Sunday, May 26, 2024

Jewish student stabbed in eye by Palestinian flag at US university

HomeU.S.Jewish student stabbed in eye by Palestinian flag at US university

A Jewish student editor at Yale University was violently assaulted during a heated protest against Israel, heightening concerns over a troubling rise in antisemitic incidents plaguing colleges across America.

Sahar Tartak, the editor-in-chief of the Yale Free Press student publication, was stabbed in the eye with a Palestinian flag pole while covering an anti-Israel demonstration on the New Haven campus last week. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian student activists had set up an encampment to denounce Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

Ms. Tartak, who was wearing traditional Hasidic attire at the time, told the New York Post that she was surrounded and taunted by an hostile mob when a protestor shoved a flagpole into her eye. “There were hundreds of people taunting me, waving middle fingers at me, and then this person waves a Palestinian flag in my face and jabs it in my eye,” she recounted.

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The 21-year-old Jewish student immediately reported the assault to campus police, but says they refused to take action against her attacker despite her injuries. The brazen attack is reminiscent of when Miss Israel 2021 Noa Cochva was struck with a protest placard while counter-demonstrating at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York City.

The incident at Yale is just the latest in a disturbing wave of antisemitic violence, harassment and discrimination being reported at colleges nationwide amidst heightened tensions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups have been organizing rallies, protests and vigils across campuses.

However, pro-Israel advocates claim university leadership is failing to adequately protect Jewish students from antisemitic activists. At Columbia University in New York City, the leader of a prominent Jewish student group urged members not to return to campus on Sunday, warning he could not guarantee their safety “in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy.”

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“The events of the last few days, especially last night, have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety,” wrote Rabbi Elie Buechler in a WhatsApp message obtained by local media.

The warning came just days after President Biden forcefully condemned the “dangerous” anti-Israel protests at Columbia as “unacceptable.” The president’s remarks follow announcements that the US plans to impose sanctions on Israeli military and police units over human rights violations against Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back strongly, vowing to fight any American punitive measures. He warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken that sanctioning Israeli defense forces would severely undermine the countries’ strategic alliance.

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As rhetorical battles play out between American and Israeli leaders, Jewish students find themselves caught in the crosshairs of escalating campus activism around the decades-old conflict. Advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League have tracked a sharp uptick in antisemitic harassment, vandalism and hate crimes at US colleges and universities over the past year.

It remains to be seen if university administrators will take more forceful steps to protect all students’ safety and freedom of expression as polarizing Middle East politics increasingly spill over into campus life. But the attack on Sahar Tartak stands as a sobering example of how quickly an ideological dispute can turn into a hate crime against minority groups amid a charged atmosphere.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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