Several Jewish students at a private New York City college on Wednesday were forced to take shelter for their safety behind locked library doors as pro-Palestinian demonstrators aggressively banged on them while shouting anti-Israel slogans.
A brief video of the incident has gone viral, prompting major criticisms and reports of a possible lawsuit.
Jake Novak, former media director at the Israeli Consulate in New York, has posted on X a detailed account of the incident and its aftermath at The Cooper Union, the Daily Signal reported.
“A couple of key highlights from my interview with a major eyewitness/student at this incident,” Novak posted.
“1) Cooper U. dean said before the protest that he [could] not stop it because it was not slated to enter school property (which it obviously did) 2) NYPD was called as soon as the protesters stormed the main Cooper Union building, but did nothing. 3) Librarians bolted the doors and approached the identifiable Jewish students and told them they could hide in the attic if they wanted to.”
— Jake Novak (@jakejakeny) October 25, 2023
The Signal reported that on “social media, this decision drew sharp criticism and comparisons to Anne Frank hiding from the Nazis and other Holocaust situations during World War II.”
The New York Times reports:
The Cooper Union, which is on the edge of Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood and which grants degrees in art, architecture and engineering, has fewer than 1,000 students.
In the video, a small group of students, several identifiable as Jews by their skullcaps, can be seen talking to one another inside the library while students outside bang on the doors and yell pro-Palestinian slogans. The encounter followed a planned protest that began at about 1 p.m. outside the college …
About 70 students had been chanting pro-Palestinian slogans while about 20 pro-Israel students stood nearby watching silently in a counterprotest, John Chell, chief of patrol for the Police Department, said at a news conference on Thursday. …
Some of the Jewish students who had been counter-protesting had gone to the library on the lobby level, where other students were also present, according to the student who was there. The student spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns about safety on campus. Chief Chell said at no point did the police or private security at the campus perceive any danger from any of the protesters.
While police say there was no threat to the Jewish students, others sharply disagree.
CBS reports that “Parents and elected officials called out the school for not stopping pro-Palestinian demonstrations from getting into the school building and, in their words, ‘terrorizing Jewish students.'”
Several parents told CBS they have been begging campus leaders to protect their Jewish children enrolled at the school and have been met with apathy, adding the “students’ parents hired a lawyer to bring criminal charges.”
City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov also posted a long thread on X condemning Cooper Union and calling on President Laura Sparks to resign.
7. Some of the protestors were acting violent, held antisemitic posters, as well as what looked like sticks. (See video) Instead of removing the protestors from school grounds, the school barricaded the Jewish students in the school library. pic.twitter.com/BhehSpMXPB
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) October 26, 2023
“Even though this rally/walk-out was supposed to be outside the school on public property, protestors STORMED the school building. There were no consequences and NOBODY WAS ARRESTED. Faculty members CANCELLED CLASS for the walk out, ENCOURAGED students to participate and even offered EXTRA CREDIT to do so,” she posted.
“Some of the protestors were acting violent, held antisemitic posters, as well as what looked like sticks. (See video) Instead of removing the protestors from school grounds, the school barricaded the Jewish students in the school library.”
IMAGE: X screenshot / Jake Novak