“the best thing that students can do to combat the hatred that we’re seeing is to stand strong”

2024-04-12 18:20:19

I previously wrote about the ‘Jewish Unity Rally‘ being held at Cornell on Sunday, April 12, 2024, at which I will be speaking.

The NY Post already has covered the story:

“I will be attending and speaking at the rally to show my support for Jewish students on campus, many of whom feel abandoned by the administration and faculty,” said Cornell law professor William Jacobson, founder of EqualProtect.org, a right-leaning civil rights group.

“Now more than ever, it is important to show students they are not alone, and that there are faculty who are willing to stand with them in this difficult time.

Student Amanda Silberstein and I appeared this afternoon on Fox News America Reports with Sandra Smith:

Transcript (auto-generated, may contain transcription errors)

Video – Amanda Silberstein (00:00):

I never thought twice about putting on my Jewish star every day about opening my computer with my Hebrew keyboard in class. But today I do think twice about that. And a the thought of being persecuted for who I am, being looked at differently and being discriminated against crosses my mind multiple times a day. So

Sandra Smith (00:19):

That was Amanda Silverstein, a Jewish sophomore at Cornell University. She testified to lawmakers earlier this year after a wave of anti-Semitic protests hit college campuses nationwide. This week alone, one of Cornell’s former students pleaded guilty to sending anti-Semitic online threats to classmates. All of this led students there to plan a Jewish unity rally to combat antisemitism.

Joining us now is Amanda Silberstein and William Jacobson, a Cornell University law professor, set to speak during Sunday’s rally. So thanks to both of you for joining us. Professor, if you could just sort of preview what’s going to happen on Sunday first.

WAJ (00:57):

Well, we’re expecting up to a thousand students, maybe more. This is a campus with 3000 Jewish students. I know people are coming from off campus who want to participate. There’s going to be a number of speakers. I think I’m the only faculty speaker, but this is a show of solidarity with the students. This event is really about the students who for six months now have undergone almost nonstop harassment, nonstop intimidation, from anti-Israel groups and anti-Israel professors. So this is a student event and I think it’s going to be a great show of solidarity.

Smith (01:31):

Amanda, you are a Jewish student there at Cornell Sophomore. What has that been like for you?

Silberstein (01:38):

Especially since October 7th, there’s been a true surge in antisemitism on our campus. American college campuses have recently emerged as one of the main major sites for the expressions of hatred against the Jews. And not only is hate speech being sanctioned on our campus, as long as Jews are the targets, but even affirmative calls for violence and genocide against the Jews are being permitted and not stopped by any administration or faculty across campuses and especially at Cornell.

Smith (02:10):

Professor, I think about how long this has been going on. I mean, rewind the tape. This is October, 2023. Professor Russell Rickford. Listen here.

Video of Russell Rickford (02:21):

Hamas has shifted the balance of power. Hamas has punctured the illusion of invincibility. It was exhilarating, it was energizing.

Smith (02:32):

We all remember that, right? It was exhilarating. It was energizing. Looking back at that attack, professor, Cornell’s president responded with a statement. It took a while. It was December 9th, 2023. “Over the past few days, a number of universities, including Cornell, have been asked by members of Congress to make clear their policies around genocide. Genocide is abhorrent and Cornell condemns calls for the genocide of any people. An explicit call for genocide to kill all members of a group of people would be a violation of our policies.”

Professor, what would you say about the way the universities are responding to this problem?

WAJ (03:12):

Well, I think that statement is a good example. It’s carefully worded to use a definition of genocide that is not the standard definition. The people on this campus are calling for mass murder of Jews. They may not be calling for murder of all Jews, and therefore they would not run afoul of the administration policy. So that’s part of the problem.

That professor’s attitude of feeling exhilarated is an attitude shared by many professors, shared by many students on campus, and they verbalize it. They march with bullhorns calling for an Intifada. Intifada was the suicide bombing campaign against Israel. They march with bullhorns inside academic buildings, calling for ‘from the river to the sea. Palestine will be free’. By the way, that is a phrase that was one of the phrases shouted by that junior, in the criminal complaint against him. Those are all acceptable on this campus only because they were directed towards Jews.

Smith (04:08):

Amanda, if I could just finish off, ahead of the weekend. When we do expect to see this rally and hear the professor talk, I mean the report card your school got was a D, you know, the Jewish bigotry. It’s an Ivy League school. You’re a student there. I know you’re proud to go there. Have you ever considered leaving?

Silberstein (04:28):

I frankly have not considered leaving. I think that the best thing that students can do to combat the hatred that we’re seeing is to stand strong, is to show that we will not be silenced into submission. And that’s what this rally is about. It’s really a testament to our collective strength and resilience as a community, and showing that we are unapologetically Jewish on this campus. And that will never change.

Smith (04:52):

Amanda, thank you so much. Professor, thank you. We’ll be watching to see what happens this weekend.


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