Administrators at a taxpayer-funded New Jersey college backtracked on a statement condemning the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States following a pressure campaign by the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine.
Rutgers-New Brunswick chancellor Christopher Molloy and provost Francine Conway said in a Wednesday statement that they were “saddened by and greatly concerned” by the spike of anti-Semitism in the United States, as dozens of American Jews have been harassed and assaulted by extremist Palestinian activists following unrest between terrorists in the Gaza Strip and Israel. By Friday, the campus leaders had rescinded their disapproval of anti-Semitism, saying they “failed to communicate our support for Palestinian” faculty and students.
“Our diversity must be supported by equity, inclusion, antiracism, and the condemnation of all forms of bigotry and hatred,” they said in an apology note first reported by the Daily Caller.
The apology came after Students for Justice in Palestine, a national campus group known for bullying and harassing Jewish students, disapproved of the administrators’ note in a Thursday statement.
“The Chancellor and Provost’s statement exclusively addressing antisemitism comes during a time when Israel’s occupation of Palestine is finally receiving widespread criticism, and despite mentioning the ‘deaths of children and adults and mass displacement of citizens in the Gaza region,’ conveniently ignores the extend to which Palestinians have been brutalized by Israel’s occupation and bombing of Gaza,” Rutgers-New Brunswick’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine said in an Instagram post.
The group’s positions gained support, however, from more than 140 Rutgers faculty members who signed a letter condemning “Zionist settler colonialism.” Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian activist who was ousted from the board of the Women’s March for anti-Semitic comments, praised the letter on Twitter.
The Anti-Defamation League reported 222 anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States during the two-week conflict between Israel and terrorists in the Gaza Strip—a 75 percent increase from two weeks before. Palestinian activists are behind most of those incidents, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Molloy and Conway’s apology did not satiate Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Students for Justice in Palestine. In a Friday statement, the organization denounced Zionism and said Molloy and Conway “contributed blatantly” to “the most egregious injustice against Palestinians,” which the group defined as Israel’s existence.
“The ‘apology’ released by Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway persists on the nonnecessity of actually supporting Palestinian students, faculty and allies as we grieve, organize, and resist the Zionist occupation of Palestine,” the statement reads.
Student leaders at American universities have condemned Israel for defending themselves against terrorists, who align with Palestinians in opposition to the Jewish state. One unsigned letter from the University of Chicago’s Undergraduate Student Government used an anti-Semitic trope that implies wiping Israel off the map.
“From the river to the sea, USG supports a Palestine that is free,” the student leaders said in a May 22 letter.
The University of Michigan’s student government shared similar sentiments. The Central Student Government called Israel an “apartheid” state in a letter and demanded that the university divest from Israeli companies that profit “off of the settler state’s occupation.”
A Rutgers University spokesman said the school had no further comment beyond the administrators’ apology.
The recent widespread condemnation of Israel at American universities comes as the Jewish state struck down Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, in response to nearly two weeks of terrorist attacks. Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets at Israel over the course of 11 days before agreeing to a ceasefire on May 20.
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