EDITORIAL: Anti-Semitic hate cannot continue


Patrick Casey

Anti-Semitic hate cannot continue

By Editorial Board

A series of recent attacks and anti-Semitic rhetoric nationwide have led to public fear for the safety of the Jewish community, even at our own college. Has Columbia done enough to support and create a safe space for Jewish students?

As reported Feb. 12 by The Chronicle, swastikas were discovered in The Dwight Lofts graffiti room. After being notified of the graffiti, Dean of Students John Pelrine sent out an email Feb. 7 informing student residents of what was found. However, he only described the graffiti as offensive and not what it was: anti-Semitic.

Less than a year after the incident at Columbia, the worst hate crimes in U.S. history against the Jewish community took place.

Eleven people were killed during a shooting at The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Oct. 27. Federal authorities have declared it a hate crime, describing the crime scene as one of the most horrific they’ve seen.

Also, a Nov. 1 Get Out the Vote event featuring “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer was canceled after anti-Semitic graffiti was found inside a New York City synagogue where the event was supposed to be held, according to a Nov. 2 New York Times article. The vandalism, which included graffiti such as swastikas and the words “Die Jew Rats,” was discovered written in black marker across the walls. This happened on the same day that two spray-painted swastikas were discovered on a concrete pier near Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The New York Police Department has documented 142 reported incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti this year, up from 126 reports in 2017. Out of the 290 reported hate crimes documented in New York, about half are anti-Semitic in nature.

The Jewish community has always faced hate crimes, racist rhetoric and attacks, but the hate has grown. The Trump Administration’s words and actions perpetuate this intolerable behavior.

To stop the rise of anti-Semitic hate in our country, community and college, we need to call it out for what it is and refuse to hide behind veiled language. It’s anti-Semitic rhetoric; it’s a hate crime, and it needs to be stopped. The college should be an example of how to handle this kind of hate and avoid vague language describing something as serious as anti-Semitism. The college administration needs to condemn this discrimination happening nationally and let our community know it will not be accepted or tolerated here at Columbia.

Social media often encourages these hate crimes, but can also be used to prevent them. Anti-Semitic graffiti may have been drawn around a city for years, but with our culture of sharing everything online, these crimes are made more visible. People are not afraid to call out an unjust act when they see one, and we need to continue to use social media to shed light on this issue and expose criminal acts.

Columbia can help fight against hate by spreading positivity and helping students, faculty and staff know they are in a safe space. The college’s administration should, at the very least, send a college wide email informing everyone that Columbia does not stand with the rise of hate in this country, and, as a college, will continue to push back.