May 30, 2024

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Jewish Columbia students speak out in open letter

Jewish Columbia students speak out in open letter

Columbia University was the center of a two-week movement on American campuses in support of the Palestinian cause.
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP

Faced with an upsurge of anti-Semitism stirred up by pro-Palestinian activists at their university, more than 450 signatories defended the concept of “Zionism” and called for constructive dialogue.

In an open letter published this Thursday, a group of Jewish students from Columbia University in the US confronts the question of Israel’s existence.“Anti-Semitism” development they face in their organization. The larger and more prestigious Manhattan University was the center of a two-week movement on American campuses in support of the Palestinian cause.

The message, soberly titled “In Our Name: A Message from Columbia Jewish Students” Intense and emotional. “We write to you as Jewish students at Columbia University, connected to our community and deeply involved in our culture and history. We want to speak on our behalf.”Declaring more than 450 signatories, all members of the prestigious New York University campus dismantled a tent village set up in support of Gaza on April 30 and arrested dozens.

Preserving Jewish Identity

“Many of us sit next to you in class. We are your lab partners, your study buddies, your colleagues and your friends.Step signatories begin The New York Times, making up a little more than 10% of the university’s approximately 5,000 Jewish students. All chose to state their name, university course and year of diploma. Some have already spoken out publicly against anti-Semitism and participated in counter-demonstrations during pro-Palestinian rallies — one in particular testified about the situation before Congress. Others are speaking out on the subject for the first time.

“Most of us did not become political activists.” They promise, but have been “Strength” To be involved in the process for “to protect the common” Their Jewish identity. “We don’t beat drums or chant catchy slogans. We’re just average students, just like you, trying to pass exams.”.

Jewish students also recall the anti-Semitism they faced “months”. According to Widely shared videos on social networks, pro-Gaza demonstrations seem to have been punctuated by violent anti-Semitic incidents. In particular, we see a masked pro-Palestinian demonstrator displaying a Palestinian flag and this sign: “Back to Poland!” A university student said on Twitter that protesters tried to steal an Israeli flag and others sprayed water on Jewish students. A rabbi connected with the university instructed them on Sunday “Return home as soon as possible” faced associated risks“Radical Anti-Semitism” at New York University.

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Security «Zionism»

This is what they defend, this is their intimate belief: “The Jewish people’s right to self-determination in (their) historic homeland”. The signatories of the letter defend the opinion “Zionism”. This term is used for them “Misuse”such as “a refined insult against the Jews, tantamount to racism, oppression or genocide”, When it is simply faith Judaism cannot be separated from Israel. A belief they share. “Many of us don’t realize it, but Zionism is a pillar of our Jewish identity”They say.

They emphasize the visceral bond that binds their people to the nation of Israel. “The Jewish people never stopped dreaming of returning to our homeland – Judea, where we got our name, ‘the Jews’.”.

I remember being expelled from many countries “The Long List”They claim to represent Israel “The only place in the modern world where Jews can safely take charge of their own destiny”. “Our experiences in Colombia over the past six months have been a striking reminder of this.”, they insist, while anti-Semitic statements rain down on American campuses. One of the student leaders, Kaimani James, said in a resurfaced video from January that “Zionists don’t deserve to live.” The student has since been expelled from Columbia.

Jewish student signatories express disillusionment with the campus they came from “Expand the Mind” And “Engage in complex conversations” Become a prize of war “Simple Binaries” want “Hateful Rhetoric”. And invite their opponents to join them “In a True Search for Peace, Truth and Empathy”. “It is never too late to mend divisions and develop meaningful relationships across political and religious differences.”They declare.

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