The Israeli chapter of NYU’s alumni club has declared its intention to cut relations with the school due to its response to antisemitism.
“From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be Free” has various meanings, according to the group’s citation of a meeting with NYU President Linda Mills and Board Chair Evan Chesler. Based on what they’ve heard from current and former Jewish students at NYU and what’s shown in the complaint, the organization said that the university’s claims about Jewish students’ safety did not match what they saw on campus today.
Several demands were made by the group in a letter, including that the school accept the definition of antisemitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that students who express antisemitic or hateful ideas be punished, that the phrase “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” be condemned, and that teachers who bully Jewish students be disciplined or even fired. It also urged that organizations like Faculty for Justice in Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine be sanctioned unless they disassociate themselves from Hamas and commit to ending antisemitic rhetoric.
The letter states that until New York University takes action to safeguard its Jewish students from the dangerous language and acts of violence perpetrated by members of the faculty and student organizations using the NYU name, the New York University Alumni Club of Israel will not work with or be affiliated with the university. The letter follows a Zoom meeting between Mills and around twenty former students, during which some present said that Mills came off as “blasé” and unconcerned with the matter at hand.
Additionally, the organization is requesting that faculty members who engage in anti-Israel demonstrations be penalized or dismissed and that NYU penalize specific coeds and student groups for engaging in hate speech. The letter stresses more than words alone; moral leadership and deeds are required.
There has been prior litigation against New York University over antisemitism on campus. In 2020, after a former student’s complaint, the institution and the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agreed.