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"I don't 'feel' unsafe at MIT. I AM unsafe. As an Israeli and a Jew, I walk on campus with a target on my back"

| 652 צפיות

MIT, Harvard and Penn presidents are scheduled to testify today before Congress on the increasing antisemitism on campuses. Meanwhile, even after more than 1700 Jewish and Israeli MIT students issued a letter to the administration warning about the tsunami of hatred - the university still refuses to act

| Yaffa Shir-Raz | English

"I don't 'feel' unsafe. I AM unsafe", said Liyam Chitayat, an Israeli-Amreican Phd. student studying in MIT, in a speech about antisemitism at MIT two weeks ago. "As an Israeli and a Jew, I walk around with a target on my back. We're isolated, we're harassed and we're dehumanized".

The anti-Semitic tsunami that has washed over the MIT campus over the past 2 months since Hamas’s deadly act of terror against Israel, as well as many other universities across the US, including Harvard, Pennsylvania, Cornell and Michigan, refuses to die down.

Liyam is one of MIT Jewish and Israeli students who recently issued a letter to the university leadership about the unsafe environment for Jews & Israelis at MIT. The documented letter, signed by over 1,700 students, alum, faculty and staff, outlines a specific timeline of hateful and antisemitic actions taken by an MIT-funded student group which supports Hamas atrocities and repeatedly violated MIT policies, including an unsanctioned protest and blockade on November 9th, and demands that the management would ban this group and its supporters.

Today (Tuesday, December 5th), Sally Kornbluth, the president of MIT, as well as the presidents of Harvard and Pennsylvania universities will be testifying before Congress at a hearing on this subject. The hearing, titled "Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism", will be held by the Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx.

Chairwoman Foxx vowed to hold university leaders accountable for antisemitism. "Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen countless examples of antisemitic demonstrations on college campuses", she said in a statement last week. "Meanwhile, college administrators have largely stood by, allowing horrific rhetoric to fester and grow".

This failure to act and protect its Israeli and Jewish students and staff resonates in the letter to the MIT administration. "Though we have met with the MIT administration numerous times in these weeks, we have seen no successful action taken to make Jewish and Israeli students on campus safer", says the letter… "MIT’s impotence and failure to quell this hate group has emboldened them to behave more and more brazenly. Rather than provide actionable guidance and responsible leadership, the MIT administration has displayed a disheartening pattern of empty verbal assurances without subsequent tangible actions".

 

MIT Students and staff celebrated the massacre

"As someone who lived in the US and did not experience antisemitism, I really expected to receive a hug from the institution I am studying in, and for them to protect me, as they did for every other minority. I heard numerous concerns around a wave of antisemitism following the October 7th terror attack, but I did not think that this would happen - that students and staff members at MIT would celebrate the massacre" says Liyam Chitayat.

"I spent October 7th talking to Keshet, a close friend of mine, in Kibbutz Beeri. I sat in front of my phone for the entire day, and she sat alone in the dark in the shelter, hiding from Hamas terrorists. She wrote to me describing shouts to kill the Jews in Arabic, how close Hamas were to her house, how the terrorists were in her parent's living room, and which ones of her friends stopped responding to her.

"Thank God she survived the massacre attack. I realized that I couldn't be alone at home, and I decided to go to an academic meeting, simply to be with other people. While I was sitting there, I received an e-mail to my cell phone that stated: "this resistance is 100% predictable and justified", "Palestinians cannot invade Palestine", "Victory is ours", "..affirming the right of all occupied peoples to resist". This e-mail was forwarded to every single MIT undergraduate student by an MIT-funded anti-Israel student group (CAA – Coalition Against Apartheid) and the Palestine@Mit group. They also posted it on their social media accounts (Instagram, and X/Twitter) on October 7th and the following days, using the institutions' logo.

Little did Liyam know that this was only the beginning of what turned out to be an ongoing attack on her and her fellow students, teachers and staff members, much less could she have imagined the response to this attack on the part of MIT - or rather the institution's failure to respond and protect them.

"The attack was everywhere," says Liyam. "They received official social media accounts from the administration and used them to upload antisemitic social media posts and sent emails to students. They have been disrupting classes, waving flags and writing on the blackboard that Israel is committing war crimes, walking out of classes in protest, hanging posters and signs, intimidating and threatening Jewish students and chanting hateful chants like 'Globalize the intifada', 'Resistance is justified when people are occupied', 'Raise your to fists to liberate Palestine', and 'From the river to the sea', barging into offices of Jewish and Israeli staff members and shouting with a megaphone that Israel is committing genocide. The message is clear: we can reach you anywhere - in social media, the classroom, and even in your offices".

"When one of the Jewish students wrote that 'Hamas is ISIS', his fellow students published his personal details online, along with a bounty - whoever uncovers his identity receive 800 dollars, which led to him receiving numerous death threats. In another case, they sent a video of an Israeli student to the entire undergraduate community at MIT, claiming that he was violent in a demonstration in Boston, and that the police tried to arrest him. They published his face and name. There is no more targeting than that".

Although the Israeli and Jewish students have met with the MIT administration numerous times throughout these weeks, they have seen no real attempt to make the campus safer for them. On the contrary, the administration appears to have repeatedly allowed anti-Israel groups on campus to violate university policy, even as they invited violent outside protesters to join the hate protests they initiated.


When one of the Jewish students wrote that 'Hamas is ISIS', his fellow students published his personal details online, along with a bounty - whoever uncovers his identity receive 800 dollars, which led to him receiving numerous death threats.


 "For a week, the pro CAA group has planned a demonstration called 'Shut It Down for Palestine' in an illegal location - ostensibly, to show solidarity with the Palestinians, but in reality there is no solidarity, but everything is anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli", says Liyam. "We warned them that they are going to bring into the campus people from outside the university to assist in the protest. This has actually been a major tactic they used – to initiate a huge event and invite all of Boston to come. Those radical outside protestors pose a real safety threat, many of them have already been arrested in protests in Boston. They just invite those radicals into our campus time and time again. This happened at least three or four times".

"The administration was aware of the plan, and the day before they met with some of the Jewish students and told us that they didn't know if they would be able to stop the demonstration even though it was illegal, but they promised that disciplinary action would be taken against those participating in it, and that they will not allow strangers to threaten us".

Nevertheless in reality, MIT's administration has failed to deter the students participating effectively. The CAA brought in over 100 unaffiliated people to MIT’s campus, screaming and chanting for over 12 hours.

As the Israeli and Jewish students stood in a circle with pictures of the Israeli hostages and sang peace songs, they were attacked by the CAA supporters. In response, the administration announced that anyone remaining after 12:15 would be suspended. Yet while all pro-Israel students immediately complied and left, the CAA supporters remained afterward. To their astonishment, instead of following through on their own rule, once the Israeli students left, the administration began negotiating with the pro-Palestinian students, that maybe instead of suspension, they would get some other punishment. Eventually, President Sally Kornbluth released a statement that “students who remained after the deadline will be suspended from non-academic campus activities".

"With no definition of non-academic campus activities or straightforward action plans, this statement fails to outline direct measures to protect the safety of MIT students", wrote the pro-Israel students in their letter to MIT administration.

“This is unacceptable", says Liyam. "By waiting for the Jewish students to clear from the area before negotiating the punishment, they took the free speech from us and gave it to the pro-Palestinian groups".

 

The DEI endorse blood libels

This celebration of Hamas, a US government-designated terror organization sworn to eradicating the state of Israel, marked the establishment of a narrative characterizing Israelis and Jews as scapegoats, and paved the way for an increasingly antisemitic dynamic on MIT’s campus. In a newsletter posted by MIT Israel Alliance, they describe how day by day, Jews and Israelis have been academically and socially isolated on campus. "When Hamas declared a 'Global Day of Jihad', Israelis and Jews were scared to come to campus. we were scared to wear our Star of David necklaces and our kippahs. We were scared to tell people that we were going to Shabbat dinners. We felt it was unsafe to be publicly Jewish and to speak freely about our support for the continued existence and safety of the State of Israel".


When a postdoc student, who repeatedly and publicly called Zionism a "mental illness", claimed that Jewish Israelis want to "enslave the world in a global apartheid system", and called the “average Israeli” a Nazi, spread a dangerous blood libel that Israelis use Palestinians for organ harvesting - the DEI officer called this conspiracy theory a “confirmed report,” and dismissed the complaint.


To make things even worse, it turns out that it is not just students who are bullying and ostracizing Jews and Israelis on campus. "One of the most insane things here is the reaction of the DEI offices (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). They literally endorse blood libels", says Lyiam.

For example, the DEI chair of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) publicly endorsed statements calling Israel a genocidal apartheid state. In another case, when a postdoc student, who repeatedly and publicly called Zionism a "mental illness", claimed that Jewish Israelis want to "enslave the world in a global apartheid system", and called the “average Israeli” a Nazi, spread a dangerous blood libel that Israelis use Palestinians for organ harvesting - the DEI officer called this conspiracy theory a “confirmed report,” and dismissed the complaint.

"As Jewish students were kicked out of study groups, called 'Nazis' for supporting Israel, and bombarded with hateful dormspam, MIT faculty and IDHR and DEI Officers dismissed Jewish students’ fears and even told some Israeli students to go back to Israel", describes the MIT Israel Alliance newsletter.

"These were the people that were supposed to protect me on campus- we have nobody to turn to/help us", says Lyiam.

The Israeli and Jewish students and staff members demanded a statement from MIT declaring what concrete actions they will take to discipline the students and the CAA who participated in these hateful events, and to ensure the safety of members of the Jewish and Israeli communities. "If MIT takes no action", they wrote, "it is a clear signal that Jews and Israelis are unwelcome here. It is a clear signal that the administration supports the normalization of antisemitism on campus. MIT is the world’s leading academic institution. If it fails to act now, this decision will resonate far into the future".


Make a change today!

"Real Time" Magazine is an online, self-funded news magazine, founded with a firm idealogy to make a different, alternative, uncensored quality news, accessible and direct to and with the public.
Our team members currently work as volunteers and we would DEEPLY appreciate and love your support, so we can keep provide what is direly missing in mainstream media.

click for single / monthly support

Thank you ??

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Make a change today!

"Real Time" Magazine is an online, self-funded news magazine, founded with a firm idealogy to make a different, alternative, uncensored quality news, accessible and direct to and with the public.
Our team members currently work as volunteers and we would DEEPLY appreciate and love your support, so we can keep provide what is direly missing in mainstream media.

click for single / monthly support

Thank you ??

hearts

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