Antisemitism complaint filed against Columbia University

The Lawfare Project filed a complaint with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Columbia University's memorial library in New York City. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Columbia University's memorial library in New York City.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Lawfare Project filed a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against Columbia University, claiming there has been discrimination against both Israeli and Jewish students on campus.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Jonathan Karten, a Jewish Israeli-American undergraduate student, who has over the past year allegedly been a victim of antisemitic discrimination.
Karten told The Jerusalem Post that he is “not proud to say that over the past several years studying at Columbia, I have learned to become far too comfortable with anti-Israel sentiment, anti-Israel bias that often bleeds into antisemitism, a bias that has become all too normalized.”
Last month, however, he had a wake-up call. He had read that a well-known professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University had endorsed Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Terrorist brigade, “with impunity.”
Karten said this hit close to home, as it was “the very same brigade that kidnapped and murdered my dear uncle, Sharon Edri, as well as countless other citizens. I understood that I could not remain silent anymore while my campus became a breeding ground for lies and escalating discrimination... It was the wake-up call I think we all needed, enough is enough.”
Sharon Edri had been kidnapped and murdered in 1996 by members of a Hamas military wing cell, which was also responsible for murdering at least 10 other Israelis and wounding 49 in attacks that same year.
Karten’s complaint also stated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being used by faculty and student groups “to legitimize discrimination against Jewish and Israeli students because of the latter group’s race, religion and national identity...The equivalent would be using the conflict with Iran to discriminate against Muslim and/or Iranian students, or singling out Chinese students and blaming them for Chinese government policy,” he explained. “Yet, when it comes to Jewish and Israeli students, the Columbia administration has allowed a severely pervasive and hostile environment to persist, where said students (and faculty) are harassed, singled out and discriminated against under the guise of ‘pro-Palestinian’ advocacy.”
Lori Tucker, an attorney and Campus Civil Rights Project director at The Lawfare Project, stated that Karten along with many Jews and Israelis on the campus have been “subjected to a continuous stream of antisemitic and anti-Israeli comments.” She said that “examples include being called a murderer, a Nazi, an agent of the Mossad,” which “was stated by a Columbia professor... and a ‘f***** Zionist.’”
According to Tucker, “The Columbia administration, despite having knowledge of many of the aforementioned activities, has refused to take any meaningful action to protect these students and re-mediate the hostile environment that presently exists on campus for members of the Jewish and Israeli communities.”
Tucker said, “It is our hope that the filing of this complaint will result in the Columbia administration taking concrete steps to end the discrimination currently experienced by its Jewish and Israeli communities... The Columbia administration, faculty and students need intensive, comprehensive education about antisemitism and the various forms that it takes.” She added, “Jewish and Israeli students and faculty will use every resource available to them to fight back against antisemitism and anti-Israeli activity so that they can be educated and work in an environment free from discrimination.”
Columbia University declined to comment on the matter.