Cornell’s Jewish community became aware Sunday of threats against Jews. Egregiously vile and reprehensible statements were published on a website called Greek Rank, an anonymous discussion forum.
The first post discovered said: “gonna shoot up 104 west.” 104 West is the only kosher dining hall on campus and next door to the Center of Jewish Living, the only Jewish house on campus.
Other sadistic statements were made on this forum, such as a call to “rape all jew pig-women” and a threat to “bomb jewish house.” These are just to name a few.
The WhatsApp group chat from Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel was just released with harrowing messages from Oct. 7. If you can stomach it, I advise you to read it.
Our Cornell Jewish group chat reminded me of that. I received frantic calls from family members, people asking if we were safe and if the police were arriving to ensure our safety.
We saw the massacre that unfolded in Israel. We never thought that could happen here, in a college campus in America.
We students are scared. Scared for our lives. Scared to go to class. Scared to sleep in our own beds.
We had to cancel prayer services Sunday evening out of fear of our lives. This is unprecedented at Cornell.
My friends who live in the Center for Jewish Living slept elsewhere Sunday night, as they were terrified of being attacked in their sleep.
All because they are Jewish.
While I was driving a freshman to services this morning, he asked, “Will you still wear your kippah today?” I quickly answered, “Of course!”
The notion that Jews are wary of displaying their symbols of faith and pride in 2023 should raise alarm everywhere.
The Jews in the 1930s tried to hide themselves; the Jews of 2023 should not, especially in America, where we are supposed to enjoy freedom of expression and religion just like anyone else.
Even though people are distressed, and rightly so, we cannot and will not live in constant fear.
The famous line from Menachem Begin, former prime minister of Israel, resonates with us now more than ever: “I am not a Jew with trembling knees.”
While our brothers and sisters are fighting on the front lines in Israel, we have a fight of our own.
We are fighting for our safety and for the future of the next generation.
So that history does not repeat itself. So that we can shed light on the truth of what is really going on in Israel.
Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. The events occurring at Cornell make that very clear.
Professor Russell Rickford found Hamas’ barbaric attacks “exhilarating” and “energizing.” Vandalism with the lines “F–k Israel” and “Zionism equals racism” littered our campus.
And these incidents paved the way to Sunday’s threats, calling to stab Jews, shoot Jews, rape Jews and bomb Jews.
Let’s hope the administration now sees it and takes it seriously. I believe it will.
We want to thank the president of Cornell, Martha Pollack, and Gov. Hochul for coming to the Center for Jewish Living Monday to talk with the residents and hear our concerns.
The Cornell University Police Department is protecting our community and the governor informed us we will be receiving extra security cameras shortly.
As for the perpetrators of the vandalism, and the rape and death threats — both hate crimes — I expect them to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
An example must be made to clearly show this is not OK.
The only way to make sure this cycle of hate comes to an end is to find those responsible and hold them accountable.
Ethan Oliner is a junior studying industrial and labor relations at Cornell and president of Kedma, which runs Jewish Orthodox Services, and on the executive board of Cornellians for Israel.