Third Ivy League School Hit with Massive Antisemitism Lawsuit

2024-04-08 14:00:26

As we have been reporting, Manhattan heavy-hitter litigation law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres has filed lawsuits against Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) alleging wide-ranging antisemitism on campus and administrators complicit in heinous, aggressive actions taken against Jewish students: ANALYSIS – Harvard Jewish Student Antisemitism Lawsuit:

[There are] allegations of gross antisemitism in the Penn Complaint…You can read the entire, 259-paragraph, 84-page Penn Complaint here, but below are the first two paragraphs of the Complaint:

1. Penn, the historic 300-year-old Ivy League university, has transformed itself into an incubation lab for virulent anti-Jewish hatred, harassment, and discrimination. Once welcoming to Jewish students, Penn now subjects them to a pervasively hostile educational environment. Among other things, Penn enforces its own rules of conduct selectively to avoid protecting Jewish students from hatred and harassment, hires rabidly antisemitic professors who call for anti-Jewish violence and spread terrorist propaganda, and ignores Jewish students’ pleas for protection. In doing so, Penn has placed plaintiffs and other Jewish and Israeli students at severe emotional and physical risk.

2. This lawsuit seeks to hold Penn accountable under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the damages it has caused plaintiffs and for its failure to remedy the hostile environment on its campus. The harassment and discrimination on campus and in the classroom are relentless and intolerable. Plaintiffs and their Jewish peers are routinely subjected to vile and threatening antisemitic slurs and chants such as “Intifada Revolution,” “from the River to the Sea,” “Fuck the Jews,” “the Jews deserve everything that is happening to them,” “you are a dirty Jew, don’t look at us,” “keep walking you dirty little Jew,” “get out of here kikes!” and “go back to where you came from.” Plaintiffs and other Jewish students must traverse classrooms, dormitories, and buildings vandalized with antisemitic graffiti. Subjected to intense anti-Jewish vitriol, these students have been deprived of the ability and opportunity to fully and meaningfully participate in Penn’s educational and other programs.

[emphasis added in original post]

Kasowitz, as the law firm bringing these lawsuits is known, doesn’t fool around. Kasowitz’s tagline is: “Creative. Aggressive. Relentless,” and named partners Marc E. Kasowitz and Daniel R. Benson, among others, are representing the Plaintiffs in both the Harvard and Penn cases and another suit they have brought against New York University, as we reported: NYU Slammed with Massive Antisemitism Lawsuit. I highly recommend watching Kasowitz’s firm video available here.

Meanwhile, we have been documenting extensive antisemitism that allegedly exists at Columbia University. Just the titles of these posts give you a feel for what is happening, but review each for more detail:

You get the idea, and there are a lot more.

So it was no surprise to us when a Jewish graduate student at Columbia studying social work filed suit: Orthodox Jewish Student Files Lawsuit Against Columbia Over ‘Virulently Hostile’ Environment:

It’s surprising that there are not multiple lawsuits over this. Columbia has been terrible on this issue for months now.

FOX News reports:

Orthodox Jewish student sues Columbia over ‘virulently hostile’ environment in the wake of Oct. 7 attack

A Jewish student at Columbia University is suing the school over what she claims was an “explosion” of antisemitism since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, according to reports.

Mackenzie Forrest, a 23-year-old graduate student, filed the lawsuit against the Ivy League institution claiming she faced discrimination because she’s an Orthodox Jew and Sabbath observer, Bloomberg News reported. Forrest said protests calling for the genocide of Jews and antisemitic manifestos in the School of Social Work where she studied created a “virulently hostile” environment after the Hamas attack against the Jewish state.

Forrest said her rights under Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 were compromised, alleging the school “violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination and retaliation against Jewish persons” and failed to enforce its own rules of conduct to prevent “anti-Jewish harassment, threats, intimidation and hostile environments,” the Columbia Spectator reported.

“Columbia University failed Mackenzie and decided to launch a retaliatory campaign instead of protecting her from Jew-hatred,” said Brooke Goldstein, Founder and Executive Director of the Lawfare Project. “If the university had provided her with the appropriate accommodations that she is legally entitled to, we would not be in this situation. Columbia, like any other college and university, must protect the civil rights of their students and provide them with safe learning environments free of discrimination.”

The move came on the same day Columbia was added to a U.S. House Committee investigation on campus antisemitism. On Monday, the committee sent a letter to Columbia and its trustees requesting documents and information regarding various incidents that they believe show the school failed to protect its Jewish students in the week and months after the October attack, which left at least 1,200 Israelis dead and led to the capture of over 250 hostages.

And now, Kasowitz has filed suit against Columbia on behalf of two student non-profit organizations that fight antisemitism, Students Against Antisemitism, Inc., and StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice, and five individual Columbia student plaintiffs who allege that they have been subjected to rampant antisemitism. Read the allegations (if you can stand it) in Paragraph 1 of the Complaint, which you can review in full at the bottom of this post:

  1. Columbia, one of America’s leading universities, has for decades been one of the worst centers of academic antisemitism in the United States. Since October 7, 2023, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and slaughtered, tortured, raped, burned, and mutilated 1,200 people—including infants, children, and the elderly—antisemitism at Columbia has been particularly severe and pervasive. Columbia faculty and students have openly lauded Hamas’s October 7 atrocities as “astounding,” “awesome,” and “great feats.” Mobs of pro-Hamas students and faculty have marched by the hundreds through Columbia’s campus, shouting vile antisemitic slogans, including calls for genocide, such as: “Jews will not defeat us”; “there is only one solution, Intifada revolution”; “we will honor our martyrs”; “resistance is justified”; “by any means necessary”; and, in Arabic, “from water to water, Palestine will be Arab.” Those mobs have occupied buildings, promoted violence against Jews, and harassed and assaulted Jews on campus. Jewish and Israeli students have been spat at, physically assaulted, threatened, and targeted on campus and social media with epithets such as “fuck the Jews,” and “death to Jews.” Columbia faculty have promulgated antisemitism in their courses and dismissed and intimidated students who object. What is most striking about all of this is Columbia’s abject failure and deliberate refusal to lift a finger to stop and deter this outrageous antisemitic conduct and discipline the students and faculty who perpetrate it.

[emphasis added]

Interestingly, one day after Kasowitz filed suit against Columbia, Columbia filed a “Statement of Related Case,” citing the existence of the previously filed lawsuit brought by Mackenzie Forrest and asking the court to combine the cases.

Kasowitz, from its response, was having none of it:

In the [present] action, the plaintiffs—five individual students and two organizations whose members include ten students—assert hostile educational environment and other claims against Columbia and Barnard College arising from numerous antisemitic incidents affecting those fifteen students, as well as the broader Jewish community at Columbia and Barnard, in numerous of Columbia’s constituent schools over an extended period of time. By contrast, in the Forrest action, one student in one of Columbia’s constituent schools (the School of Social Work) asserts discrimination and retaliation claims against Columbia and three individual Columbia administrators arising from three antisemitic incidents directed uniquely against the plaintiff over a much narrower time period.

The actions therefore do not appear to meet the standard for relatedness….The actions do not “concern the same or substantially similar parties, property, transactions, or events,” and there is no “substantial factual overlap” between the two actions….

The only overlap between the actions is that the plaintiffs in both assert civil rights claims under federal, state, and local laws arising from antisemitic discrimination. However, if anything, that would appear to militate against a determination of relatedness, given the “desirability of enriching the development of the law by having a plurality of judges examine in the first instance common questions of law.”

[citations omitted for clarity]

The court denied the motion.

Columbia will respond to the Complaint soon, either with an “Answer” addressing the allegations in the Complaint, after which discovery will start, or with a motion to dismiss.

We will keep you updated on this and the other antisemitism cases as they progress.

For now, check out this short video of Marc Kasowitz explaining the lawsuits his firm is bringing against NYU, Harvard, Penn, and Columbia:

And on X:



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