Calls for raping and killing Jewish students at Cornell bring police response, condemnation

Anti-Semitic threats posted to a Cornell University fraternity and sorority forum over the weekend, including to kill Jews on campus, have prompted a police response and intervention by the governor of New York.

At least one of the posts threatened a shooting of “pig jews” (sic) at Cornell’s Center for Jewish Living and kosher dining hall, according to the university’s Hillel chapter.

The postings are the latest in a series of incidents on college campuses across the nation since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which followed the terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,400 people in Israel and resulted in more than 220 being kidnapped by Hamas and brought to the Gaza Strip.

“Earlier today, a series of horrendous, antisemitic messages threatening violence to our Jewish community and specifically naming 104 West — the home of the Center for Jewish Living — was posted on a website unaffiliated with Cornell,” Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said in a statement Sunday.

More:Tired of hiding: Jews at US colleges face rising antisemitism from left and right

Pollack said the FBI had been informed of a potential hate crime, and that the Cornell University Police Department would remain at the Center for Jewish Living to ensure the safety of community members.

“Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are punished to the full extent of the law,” Pollack said. “Our immediate focus is on keeping the community safe; we will continue to prioritize that.”

The threats were posted to Cornell’s Greekrank forums on Saturday and Sunday, according to the school newspaper, the Cornell Sun, which said some of the posts eventually were taken down.

The Sun said one post threatened to rape female Jewish students and behead Jewish babies in front of their parents. Another called for students to follow Jewish students home from campus and slit their throats. 

Cornell Hillel, a center for Jewish life on campus, issued a statement condemning the threats and urging students to be cautious.

“At this time, we advise that students and staff avoid the (104 West!) building out of an abundance of caution,” the Hillel center said. “We will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available. dining hall, as well as more generally toward Jewish students, faculty, and staff.”

On Monday morning, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul met with Jewish students on the Cornell campus, “who are showing incredible strength and unity in response to vile antisemitic threats.

“We have no tolerance for hate or violence, and I have directed @nyspolice to increase security on college campuses and across New York,” Hochul said in a series of messages on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Hochul was joined at a news conference at Cornell Monday morning by Pollack, state and local police and some Jewish students who live in the Center for Jewish Living, or CJL, attend services there or eat 104West!, its kosher dining hall.

“We will not tolerate threats or antisemitism or any kind of hatred that makes people feel vulnerable and exposes people and makes them feel insecure in a place where they should be enjoying their campus life, without fear that someone could cause them harm,” Hochul said.

If the perpetrators are found, she added, “They will be prosecuted. That is the message people across the state need to hear loud and clear. There will be no tolerance here in the State of New York.”

Hochul said state police already had increased security across New York college campuses after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, and that the ramped-up security will continue in the following weeks.

Adin Moskowitz ’27, one of the students at the news conference, said he visits the CJL every day for morning services and kosher meals. He described locking himself in his North Campus dormitory as the threats were unfolding, not knowing what was going to happen, according to a story in the Daily Sun.

“It was jarring and scary to see attacks directly towards a community center that is a home to me,” Moskowitz said. “I was not expecting something like this to happen here at Cornell.”

Another student who attended the press conference, Aaron Goldgewert ’27, said he goes to the CJL three times a day for prayers and eats most of his meals in the dining hall. He said was eating dinner at 104West! on Sunday evening when news of the threats broke, and described a frantic scene until campus police and the school president arrived.

Pollack and Vice President Ryan Lombardi “came to show support and leadership,” Goldgewert said, according to the Daily Sun story, and to answer questions from students.

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