The news that New York City, in cooperation with university officials, has now begun a police crackdown on pro-Palestinian protesters – students and trespassers alike – that have occupied parts of several school campuses in the city and destroyed university property is certainly welcome. But it should be clearly borne in mind that addressing the rampant antisemitic targeting of Jewish students for intimidation and harassment is not a primary focus of the NYPD. Rather their mission is to end the violence and disruptions that are wreaking havoc in institutions of higher learning.

So, it is important to note that there are Federal, NYS, and NYC human rights laws on the books that could come into play to address the antisemitism on college and university campuses that has recently spiked.


The New York State Human Rights law, for example, outlaws various forms of discrimination, like harassment, bullying and permitting a hostile environment to take root, when based upon protected characteristics. While that law has typically been invoked in response to allegations of discrimination based upon race, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation, it reaches claims of discrimination based on religion as well.

The New York law is nominally enforced by the NYS Division of Human Rights and the NYS Attorney General and both are authorized to mount investigations and seek preliminary injunctive relief from the courts.

The covered educational institutions include public schools, pre-K through university and private schools, pre-K through university (other than those run by a religious organization).

It’s time to do something about what is happening all around us.

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