After recent terrorist assaults by Hamas against Israeli citizens, a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School, Rabbi David Wolpe, claimed the school has an “anti-Semitism problem.” Following considerable criticism of the statement, the university established a task committee to aid its affiliated students.
According to Wolpe, several other schools have the same problem as Harvard, including Penn, George Washington University, Columbia University, and many more. He stressed that most Harvard students are not quitting college because they want a career and a life.
In addition, threats made against Jews on an online forum have alarmed students at Cornell University, forcing the university to station officers at the Jewish center and the kosher dining hall for added safety. A torrent of antisemitic and anti-Muslim invective has spilled on social media throughout the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and the anonymous statements posted over the weekend in an online discussion concerning fraternities and sororities are indicative of this trend. While visiting Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living, New York Governor Kathy Hochul committed to having state police find and prosecute those responsible for online threats.
Police at Cornell University have notified the FBI and joined the investigation. The department issued a statement saying that patrols would be enhanced and that off-campus security measures would be implemented to protect Jewish students and groups. Cornell Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, warned students and staff to leave the building “in excess of caution” after the now-deleted threats, but the dining hall was not closed or lockdown measures initiated.
Jewish and Muslim students in the United States have complained of feeling alone and neglected by their colleges amid demonstrations in support of Israel and support of Palestinians since the war began. There has been an uptick in hate crimes against Muslims as well as Jews. Earlier this month, a Muslim boy, 6, and his mother were stabbed in Illinois. The boy died while the mother suffered injuries. Comments made on an unofficial Greek life website in Ithaca, New York, fuelled fears of violence on Cornell’s campus.
Neera Tanden (Domestic Policy Adviser ) and Miguel Cardona (Education Secretary) will meet with Jewish students at a university this week after the Biden administration decried what it called an “alarming spike” of antisemitic events in American schools and universities.