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B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International is outraged by the passive response from universities in addressing the rise of anti-Semitism and intimidation from students and outside protestors on their campuses. Recent incidents at Columbia University, Yale University, New York University and a number of other schools across the country are alarming. We strongly condemn the university administrations’ inaction that enabled these violent protests to continue.

We demand university administrations confront blatant anti-Semitism occurring on their campuses and swiftly take disciplinary action against organizations and individual participants who are disrupting learning and making Jewish students feel unsafe.

Over the past week, anti-Israel protests have intensified across several American universities, with some escalating into unrest and posing significant threats to student safety. These demonstrations, many organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), have included signs bearing the Hamas symbol, anti-Semitic rhetoric, calls for a repeat of Oct. 7, “no-go zones” for Jews on campus, and instances of physical assault against Jewish students. These demonstrations, notably exemplified by Columbia University students participating in a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” protest, have evolved into explicit support for Hamas; such activities should never be tolerated at any institution of higher education.

These are not peaceful demonstrations. In addition to the genocidal call of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they are shouting things like “We are Hamas” and “Burn Tel Aviv to the ground,” along with shouting at Jewish students, “The 7th of October is going to be every day for you.” These chants completely excuse and attempt to justify the brutality of Hamas terrorists and the violent attacks they committed against Israelis on Oct. 7, when they massacred more than 1,400 Israelis, injured more than 3,500 and kidnapped some 220 people, including babies, children, and the elderly.

For months, these protests have been growing more aggressive and disruptive while college administrators have done little to punish students who are fomenting chaos on their campuses. As dozens of employees of Google have recently found out, the right to protest does not mean a right to intimidate, threaten and disrupt lives without consequences.

The absence of action from Columbia and other universities in allowing these demonstrations to persist raises concern about their commitment to upholding Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment and discrimination within educational institutions against Jews and other minority groups.

We call on Congress to continue to expose to the world the extent of the rot of anti-Semitism within our academic institutions, and on the Department of Education to expand investigations into colleges, universities and even local school districts where anti-Semitism has spread with intensity. There must be consequences—for the individuals who are threatening and harming Jewish students and also for the universities that have allowed themselves to be turned into such hostile environments.

Jewish students should never feel compelled to conceal their Jewish identity or hesitate to wear a Star of David or kippah on campus out of fear of being harassed or attacked. For Jewish students not to be able to live and study in safety on campus is a threat to cherished American values.

Campus administrators, government officials at all levels, and the media must take more decisive action to end this unacceptable situation. Students on campus and ordinary citizens alike must speak out against the growing levels of intolerance in our society.”