Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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New York Jewish College Students Bombarded With Antisemitism

Jonathan Telsin has been compiling images and videos of what’s been happening on campus at The New School since October 7. Here are a few samples of these antisemitic incidents.

Israeli music student Jonathan Telsin, a 21-year-old trumpet player from Tel Aviv, has been living in New York City since the fall, where he’s studying jazz at The New School in a joint program with the Tel-Aviv-based Israel Conservatory of Music.

Telsin was looking forward to an amazing opportunity: getting to learn from top teachers and students; performing at world-renowned jazz clubs and sitting in at jam sessions around town; the excitement of being at the epicenter of the jazz world.

Then October 7 happened, and nothing has been the same.

Following the devastating attack on Israel by Hamas, other New York City universities – Columbia, NYU, and Cooper Union in particular – have been in the spotlight for antisemitic and anti-Israel activism. Reports of threats, intimidation, and physical and verbal violence against Jewish students have been logged on campuses across the country, culminating in the congressional farce where the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn could not state clearly that calling for the genocide of a minority group violated their schools’ codes of conduct.

But things have been just as horrific for Israeli and Zionist students at The New School.

Telsin has been compiling images and videos of what’s been happening on campus since October 7. Among the clips are the following, which he said is just a small sample:

  • Posters plastered around campus, including those screaming “Zionists f*** off.”
  • Several videos of masked pro-Hamas protesters inside The New School’s front gates – on private property, not on the street, where it could be argued they’re within their right to free speech – holding signs accusing Israel of “genocide” and stating “Intifada until victory.”
  • At the same rally, protesters chanted, “Is it right to rebel? Israel, go to hell.” To paraphrase a skit from Eretz Nehederet (the Israeli equivalent of Saturday Night Live), “If it rhymes, it must be true.”
  • The New School’s Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards published a letter saying that blocking school entrances was against The New School’s policies. Antisemites annotated that letter to read, “F*** all the Zionists that go to this school [and who are] taking pics of us. Sincerely, go to hell.” Well, at least they were sincere.
  • More f-bombs: A video of a man outside The New School with a megaphone shouting, “F*** you, Israel” and “F*** you, bitch.”
  • In the ninth-floor women’s bathroom: “Abolish the settler state.” In a men’s bathroom: “Zionism is terrorism.”
  • A group dubbed “The Socialist Revolution” makes clear the anti-Western bias of many of the protesters as they promote an event that “will cut across the imperialist lies and provide the communistic perspective for Palestinian liberation.”
  • Perhaps most egregiously for Telsin, protesters barred the entrances to three separate New School buildings with large Palestinian flags. In one video, a woman pleads, “Let me in, I have a class.” A protester flashes a sign at her that reads “Support decolonization.” Or else what, you can’t study?

Inside the walls of the campus buildings, things were not much better, as Telsin shared a video of Amin Husain, a professor at NYU, who has built a reputation for spreading hate speech in his lectures. In the video, Husain was invited into a New School classroom, where he claimed that all the atrocities Hamas meticulously documented – the murders, rapes, mutilations, and beheadings – were all “fake news” and “Zionist propaganda.”

What does Telsin want from The New School?

“We want to be protected. We ask the school to take measures against students who violate their code of conduct, to not give an opportunity for students in an academic institution to call for the elimination of an entire population or community.”

He said he’s been attending “up to three meetings a day” with The New School administration – to no avail. “They crossed the line long ago. When a student says to another student, ‘I wish you had been in Israel on October 7 so you would have been raped, too,’ or ‘I hope you get stabbed on the street,’ the meaning does not rely on understanding the ‘context.’ Someone has to stop that student and let him know there will be consequences.”

Instead, a New School administrator told Telsin to “get out of here, leave the building; it’s too dangerous for you now.’ I said, ‘If you think it’s dangerous for me, why don’t you do anything?’ He just gave me a blank look.”

That jives with what Shai Davidai, an Israeli professor at Columbia, has been saying in videos and articles that have gone viral since October 7. “Jewish students are encouraged to stay in hiding, while those who celebrate Hamas are allowed to hold their events,” he notes.

Does Telsin regret choosing to go to The New School? No, he said. “I came here to study music. It was a legitimate choice. But now I’m spending all this time in meetings. Tomorrow, I have an exam. I have so many papers to write and projects to do. But it’s our obligation to fight, for ourselves and for other students – and not just the Israeli and Jewish students – because they will be next.” 