Colleges increase security at religious events as antisemitism reports grow
Jewish students celebrating Hanukkah are being met with swastikas and calls of “intifada” this week on college campuses amid mounding reports of antisemitism.
In response, some colleges have increased security for religious events during Hanukkah, which began Dec. 7 and continues through Friday. The holiday is a religious celebration in which Jews remember the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, other colleges are being accused of ignoring antisemitism.
At Columbia University, a crowd of students shouted, “Long live intifada!” – a chant “widely recognized as a call for violence against Jews” – on Monday, the fifth day of Hanukkah, the Israeli news site CTech reports.
“Long live intifada!” heard yesterday at @Columbia on the fifth day of Hanukkah.
The chant is widely recognized as a call for violence against Jews and supporters of the State of Israel.
— James Spiro (@JamesSpiro) December 12, 2023
Shai Davidai, a Jewish assistant professor at Columbia’s business school, said on X that the chants violate school policy and the protest was unauthorized, but university leaders did nothing.
“It’s been 24 hours since supposedly banned student organizations at @Columbia chanted ‘Long live the intifada,’” Davidai wrote Tuesday. “The silence of @Columbia’s President, Provost, and Board of trustees is deafening.”
Meanwhile, at Ithaca College, a swastika was found on a rock wall near its Kosher Kitchen on Dec. 7, the first night of Hanukkah, according to The Ithacan student newspaper.
La Jerne Cornish, president of the private New York college, denounced the Nazi symbol and promised to investigate the incident in an email to the whole campus Dec. 8.
“We absolutely denounce this ignorant and hateful act of antisemitism,” Cornish said. “Acts of hatred have no place on our campus, and we must join together to condemn them and reaffirm that Ithaca College must remain a safe space for every member of our community.”
She said the college will provide additional security during upcoming Hanukkah celebrations on campus.
Similar antisemitic acts at Ohio State University this fall had students asking about security measures during Hanukkah, too, according to ABC 6.
Sarah Deitsch, operations director of the Chabad House, a Jewish student center at Ohio State, said she received “numerous texts from Jewish students” asking about security measures at their public Menorah lighting Dec. 7.
Typically, the event draws hundreds of students, but many are “hesitating because of this mood on campus that they might actually be in danger,” Deitsch told ABC 6.
Earlier this fall, two Ohio State students were assaulted near the Jewish center and Israeli flags were vandalized at the campus Hillel Center, according to the report.
In the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, Jewish faculty and students have reported a huge rise in antisemitism on U.S. campuses, including messages that “Hitler was right,” “gas the Jews,” and “from the river to the sea,” The College Fix reported.
Some university leaders are being accused of not doing enough to crack down on the problem.
On Saturday, the president of the University of Pennsylvania resigned after saying that calling for the “genocide of Jews” may not always violate school harassment and bullying policies.