Campus Watch August 3, 2023

A roundup of incidents, good and bad, happening on college campuses.
August 3, 2023

Shooting at TN Jewish School

A man reportedly fired shots outside of a Jewish day school in Memphis, TN on July 31.

According to myriad reports, a male in his 40s, arrived at the school at around 12:20 p.m. and fired multiple shots after attempting––and failing––to enter Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South. The suspect fled in his vehicle; police tracked him down and shot the suspect after he exited the vehicle with a gun in hand during a traffic stop. The suspect is currently hospitalized and in critical condition. No one was injured at the school.

While authorities are saying they do not yet know if the suspect had ties to the school or if it was hate crime, Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told FOX 13 Memphis that the shooter is believed to be Jewish and a former student at the school. Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that the shooting “appeared personal in nature.”

GWU and MESA “Amicably” Part Ways

George Washington University (GWU) and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) have parted ways, the Algemeiner reported.

A spokesperson from GWU told the outlet “GW and MESA agreed to enter into a four-year partnership that has run its course, and we are now parting ways amicably.” The Algemeiner noted that GWU is the latest university to end their association with MESA after MESA endorsed an academic boycott of Israel last year.

“MESA has fully endorsed BDS, which is antisemitic, and the fact GW is removing an institution that does not uphold its academic standard and to my mind is also racist, is a positive,” Asaf Romirowsky, the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told the Algemeiner. “There are still a lot of problems within the Middle East Studies at GW, but I think this is a key move to show that MESA is no longer considered to be scholarly and that GW recognizes that.”

CUNY Law Commencement Speaker Defends Anti-Israel Speech in The Nation

Students for Justice in Palestine activist Fatima Mousa Mohammed penned an op-ed in The Nation defending her now infamous anti-Israel speech during City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law’s commencement ceremony.

Mohammed had lauded the CUNY Law faculty for endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and accused Israel of “indiscriminately” dropping “bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism, expelling Palestinians from their homes, carrying [out] the ongoing Nakba, that our silence is no longer acceptable.”

Mohammed wrote in the July 27 op-ed, “My picture was on the front page of the New York Post. Members of Congress from across the political spectrum smeared me on social media. New York City Mayor Eric Adams quickly joined in. The CUNY Board of Trustees issued its own statement defaming me and twisting my words out of context. Some critics claimed that my remarks made me unfit to join the bar and called for me not to be admitted.” She called dealing with the pressure “one of the most difficult and painful things I have ever had to do” but she stands “by every word I uttered from that stage because my speech was grounded in the anti-racist, anti-oppression values that have guided me my entire life.” Mohammed concluded her op-ed by stating: “Since Israel was established in 1948, it has wreaked violence and pain on the Palestinian people. Rather than targeting people like me who shine a light on that reality, perhaps Israel’s defenders should instead choose to stand on the right side of history and work to end Israeli apartheid.”

Knesset Holds Hearing on Antisemitism at College Campuses

The Israeli Knesset Committee on Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs held a hearing on July 25 addressing antisemitism on college campuses.

The Algemeiner reported that among those testified at the hearing included Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law President Alyza D. Lewin, Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations CEO William Daroff and State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz alumna Ofek Preis. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating SUNY New Paltz after a complaint was filed alleging that Preis and fellow student Cassandra Blotner were excluded from a sexual assault survivors’ student group — and subsequently “publicly vilified” by that group — over their Zionist identities.

Brandeis Center Chairman and Founder Kenneth L. Marcus told the Algemeiner that the committee chairman was “virtually choking up” during Preis’ testimony, adding that the committee members “understood that there are campus radicals who have been poisoning the atmosphere on many college campuses with toxic falsehoods about Israel, but they were not, so far as I can tell, aware of the extent to which individual Jewish students are now being punished, marginalized, shunned and excluded. This was the news that they needed to hear.”

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