Eyal Yakoby, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, told reporters on Tuesday that it felt unsafe to be Jewish on campus due to the outbreak of antisemitism that has accompanied radical anti-Israel protest since the Hamas terror attack of October 7.
Yakoby joined three other Jewish students — from New York University, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) prior to the hearing with university presidents from Penn and the latter two institutions in front of a House committee. They were invited to address the media by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) before his weekly press conference.
The four students each described feeling helpless as their campuses were swamped with anti-Israel vandalism; anti-Jewish hate speech; and demonstrations that invaded libraries and classrooms, breaking university rules without incurring consequences.
“Penn’s ambivalence fuels the crisis that has shattered my academic sanctuary,” Yakoby said. “Despite what my university says, I do not feel safe.” He described the feeling of terror as students locked themselves in their rooms while a riot took place on Sunday evening in which a Jewish-owned business was targeted by pro-Palestinian rioters who admitted they singled it out because the owner is Israeli.
Yakoby said that the Penn had failed to condemn the riot as a manifestation of antisemitism, though others had done so.
Other students described similar experiences. Talia Khan, whose mother is Jewish and whose father is an Afghan Muslim, said that she was compelled to leave a doctoral study group “because I was told the people at the Nova music festival deserved to die because they were partying on stolen land.” (Hamas murdered 260 at that music festival, and kidnapped dozens more.)
Khan and other students spoke about being ignored by university administrators, including “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) officials, some of whom explicitly supported the extreme anti-Israel views of faculty and students.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.