Photo Credit: Wikimedia / SWinxy
Multiple signs at protests in and around Columbia University in support of "Palestine" and against Israel. April 22, 2024

Welcome back to 1932, albeit in the Big Apple rather than Vienna.

On October 27, 1932, the Jewish Daily Bulletin (precursor to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported from Vienna that 19 Jewish students were injured in “Nazi disturbances” at the University of Vienna, the Anatomical Institute and the Physiological College, closing the university for the second time that week.


The “disturbances ” were a continuation of those a few days earlier in which several American students were among the 25 who were injured.

“The Nazi students used iron bars, whips and sticks as weapons. Members of the faculty and the rector tried unsuccessfully to halt the Nazi terrorization,” the newspaper reported.

Nineteen Jewish students were injured in “Nazi disturbances” at the University of Vienna on October 27, 1932.

Fast forward to the United States, 2024.

Jews comprise about 16 percent of the population of New York City – some 1.6 million Members of the Tribe live there, making it the largest Jewish community in the world, surpassing the combined totals of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Nevertheless and despite Mayor Eric Adams’ efforts – antisemitism has seized control over the city’s higher education institutions.

For weeks, Columbia University has been Ground Zero in this maelstrom of intimidation, death threats and even physical violence against the university’s Jewish students and professors. Hundreds of pro-Hamas terror followers are still camping out intents

In the past two weeks, most of the other higher education institutions in the city have joined the hate fest as well.

The New School
In “solidarity” with their antisemitic “comrades” at Columbia, students at the New School likewise pitched tents and occupied the school’s lobby last Sunday in what they said was a “liberty zone” in the Union Square campus.

Signs among the tents proclaimed “Divest from genocide now!” and “Gaza solidarity encampment!” among other declarations.

The New School’s chapter of “Students for Justice in Palestine” – yes they have one there too — posted a call to action via Instagram, exhorting the anarchists to “Show up now!”

Protesters at the New School demand the administration begin “refusing collaboration” with NYPD, protect anti-Israel professors and “enact an academic boycott of the genocidal Zionist apartheid state.”

The school’s administration agreed to meet with anarchist representatives to “discuss their interest in divesting from certain holdings within the university’s endowment,” according to a statement quoted by the New York Post.

New York University (NYU)
One of the most acclaimed institutions in the city, New York University (NYU) is also grappling with calls to make its campus Judenrein.

But NYU showed itself to be far less tolerant of the anarchy.

On Monday evening, police arrested dozens of pro-Hamas thugs at the university after they ignored a deadline to clear the area.

Nevertheless, a Jewish professor at the university pointedly told MSNBC on Tuesday that a vicious double standard is in full swing.

“I can tell you, if I went into the NYU square with a white hood on and said, ‘Lynch the blacks’ or ‘Burn the gays,’ my ID would be shut off by that night,” Scott Galloway, an NYU Stern School of Business professor, told MSNBC on Tuesday.

“I would never work in academia again,” he added. “There would be no need for the words ‘context’ or ‘nuance,’ I wouldn’t be protected by the First Amendment or free speech.”

Augdath Israel Urges ‘Quell Raging Antisemitism’
Agudath Israel of America this week called upon officials at all levels of government, law enforcement, and the Columbia University leadership to “immediately quell the raging antisemitism and violence that has been allowed to overtake the university.”

The organization wrote in its statement that “protestors” for peace and cease-fire at Columbia and other universities “have unmasked themselves as faithful agents of the terror organizations whose cause they now champion thousands of miles away.

“The charade is over. Jews worldwide hardly need a more poignant reminder of the pointed verses” recited earlier this week at the Passover Seder, the organization wrote. “We pray that the Almighty deliver us from these evil forces and continue to protect the Jewish nation.”

NYC Mayor Warns NYPD Has No Power on Campus
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a firm supporter of the Jewish State and a longtime friend to the Jewish community in his city, expressed outrage and disgust at the rising hate.

But the mayor also warned that under current laws, he and the city’s police department have very limited ability to “quell the raging antisemitism and violence.”

Adams issued a statement saying, “I am horrified and disgusted with the antisemitism being spewed at and around the Columbia University campus — like the example of a young woman holding a sign with an arrow pointing to Jewish students stating ‘Al-Qasam’s Next Targets,’ or another where a woman is literally yelling ‘We are Hamas,’ or another where groups of students are chanting ‘We don’t want no Zionists here’ — and I condemn this hate speech in the strongest of terms. Supporting a terrorist organization that aims to kill Jews is sickening and despicable.”

However: “I do, however, want to be abundantly clear: Columbia University is a private institution on private property, which means the NYPD cannot have a presence on campus unless specifically requested by senior university officials,” Adams noted.

“The NYPD has an increased presence of officers situated around the campus to protect students and all New Yorkers on nearby public streets, and they stand ready to respond if another request is made by the university, as they did [last] Thursday, when the NYPD successfully cleared encampments on Columbia’s South Lawn without any injuries.”

Adams urged the administration at Columbia University to “improve and maintain an open line of communication with the NYPD to ensure the safety of all students and staff on campus, as well as for the safety of all New Yorkers.”

Governor Declines to Step In
Gov. Kathy Hochul declined on Tuesday to take action to bring the situation under control.

Hochul told reporters that after meeting with the university’s administrators, she does not plan to call the National Guard to respond to the ongoing hate.

The governor’s stance is not new: in August 1991, a three-day pogrom in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn forced thousands of Jewish residents to hide in their homes. Two people were murdered by the raging mobs who yelled “Hitler didn’t finish the job” and “Kill the Jews” and others were injured. Numerous apartment buildings were evacuated by NYPD and their Jewish occupants temporarily relocated for their own safety — this writer’s family among them.

Then-Mayor David Dinkins declined to request assistance from the governor, and rejected calls for intervention by the National Guard.

His hands tied, then-Governor Mario Cuomo told reporters he was legally unable to intervene without a request from the mayor.

Columbia Resets Deadline to End the Occupation
Rather than ask the NYPD to enforce the myriad laws being violated by the mobs of antisemitic thugs who have seized control over the campus, Columbia University President Nemat Minouche Shafik has option to “negotiate” with the anarchists.

In an email sent Tuesday night to the university community, Shafik said she had set a midnight deadline for negotiations aimed at ending the standoff.

When the talks failed, the deadline was extended to 8 am.

And then it was extended again, giving the thugs another 48 hours to dismantle the tent city that’s popped up on campus, following “important progress with representatives of the student encampment.”

Tail wagging the dog.

Columbia University Apartheid Divest, which is organizing the tidal wave of hate, issued a statement early Wednesday saying that it will not continue to engage in negotiations with members of the administration “until there is a written commitment that the administration will not be unleashing the NYPD or the National Guard on its students.”

The statement, posted on X by Columbia’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, had an eerily familiar ring to those who follow the progress — or lack thereof — in the hostage negotiations between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States. Hamas has rejected each and every proposal for a temporary ceasefire during which the terrorist organization would free the 133 hostages who remain in Gaza — many of whom have already died at the hands of their captors.

Shafik Encourages Jewish Students to Hide
Meanwhile, Shafik has announced classes for the rest of the semester will move to a hybrid format in which those who are “uncomfortable” could learn online via a remote format, and those who are just fine with the current reality could continue to attend live classes.

This raises some obvious questions.

Are the students forced into remote learning for their own safety entitled to a partial refund on the tens of thousands they spent on tuition this year? What can they expect in semesters ahead?

What about Israeli-born Professor Shai Davidai, whose university card was deactivated and who was barred from entering the campus for a pro-Jewish rally? Is he entitled to compensation for the aggravation and harassment he is experiencing?

Has anyone in the federal government taken action to revoke funding to the university due to its clear violation of multiple civil rights, education and other federal laws?

Moral Equivalence from the Top
President Joe Biden was careful this week to maintain the administration’s vaunted moral equivalence between antisemitism and “what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

Speaking to reporters following an Earth Day event Monday in Virginia, Biden said, “I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I’ve set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

But some lawmakers are indeed taking action. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is one of them.

Stefanik sent a letter to top Biden Administration officials Tuesday accusing Columbia University leadership of civil rights violations over their handling of the situation.

In the letter, Stefanik demanded that federal funding to the Ivy League school be stripped because of the alleged Civil Rights Act violations.

Multiple Jewish students and organizations have meanwhile begun taking legal action against Columbia and other higher education institutions for failing to act sufficiently against antisemitism.

Who’s Behind This Wave of Hate?
Multiple student anarchists have expressed explicit support for Hamas terrorism and urged Hamas to commit further violence against Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) pointed out this week.

Some protesters have directly confronted Jewish students on and near campus, at times using antisemitic rhetoric.

Many protestors have called for “Zionists” to be excluded from campus communities.

In addition to the national Students for Justice in Palestine organization, others of their ilk have also supported calls for anti-Israel college encampments.

These groups include the national bodies and/or local chapters of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Dissenters, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Palestine Action, Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Samidoun, Students for Democratic Society (SDS), Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) and others. Individual influencers, such as Mohammed el-Kurd and Jenan Matari, are also supporting this call to action.

A Defining Moment
Jews in America are rapidly reaching the situation in which their brethren became entangled in Germany 1938. As with Jews at that time, many are still either unaware or unwilling to come to terms with the danger they face.

For Jewish students this is also a defining moment, a crossroads in which they are faced with Hobson’s Choice: standing up to the attacks and risking their lives, or hiding from those who would happily see them dead while risking their education and possibly their future careers. This, while the attackers are increasingly emboldened by the lack of a firm response by their schools’ administrations.

For Jewish organizations, it is time to step up and take action. Members of many Jewish organizations in New York City — in North America — donate millions of dollars each year to the higher education institutions in this country. Why aren’t they pulling their support from these havens of hate?

Anti-Israel antisemites, including those from ruling families in Arab states, likewise have for decades contributed as much or more to the nation’s Ivy League universities. With those donations they have set up entire Middle East Studies departments aimed at building a new generation of terrorist sympathizers intent on the elimination of the State of Israel.

It’s time to decide.

Will the hundreds of prominent Jewish organizations — and their individual members — wield whatever strength they have to defend the next generation of Jewish leaders? Or will they opt for inaction and silence or lip service in order to protect their own little fiefdoms — as did the Jews in Austria and Germany before the reality of Nazi ideology awakened them to the danger, far too late for most.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.