Cornell Can’t Pretend It’s Not Happening

“It’s not about Jews” has been a constant retort to assertions that the progressive left wing, including many Jewish Americans who carry the banner of Palestinians, who desperately seek to distinguish hatred of Israel and Zionism from support for Hamas, hatred of Jews and terrorism happening here. But it is about terrorism and is, whether they want it to be true or not, about Jews, as the students at Cornell University learned yesterday.

It is certainly true that these may not be serious. They may be a hoax. They may be for shock value. They may not reflect any capability of being carried out. The president of Cornell is taking these threats seriously.

Dear members of the Cornell community,

Earlier today, a series of horrendous, antisemitic messages threatening violence to our Jewish community and specifically naming 104 West — the home of the Center for Jewish Living — was posted on a website unaffiliated with Cornell. Law enforcement was immediately notified.

At this time, Cornell Police (CUPD) are on the scene and investigating. Police will continue to remain on site to ensure our students and community members are safe.

Cornell Police have also notified the FBI of a potential hate crime.

Threats of violence are absolutely intolerable, and we will work to ensure that the person or people who posted them are punished to the full extent of the law. Our immediate focus is on keeping the community safe; we will continue to prioritize that.

We will not tolerate antisemitism at Cornell. During my time as president, I have repeatedly denounced bigotry and hatred, both on and off our campus. The virulence and destructiveness of antisemitism is real and deeply impacting our Jewish students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Cornell community. This incident highlights the need to combat the forces that are dividing us and driving us toward hate. This cannot be what defines us at Cornell.

All of our community deserves to feel safe at Cornell. If you become aware of any threats to your safety or to the safety of the community, please contact CUPD at 607-255-1111. We also encourage you to download the RAVE Guardian app, which will enable you to report any safety concerns to CUPD in real time.

In the days ahead, we will work to reinforce a culture of trust, respect and safety at Cornell. Regardless of your beliefs, backgrounds or perspectives, I urge all of you to come together with the empathy and support for each other that we so greatly need in this difficult time.


Martha E. Pollack

Given what has already been said at Cornell, the president could do no less.

Cornell University Professor Russell Rickford speaking about Hamas terrorist attacks. Shameful @Cornell.

— Sam Aberman (@samaberman) October 15, 2023

There is always a possibility that some nutjob will be swept up in the passion of the moment and act out their violent fantasies, whether in Ithaca or elsewhere, but there is also a possibility that the rhetoric about the progressive cries for “decolonizing” including the rape, kidnapping and murdering of innocents and the acceptance of terrorism as a legitimate weapon will manifest here. Cornell*, probably the most Jewish of Ivies given that its five New York State land grant colleges have an abundance of Jewish students from Long Island, is a likely place for it to occur.

And given the general tenor on American college campuses at the moment, it is unlikely this will be the only campus where this occurs. They wanted a new normal and they may have gotten it. Please, let it just be stupid childish angry noise, and let no one be harmed.

*While I was not a New York student, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations was my alma mater.

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