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  • Writer's pictureAva Babington

Jewish Students Are Not Safe on US College Campuses

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

29 days ago, Israel experienced its bloodiest day since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. 1,200 Israelis and Jews were slaughtered, and about 240 hostages were taken by Hamas, a terrorist group dedicated to dismantling the Israeli nation and erasing the existence of Jews. Israel has since then retaliated against Hamas with a significant bombing campaign and a ground invasion, and in the process, has killed over 10,000 people living in Gaza. Deeply saddening photos and videos are posted every day of what they are experiencing, which has led to a global decrease in sympathy for Israel and a rise in hate towards those Jewish.

The war in the Middle East has incited a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, particularly on college campuses. Harvard University students immediately released a statement after the attack, putting full blame on Israel in attempt to justify Hamas’ actions. On December 5th, Harved President Gay testified in Congress saying students calling for genocide against Jews only amounts to bullying and harassment "depending on context." Jewish students at Cooper Union had to hide in a library to escape a large crowd of angry protestors pounding on the doors. At George Washington University, messages like “free Palestine from the river to the sea” – which is a saying calling for the destruction of the Jewish state - were projected onto campus buildings. A protestor near New York University held a sign that called for the world to be “clean” of Jews.

A student at Cornell University posted disgusting messages on an online discussion forum that said Jewish students attending the university were “excrement on the face of the earth.” He also posted threats to encourage those to kill and rape Jews on campus. A Cornell professor pronounced that Hamas’ attack on Israel was “exhilarating” and “energizing.” A Stanford University lecturer singled out the Jewish students in class and told them to stand in the corner like how the “Jews were doing to Palestinians.”

Unfortunately, those are only a handful of the antisemitism or hate crime cases seen on college campuses, with more Jewish students being harassed and threatened every day.

To help combat this crisis, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.798, a resolution that condemns the support of Hamas and Hezbollah at institutions of higher education. It addresses the uptick of antisemitism and how it threatens the safety of Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff. The resolution calls on campus administrators to condemn all forms of antisemitism on college campuses and to ensure that Jewish students can exercise the same Free Speech rights as everyone else without intimidation.

Although the resolution passed 396-23, 23 votes against is 23 votes too many. To be specific, 22 Democrats and 1 Republican voted no. As a student involved with High School Democrats of America, it is incredibly disappointing to see the Democrats we advocate for vote against a resolution meant to condemn Jewish hate on college campuses.

Progressive Democrats say they are devoted to securing equal rights for all and ending the hate and discrimination targeted towards minority groups. And yet they voted against protecting the rights and liberties of Jewish students.

As an ethnically Jewish woman with a great aunt who was the first woman in the United States to be ordained as a rabbi, it is horrific to see how the world truly thinks about us. It is heartbreaking to see my favorite universities falling into a hole of antisemitism, and it is frustrating to see the politicians I have supported not actually support me.

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