I’m a professor at Columbia who is Jewish. Right now, I wouldn’t let my kids go here

(NBC) — I’m a professor at Columbia University, forty years old, and I started crying in front of a lot of strangers on campus last month.

I had no intention of crying. When I discussed the threat of antisemitism on US universities in a video that has now gone viral, the tears just started to flow. Based on the numerous encouraging letters I’ve received, it appears that Jews around the nation have been grieving alongside me. That was the purest cry of anguish, more like a howl. human pain in some kind. A cry from the lowest, most fundamental, and darkest of fears. A cry that has been inside of me for weeks, demanding that I voice it.

I experienced severe, unrelenting anguish after the awful killing that Hamas terrorists carried out in Israel on October 7. Sadness for the thousands of people who were beheaded, shot, killed, disfigured, and raped. sorrow at the deliberate murder of infants, some of whom were burned beyond recognition. Sadness for the bewildered kids who were forced into captivity in Gaza by armed guys.

But the grief was darker, deeper. A sorrow that oozed out of a wound I had believed to have healed. a sorrow stemming from the pain buried deep within every Jewish individual. a sorrow that results from witnessing Jews being persecuted in their homes and communities once more.

A moment later, great anxiety joined this blackest of griefs. I was afraid for my family’s future here in New York City as well as for the future of innocent Israeli and Palestinian youngsters.
I find myself abandoned after more than 13 years of cultivating a close-knit group of liberals who share my views.

abandoned by the loud silence of neighbors and friends who won’t speak up against the heinous crimes committed against humanity by Hamas. Abandoned by peers who view such tragedies as “awesome” acts of “resistance,” and who whitewash and justify barbarities such as the rape of Israeli women and the killing of Israeli children with disabilities as a simple “military response.

” Abandoned by student organizations that cheered the October 7 slaughter, declaring “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” which is code for the extermination of Jews residing in Israel.

Abandoned by my own employer, Columbia University, which has permitted such sentiments to occur under the pretext of encouraging “different points of view.” It is hypocritical to say that “we must avoid language that vilifies, threatens, or stereotypes entire groups of people” when instructors and students are already doing just that.

This is not taking place in Gaza. In Israel, no. In the United States of America, right here. Universities, which are meant to be safe havens for all members of society, are located here. Everyone except Jews and Israelis, it appears.

The most terrifying realization a parent can have is that, on the day after the horrific massacre carried out by Hamas, there are people in America who view my two-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son—who are dual citizens of the US and Israel—as legitimate targets of resistance.

If my kids had been older, I would have been thrilled for them to attend Columbia, such a fantastic university. But not under this leadership, not right now. I would worry too much about their security. Merely semantic distinctions exist between the Nazi cry of “Germany for Germans” and the slogan of student organizations “from the river to the sea.” There is a similar antisemitic sentiment.

These chants aren’t the only thing that keep me up at night. It is the inevitable antisemitic violence that happens when administrators at universities choose to turn a blind eye.

There is the Jewish student here who has been spit on, cursed at, and threatened with death; there is the Israeli student who was physically attacked at my place of employment, Columbia University, while displaying posters of the kidnapped infants in Gaza.

On the campus of Cornell University, my alma school, there are threats made online to rape Jewish women, throw them down a cliff, and slice the throats of Jewish males. )The president of the university announced that the institution would react “rapidly and forcefully” to the arrest of the suspect, who is currently being held in jail. threats.)

There are the student organizations that, in solidarity with Hamas’s activities, broke down doors to a Manhattan library, Cooper Union, while terrified Jewish students barricaded themselves inside. There are the Jews at Tulane University in New Orleans who support Israel and who took punches and kicks. A UC Davis professor, for example, ended a social media post with the emojis of a knife, a hatchet, and three drips of blood, threatening to harm Jewish journalists and their children. The list is endless.

These days, whether I’m walking my family through Central Park or riding the subway to campus, I get a sharp, focused worry that makes me wonder who among my neighbors, coworkers, and friends thinks my kids are acceptable targets. Who in my community thinks my Israeli and Jewish students’ lives are worthless? How can I ever feel secure on a university whose administration does not denounce the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 that included the rape of young women?

There has to be action taken in response to the horrifying surge in antisemitism on US universities. Make contact with all state and local politicians. Sign up for PTA. Write a commentary. Dial your university. Take legal action. Institutional leaders who, by their silence, give courage to those who want to wipe out an entire people group must answer to us. The heads of our institutions need to be made aware that their empty PR gimmicks, such as forming antisemitism task committees, are useless if they don’t denounce campus support for terrorism. We have to make it very evident to the world that we value everyone’s life equally.

In addition, we Israelis and Jews have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and promote peaceful coexistence. We need to cultivate empathy for everyone who is currently attempting to live a life of safety and dignity, even in the worst of times.

One does not have to be anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli to be in favor of a free Palestine. It is possible to openly voice one’s hatred of Hamas while also fighting for an independent Palestinian state and feeling profound sorrow for the suffering of defenseless Palestinian children. I am aware because I am. I am aware of this since numerous Columbia faculty members and students have expressed to me their desire to stand with the Palestinian people despite their refusal to participate in racist demonstrations honoring Hamas’ atrocities.

What we cannot do is put up with the existence of terror groups that have gained international recognition and make overt calls for our destruction. Student organizations that support terrorism and celebrate the crimes carried out by terrorist groups are not welcome in the United States. Torture and the killing of civilians are unacceptable forms of resistance that we will never condone.

Naturally, this terror that has taken hold of me is not new. It is a part of every Jewish person, whether they be Reform, Orthodox, or, like me, humanist atheists. This fear predates both the Jewish people’s existence and their oppression. That’s a dread. that generally prevents us from opening the entrance to the dark caverns that contain every Jewish psyche. Jewish parents attempt to protect their children from this fear, which is something that Jewish children receive from their parents.

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