Jewish students ask Congress to force elite universities to take antisemitism seriously

The undergraduates at elite colleges shared their harrowing stories of antisemitism on campus


Jewish students asked a Capitol Hill committee to force their elite universities to take antisemitism seriously with one revealing she had been beaten with a stick outside her library.

Nine undergraduates addressed the House Committee on Education and revealed their own harrowing stories of campus antisemitism.

They criticised college authorities for failing to address the intimidation and violence they face on a daily basis following Hamas’ terror attack on Oct. 7.

Eden Yadegar, at Columbia University, said: “We have been attacked with sticks outside of our library. We have been surrounded by angry mobs. And we have been threatened to ‘keep f***ing running’.

“Stunning, astonishing, awesome, jubilant, achievement: These are the words that a professor at my university used to describe the deadliest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

Shabbos Kestenbaum, a Harvard Divinity School student, said he had written to Harvard’s antisemitism taskforce more than 40 times but has yet to receive a reply.

He revealed that he lodged a complaint last month about a Harvard employee who challenged him to debate about “whether Jews orchestrated 9/11”.

Kestenbaum, who is suing Harvard for failing to tackle antisemtism, said: “That same Harvard employee posted a video on his social media with a machete and a picture of my face saying he wants to fight and has a plan.

“For three days I had private armed security outside my house. I had armed security follow me to Shabbat prayer services for my own protection.

“While I immediately flagged this issue to Harvard and to the police, this individual is still employed by Harvard.

“This is the reality of being a Jew at Harvard in 2024.”

Jacob Khalili revealed no action has been taken by Cooper Union after he was one of a dozen Jewish students who were forced to barricade themselves in a campus library in October to escape antisemitic demonstrators.

He said: “I was shocked and horrified to learn that President Sparks had been offered, yet refused, police intervention, and then at some point, she had ducked out a back entrance to avoid the demonstrators.”

Kathy Manning, co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, said the testimonies were “horrifying.”

“I cannot help but wonder: Is this 1932 Germany all over again? Is this Russia in 1903, when my grandparents fled the deadly pogroms and came to this country seeking refuge from antisemites?

“Every one of us in Congress should be asking ourselves: How did we get here, and what can we do to stop this?”

Virginia Foxx, Education and Workforce chair, said even after the resignations of the presidents of Harvard and UPenn, universities are not addressing the issue.

Foxx said: “Let me be clear, this is not about policing speech, or opinions, even if disagreeable or offensive.

“It is about protecting Jewish students from the harassment, threats, intimidation and assaults plaguing the campuses.”

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