Police at New York’s prestigious Cornell University are currently investigating a series of online threats made against Jewish students. The threats, which were posted on a website not affiliated with the university, specifically targeted the school’s Center for Jewish Living. In response to the threats, Martha Pollack, the president of Cornell University, issued a statement condemning the messages as “horrendous, anti-Semitic messages threatening violence to our Jewish community.”
Pollack assured the Cornell community that the Cornell Police (CUPD) are currently on the scene and investigating the matter. Additionally, the FBI has been notified of the potential hate crime. Pollack emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of the students and community members, stating that the police will continue to remain on-site to provide protection.
The incident in question originated from a series of anonymous posts on a Cornell discussion forum, some of which were shared on social media platforms. The content of these posts included calls for the murder of campus Jews, describing them as “rats.” Furthermore, the posts expressed support for the Hamas militant group and called for “liberation by any means necessary.”
This incident occurs amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, fueling tensions between the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli communities. These tensions were amplified when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in numerous casualties. In response, Israel launched air and missile attacks on Gaza, announcing later the expansion of ground operations in the Palestinian enclave.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Cornell University has experienced tension during the current conflict. Recently, the university’s sidewalks were vandalized with graffiti, including messages such as “Zionism equals Racism” and “Israel is Fascist.” These graffiti were discovered after Professor Russell Rickford made controversial comments praising the Hamas attack as “exhilarating” and “energizing” during a pro-Palestine protest. As a result, Professor Rickford took a leave of absence from the university.
The incident at Cornell University is deeply concerning and raises serious questions about the rise of anti-Semitic sentiments. It is a stark reminder that acts of hate and calls for violence are absolutely intolerable in any community. Martha Pollack, in her statement, emphasized the need to combat divisive forces that promote hatred.
In response to the threats, Cornell Hillel, the Jewish student organization, advised individuals to avoid the Center for Jewish Living out of an abundance of caution. The safety of the students and community members remains the top priority.
As the police continue their investigation into the online threats, it is crucial for the Cornell community to come together to promote understanding, tolerance, and respect among all individuals regardless of their religious or cultural background. Education and open dialogue play a crucial role in countering hate and ensuring that such incidents do not occur in the future.
The Cornell incident is a disturbing reminder that anti-Semitism remains a significant issue that needs to be addressed at both the institutional and societal levels. It is a wake-up call for universities and communities to redouble their efforts in creating inclusive environments and combating hate speech. The safety and well-being of all individuals must be upheld, and any form of discrimination or prejudice should never be tolerated.