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10 of the most extreme acts of campus antisemitism in the 2023-24 school year

ANALYSIS: Colleges saw firebombing, arson, death threats, and more

Festering problems with antisemitism came to the forefront on campuses across the nation during the 2023-24 school year, drawing headlines and prompting investigations and lawsuits.

Many Jewish faculty and students say antisemitism has been a problem at universities for a long time, but the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel stirred up more in the United States.

Anti-Israel protests dominated the news, with some turning violent and leading to hundreds of arrests and massive clean-up bills. Meanwhile, classes were canceled and graduation ceremonies disrupted at a number of universities in the spring.

In some cases, Jewish faculty and students said they had to lock themselves inside buildings or avoid parts of campus for their own safety. Others said pro-Palestinian encampment protesters blocked them from going to class.

And in chants that seemed to echo nationwide, protesters accused Jews of “genocide” and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – which many believe is a call for the elimination of the country of Israel.

But the lax response by some university leaders led to frustration, outrage, and even a U.S. House investigation. A number of Jewish students are suing their universities as well.

To recap, here’s a list — although far from exhaustive and not in any particular order — of some of the most disturbing acts of antisemitism of the school year, reported by The College Fix:

1. ‘Scholar-activist’ allegedly firebombed police car at UC Berkeley – The man charged in the incident is a recent doctoral graduate of African American studies from Northwestern University. Allegedly, he targeted a police car and several university buildings to show support for pro-Palestinian protesters.

2. Columbia University admin caught mocking antisemitism panel – Three of them are now on leave after the texts, discovered by The Washington Free Beacon, “dismiss[ed] claims of anti-Semitism and suggest[ed] … that Jewish figures on campus were exploiting the moment for ‘fundraising potential.’”

3. Jewish students prevented from attending classes at MIT – In a November post on X, Professor Retsef Levi said Jewish students “were physically prevented from attending class by a hostile group of pro-Hamas and anti-Israel MIT students.”

4. Graduation ceremonies disrupted by anti-Israel protesters – Yale and George Washington university students disrupted commencement ceremonies to show their support for the pro-Palestinian cause.

At McGill University, a graduating pro-Palestinian student made what appeared to be “spitting motions” at faculty members and then unfurled a banner that read “Divest from Death” as she walked across the stage.

Meanwhile, Harvard’s commencement speaker was accused of making antisemitic remarks.

5. Cornell student charged with threatening to slaughter Jewish students – New York student Patrick Dai pleaded guilty in April, after admitting he posted threatening messages online in October. The posts included threats to shoot Jewish students and slit their throats.

6. ‘Hitler was right,’ ‘gas the Jews,’ ‘death to kikes,’: Messages seen at NYU – These were just a sample of the graffiti and other threatening messages Jewish students and employees reported seeing at campuses across the country. In another case, the words “Holocaust 2.0” were found written on the ground after a pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Maryland.

7. UCLA accused of allowing ‘Jewish exclusion’ zone – The California university is being sued for discrimination. In the lawsuit, Jewish students allege pro-Palestinian protesters restricted their access to campus, and UCLA administrators did nothing to stop them.

8. Jewish student’s door set on fire at Drexel University – The student’s dorm room door was targeted just three days after the Hamas attack. The student said she believed her outspoken support of Israel was the reason.

9. University of Michigan regent’s office vandalized with pro-Palestinian graffiti – Regent Jordan Acker, who is Jewish, described the crime as an act of “antisemitism” after noting none of the other regents were targeted.

10. More than 1,000 complaints against anti-Israel protesters documented at just one university – Among the many reports to DePaul University, a student told campus Public Safety that “she was followed through the Quad where she overheard ‘I want to kill her’ and ‘I want to rape her;’” and “told ‘You’re Jewish scum.’”

MORE: UCLA’s ‘Everything You Know About Palestine is Wrong’ event draws outrage

IMAGE: Jerusalem U/YouTube

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.