In recent weeks, CUNY’s Queens College has seen an ugly escalation of antisemitism in and around its campus. A Nov. 26 pro-Israel rally turned nasty as an anti-Israeli activist approached its Jewish students hurling insults, “Go back to Poland. Go back to Germany. That’s where you’re from,” as reported by New York Post. Israeli flags were also trampled upon by hooligans.
Assemblyman Sam Berger, who represents the 27th District in New York, which lies within the district of Queens College, said he has received many complaints from Jewish students and parents. He, too, was outraged by the incident and the spike of hate crimes against Jews. “Tensions have been high on campus for several weeks. The Muslim Student Association is making antisemitic posts [and] they’re using Queens College to spread hate and there are no repercussions. Telling Jewish students ‘to go back to Germany and Poland’ is a hateful, antisemitic remark,” he said.
“The safety of [our] campus is paramount. We will continue to investigate reports of any actions that compromise it,” added Queens College President Frank Wu.
This incident comes just days after students at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica Hills — a neighborhood in Queens — stormed the building’s hallways upon learning one of its instructors attended a pro-Israel rally. New York Post reported that the video showed students running through and jumping in hallways in pursuit of the teacher. “I have been a teacher for 23 years in the New York City public system… I was shaken to my core by the calls to violence against me that occurred online and outside my classroom last week,” the educator was quoted as saying.
Antisemitism remains at a fever pitch in New York with the troubling numbers still leaning upward. On Dec. 1, JTA reported bomb threats to fifteen synagogues throughout the state. These included five warnings in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, one on Long Island, two in Westchester County and five in other parts of upstate New York. The police report indicated that over 230 antisemitic incidents were reported since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror assault. Jews represent the largest number of any group in New York City targeted by hate crimes this year.
“[We are] horrified to see the exponential cancerous spread of Jew-hatred around the world,” says Liora Rez, the Executive Director of StopAntisemtism — a grassroots watchdog organization that publicly exposes antisemitic behavior and has held doctors, nurses and lawyers answerable for their hateful rhetoric and actions. “We are proud to do the work of holding some [individuals] accountable for their hatred.” Rez’s organization’s reach has expanded to millions of people, and recently reported that anti-Jewish incidents have skyrocketed 1,500% since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
Despite the rise of antisemitism worldwide, the immense support for Israel remains indisputable — and commendable. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, is one of Israel’s stalwart advocates. She was among the approximately 300,000 supporters at the March for Israel on Nov. 14. The massive rally was held to denounce antisemitism and demand the release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas. Rep. Meng serves the 6th District of New York.
“People from across the United States — and as far north as Canada — stood in solidarity with Israel,” Rep. Meng said on Nov. 14. “Politicians, actors, Americans, Israelis, young folks and old, all came out demanding the release of hostages and to condemn the resurgence of antisemitism spreading in the United States and the world. It was a pleasure to meet many of my constituents from Queens that made the trip down to D.C. to make sure their voices were heard as well.” Rep. Meng continues to hold pro-Israel private events and at her office.