Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Nazi Symbols Discovered at Columbia University After Weeks of Ongoing Antisemitic Hostilities

UPDATE February 4, 2024: The club LionLez mentioned in this article has since been derecognized by the Student Governing Board at Columbia for antisemitism; more here.

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A swastika was found drawn on a bathroom wall on the fourth floor of the International Affairs Building Friday afternoon, according to an email sent to the School of International and Public Affairs community by SIPA Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo.

Yarhi-Milo wrote on Friday evening that Columbia Public Safety “promptly” notified the New York Police Department and that “the incident is being investigated.” An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to Spectator that Public Safety filed a report and said the perpetrator is still unknown.

“I am shocked and dismayed that anyone would promote this most notorious symbol of antisemitism, hatred, and racial supremacy,” Yarhi-Milo wrote. “I conveyed to our community just a short while ago that behavior like this has no place at SIPA, at Columbia University, or in our society.”

A SIPA spokesperson referred Spectator to Yarhi-Milo’s email but declined to provide further comment on the incident.

The incident occurred amid a rise in antisemitism and other forms of hate on campus, as cited in an Oct. 18 email from University President Minouche Shafik.

“Unfortunately, some are using this moment to spread antisemitism, Islamophobia, bigotry against Palestinians and Israelis, and various other forms of hate,” Shafik wrote. “Especially at a time of pain and anger, we must avoid language that vilifies, threatens, or stereotypes entire groups of people.”

Shafik wrote in her Oct. 18 email that this language is “antithetical to Columbia’s values and can lead to acts of harassment or violence,” adding that when “this type of speech is unlawful or violates University rules, it will not be tolerated.”

Jewish Columbia affiliates have reported hearing anti-Jewish slurs when attending on-campus protests, as well as fearing for their safety when wearing visibly Jewish symbols such as the Star of David. The day before the swastika was discovered, hundreds of protestors gathered outside the West 116th Street and Broadway gates demanding to “end Jew hatred” on campus.

Earlier this month, an Israeli School of General Studies student was assaulted by a former student in front of Butler Library. The former student is now facing hate crime charges from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Shafik released another statement earlier on Friday titled “Standing with Solidarity,” calling out antisemitism and hateful incidents occurring on campus. Her email came before Yarhi-Milo notified the SIPA community about the vandalism.

“The perpetrators of these incidents are not only attacking members of our community, they are attacking the values it is built on—respect for our shared humanity,” Shafik wrote.

A recently-leaked email from the president of LionLez, a University club for queer women and nonbinary students of color, included the phrase, “WHEN I SAY THE HOLOCAUST WASN’T SPECIAL, I MEAN THAT.” The email prompted criticism across social media and from other students, including two other LionLez board members who alleged that her “inappropriate comments” were made without consulting the board. The president has denied that her remarks were antisemitic.

“As President Shafik underscored today, ‘antisemitism, like any form of bigotry, is an assault on everything we stand for at Columbia.’ And I firmly stand with her when she says each of us has a role to play in standing in solidarity against hate that targets any member of our community and to call it out whenever we see it,” Yarhi-Milo wrote. “All of us deserve to feel safe in our person and on our campus.”

Source: https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2023/10/30/swastika-found-drawn-in-international-affairs-building-restroom/