cause for serious concern. Academic freedom does not permit the identity-based targeting of students,” the pair said. “The instructor in this course is not currently teaching while the university works to ascertain the facts of the situation.”
Forward, a nonprofit news organization that covers “issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews,” spoke with Rabbi Dov Greenberg, director of the Chabad Stanford Jewish Center about the ordeal. Rabbi Greenberg said he was told by three students that the instructor asked Jewish and Israeli students to identify themselves during an undergraduate course called “Civil, Liberal and Global Education.”
Greenberg told Forward that the teacher then told the Jewish students to take their belongings and stand in a corner because “this is what Israel does to the Palestinians.”
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“The instructor then asked, ‘How many people died in the Holocaust?’ When a student answered, ‘Six million,’ the lecturer said, ‘Colonizers killed more than 6 million. Israel is a colonizer,’” Forward reporter Beth Harpaz wrote of the incident.
Israeli student physically attacked in anti-Israel campus protest at Harvard Business School
Multiple pro-Palestinian student groups hosted a march and “die-in” at Harvard Business School on Oct. 18 in protest of Israel’s “genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.
The two Harvard student groups – the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee and Harvard Graduate Students for Palestine – organized the march from Harvard’s main campus in Cambridge to its business school in Boston to protest Israel’s alleged mistreatment of innocent Palestinians in Gaza.
The crowd of pro-Palestinian Harvard students marched from one Harvard campus to the other with signs and banners, one reading, “Stop the genocide in Gaza,” while chanting slogans like, “Hey! Hey! You can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” Chants of “F— Harvard Business School” could be heard from the marchers as well.
Amid the demonstration, a first-year Israeli student at the school was captured on film being shoved and accosted by some protesters. In the clip, the student can be heard saying “don’t grab me” and “don’t touch my neck” while those surrounding him shout, “shame!”
Following the incident, the Washington Free Beacon noted that a “report to the FBI identified two of the people laying hands on him as fellow Harvard University graduate students, one a law student, Ibrahim Bharmal, a member of the Harvard Law Review, and the other a divinity school graduate student, Elom Tettey Tamaklo, who lives with Harvard undergraduate students in a supervisory role known as a proctor.”
Jewish students locked in Cooper Union library due to pro-Hamas protest threats
Jewish students at a private New York City college were locked inside a school library on Oct. 25 as a pro-Palestinian rally moved through the building, with protesters banging on the doors and chanting ‘free, free Palestine,’ video shows.
In one video, protesters were seen outside the windows of one Cooper Union library as Jewish students sit at a table and attempt to study.
On the other side of the glass, students are seen holding up signs protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Jake Novak, the former media director at the Israeli Consulate in New York, posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that several Jewish students were locked in the school library at about 5:15 p.m.
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“My sources tell me several Jewish students [at Cooper Union] are currently locked in the school library as a [pro] Hamas rally outside of the Cooper Union building learnt [sic] the Jews were afraid and sitting in the library, then brought the protest inside and are barricading all exits,” he posted. “Police have been called for 40 min and are afraid to get involved. Security locked the students in as they are worried they cannot protect the Jews [right now].
He also shared video of the Jewish students standing in the library as banging could be heard coming from outside. Just before 6 p.m. that day, Novak shared that the “besieged” Jewish students were safe and were led out of the library through tunnels.
Mass Amherst student arrested for allegedly hitting Jewish student, spitting on Israeli flag
A University of Massachusetts Amherst student was arrested after allegedly punching a Jewish student and spitting on the Israeli flag the student was holding.
The incident took place on Nov. 3 at the end of a vigil organized by UMass Hillel in which students called for the release of the more than 240 Israeli hostages held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at the time. The event included symbolic Shabbat tables with empty seats representing each hostage abducted during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The suspect is accused of approaching the crowd and aggressively giving people the middle finger, according to school officials and the UMass Chief of Police.
After security left, the same student allegedly returned to the gathering and assaulted a Jewish student holding an Israeli flag, UMass Hillel said. The suspect also allegedly grabbed the flag and spit on it. A UMass Hillel staff member stepped in to de-escalate as other staff members witnessed the incident.
The victim was not injured, according to the university.
UMass police investigated and arrested the suspect on the night of the event. The suspect was released on bail, but prohibited from returning to campus.
Jewish students attacked at Tulane rally
A pro-Palestinian protest erupted into violence near Tulane University in New Orleans on Oct. 26, which resulted in multiple students being assaulted.
Video appears to show two protesters standing in the back of a truck. One wearing a mask is holding a Palestinian flag. The other is attempting to set fire to an Israeli flag when counter-protesters stepped in. The footage also showed police and what appeared to be school administrators trying to calm the competing crowds of protesters, who at times came to blows.
The pro-Palestinian protesters also carried banners that read, “From the River to the Sea Palestine Will Be Free,” which many have interpreted and understood to mean a call for the end of Israel’s existence as a state.
FOX 8, an affiliate based in New Orleans, reported that authorities attempted to keep the crowd under control, adding that multiple arrests were made following the incident.
Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts issued a statement addressing the unrest, affirming that student safety is the university’s top priority.
“Three Tulane students were assaulted at a rally intentionally staged on the public sidewalk along Freret Street, over which we do not have control. This rally was not approved or sanctioned by Tulane. There were approximately 40 plainclothes and uniformed New Orleans, Tulane, Loyola and State Police officers, including mounted police, who made several arrests. There were also dozens of Tulane staff members on hand to support students. TUPD also apprehended a suspect last night for an act of antisemitic vandalism (graffiti) to a building near campus,” the statement read in part.
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“To be clear: We condemn and are outraged by today’s violence and the hateful language and rhetoric we heard. It is counter to everything we stand for at Tulane. What started out as a peaceful demonstration unfortunately devolved into a violent incident and a dark day for our community,” Fitts added.
In a follow-up statement, Fitts added that plans to enhance security measures, enforce the student code of conduct and provide support resources were in effect.
Though there were numerous other acts of violence against Jewish students at schools around the country in the latter half of 2023, the Jewish community in the United States is vowing to remain vigilant.
“Rising antisemitism on college campuses following the October 7th massacre has led to a surge in hateful activities and a concerning reluctance from university leaders to condemn these acts,” Israel on Campus Coalition CEO Jacob Baime told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Despite this, the Jewish community in 2023 has remained strong, securing important campus victories such as the removal of complicit officials, dismantling of extremist groups, and disciplinary actions against discriminatory faculty.”
“In the face of violence and hate, the Jewish community stands firm in its commitment to ‘Never Again,’ united in the pursuit of a future free from hatred,” he added.
Noa Tishby, an Israeli activist, told Fox News Digital that “American universities have become dangerous places for Jewish students” amid a rise in antisemitism.
“This violence has been planned, engineered, and incubated for decades by heavily funded, professionally orchestrated groups with close connections to terrorist organizations, like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP. One of the main perpetrators of campus Jew-hate is Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has been set up and is supported by groups and individuals with well-documented records of support and fundraising for terrorist organizations,” added Tishby, who formerly served as Israel’s first special envoy for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel.
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The groups responsible for the protests seen on many school campuses, according to Tishby, “are not interested in peace, and their true intent is to destroy the world’s only Jewish state by all means necessary.”
“Universities have let their Jewish students down, and they are letting America down. It is time to kick these hate groups off campus, investigate their connections to terrorist organizations, and stop their influence in Congress. This is not just a Jewish issue; it’s an American one,” she added.
Fox News’ Brian Flood, Gabriel Hays, Greg Wehner, and Peter Aitken contributed to this report.