University of South California student Rachel Birney is getting a lot of backlash on X (formerly Twitter) after allegedly ripping down posters of kidnapped Israeli citizens from a bulletin board. Amid the scrutiny Birney has been receiving, the educational institution released a statement demanding people to respect others’ political beliefs.
On November 10, the non-profit organization Stop Antisemitism took to its official X account and shared a video from the X page Israel War Room. In the viral 22-second video, an unidentified man can be heard asking Rachel Birney why she was taking down the posters of the kidnapped Israelis. The latter proceeds to smile at the camera and remove more placards from the bulletin board before laughing.
In an incoherent sentence, she spoke about “genocide,” to which the man replies, “They are kidnapping individuals.” At the time of writing this article, the tweet had amassed nearly 400K views.
According to Stop Antisemitism, Rachel Birney is completing her PhD at the School of Natural Science & Mathematics. They also claimed that she was a Physics TA. According to X user @Onyeka_Marco, she teaches every Tuesday between 2 pm and 4.50 pm at USC.
The non-profit organization also claimed that Birney was a Redmond, Washington native and a former soccer player at Connecticut’s Wesleyan College. From her academic and extracurricular pursuits, it is safe to say that she is a multifaceted individual with varied interests.
According to X user @JamesHartline, Rachel is the daughter of Angela Birney, the Mayor of Redmond. At the time of writing this article, Rachel’s Instagram account remained unavailable on the platform. There was no mention of her on her mother’s Instagram profile either.
Internet users were far from pleased after the video of Birney went viral. Many were quick to question USC as to why she was not held responsible for her allegedly antisemitic actions. Others expressed disdain towards the student.
As matters escalated, the university took to its official X account to address the situation. However, the university did not state whether any action was taken against Birney. They said:
In another tweet, they claimed to be looking into the matter. They also stated that they were unable to get into the details “due to student privacy laws.”
Birney is not the only graduate to come under the radar for allegedly antisemitic actions. University of Pennsylvania student Tara Tarawneh garnered immense backlash online after saying in a protest that she found Hamas’ attack on Israel- “glorious, joyful, and powerful.”