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Rutgers University Student Targeted in Anti-Semitic Flyer Incident

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Rutgers University Student Targeted in Anti-Semitic Flyer Incident

Edited by: Fern Sidman

The deadline loomed for Rutgers University students to cast their votes on a contentious referendum targeting the school’s investments and partnership with Israel, igniting a firestorm of controversy and amplifying the hostility Jewish students have long faced on campus, according to a recently published report in the New York Post. Rivka Schafer, a student at Rutgers, spoke out about the pervasive sense of fear and insecurity gripping the Jewish community in the wake of escalating tensions and acts of discrimination.

The flyers, adorned with Schafer’s image alongside the words “Free Palestine” and “Free Gaza,” urged a “yes” vote for the university to divest from Israel. As was reported by the Post, they were discovered throughout the Demarest Hall dormitory, sending shockwaves through the campus community and leaving Schafer feeling deeply unsettled and unsafe.

“I don’t feel safe in my own dorm,” Schafer lamented, highlighting the distressing impact of the targeted harassment, as per the Post report. “That’s not just terrifying, that’s outright harassment, that’s anti-Semitism,” she added, reflecting the gravity of the situation.

Despite filing a report with the Rutgers University Police Department, Schafer found herself disillusioned and disheartened after meetings with campus police and administrators, feeling increasingly vulnerable and singled out for her religious beliefs, the information in the Post report indicated. The lack of immediate response from the university only compounds the sense of insecurity and unease surrounding the incident.

The origin of Schafer’s image on the flyers was traced back to a social media video from a Students Supporting Israel march earlier in the week, where her face was cropped and blown up for the flyer, the report in the Post said. This calculated act of targeting serves as a stark reminder of the insidious nature of anti-Semitic sentiment and the lengths to which perpetrators will go to spread hatred and division.

The incident also sheds light on the broader Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to delegitimize Israel by pressuring individuals and entities to sever ties with the Jewish state. As was noted in the Post report, while BDS is banned in many states, including New Jersey, its proponents continue to exploit platforms and opportunities to propagate anti-Israel rhetoric and incite hostility towards Jewish communities.

“Not a single Jewish student feels safe simply walking to the bus stop,” Schafer lamented, the Post reported, underscoring the pervasive climate of fear and intimidation that has permeated campus life. But Schafer’s story is just one of many, highlighting the pervasive nature of anti-Semitic sentiment on campus. One student recounted a disturbing incident where a calculus class was derailed by a student advocating for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, disrupting the learning environment and fostering an atmosphere of hostility and division.

Another student shared a harrowing experience in which she was surrounded by a group of pro-Hamas supporters on campus, who threatened violence and expressed support for extremist organizations, the information in the Post report said. The traumatizing encounter underscored the urgent need for Rutgers University to address the rising tide of anti-Semitism and ensure the safety and well-being of all students on campus.

Despite previous controversies, including a public apology for condemning anti-Semitism and criticism over the university’s sponsorship of events featuring “terrorist sympathizers” and proponents of radical ideologies, Rutgers has yet to effectively address the root causes of intolerance and discrimination, according to the information contained in the Post report. The recent referendum only exacerbates existing tensions and deepens the sense of alienation among Jewish students.

As allegations of anti-Semitism and radicalism rock the institution, prompting investigations by both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce, Jewish advocacy groups have penned a scathing letter to Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, demanding action to address the clear lack of protection for Jewish students on campus.

In particular, the Post report said that Rutgers’ Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), identified as a faction of a radical pro-Hamas group, has come under scrutiny for its alleged role in orchestrating anti-Israel protests and targeting Jewish student organizations.

The letter to President Holloway accuses Rutgers of failing to protect its Jewish students, highlighting a pattern of inaction in the face of escalating tensions and discriminatory behavior. As was noted in the Post report, allegations suggest that SJP and a newly formed student group, “Pali,” are actively working to undermine Jewish student organizations, including Rutgers’ Hillel International group.

Amidst the turmoil, a Rutgers law student has taken legal action against the university, alleging retaliation after he publicly criticized student “Hamas supporters.” The lawsuit underscores the high stakes involved in confronting extremism and defending freedom of expression on college campuses.

As Rutgers University grapples with these allegations, it faces a pivotal moment in its history, with the integrity of its academic community and commitment to diversity and inclusion hanging in the balance. The outcome of the investigations and the university’s response will have far-reaching implications for its reputation and the safety and well-being of all students on campus. In the face of mounting pressure, Rutgers must demonstrate unwavering resolve in upholding its values and addressing the concerns of its diverse student body.


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