New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU named twice in U.S. Senate resolution on Israel-Hamas war

A Senate resolution cited NYU when condemning what it called “antisemitic student activities” on college campuses throughout the country.
Jason Alpert-Wisnia
Students walked out of classes and called for a ceasefire on Oct. 25, 2023 at a rally in Washington Square Park (Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

The U.S. Senate named NYU twice in an Oct. 18 resolution condemning “antisemitic student activities” across college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The resolution accused several student activities on U.S. college campuses, including a message in support of Palestinian resistance from the former president of NYU Law’s Student Bar Association, of being antisemitic. The resolution — introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, the Republican Senator from Missouri — also condemned on-campus demonstrations organized by NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine, claiming it “rejected ‘peaceful discourse.’” 

In a written statement to WSN, university spokesperson John Beckman noted that NYU was the second university in the country that “condemned Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel,” rejected the former SBA president’s message “in no uncertain terms” and “responded to every incident” brought to its attention. Beckman also reiterated the university’s increase in Campus Safety and police presence at Washington Square Park and outside other main NYU buildings. 

“The university will continue to do its utmost to keep the community safe and free of all forms of bigotry,” Beckman wrote. “We expect that as NYUers exercise their free speech rights, they do so respectfully and responsibly, in line with our highest traditions.”

Ryna Workman, the former SBA president, lost a job offer and was removed from their position after sending a message in a newsletter stating that “Israel bears full responsibility” for the lives lost during the conflict. The remaining members of the SBA disbanded soon after out of fear for their safety. In a statement to WSN, Workman said Hawley’s resolution “is intended to threaten and intimidate students.” 

“The senators clearly have heard our demands — for a cease-fire, for divestment, for an end to occupation,” Workman wrote. “Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism and anyone who claims otherwise does not understand our fight and is endorsing the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

More than three weeks ago, Hamas — the Palestinian militant group in control of the Gaza Strip — invaded nearby Israeli towns in a violent assault that killed more than 1,400 civilians. The group also took around 200 hostages. Since then, the Israeli military initiated a ground invasion of Gaza, ordering more than 1 million Palestinians in the region to evacuate south and killing over 8,300, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israeli troops are pushing deeper into Gaza, shutting down all forms of communication in the region. 

On Monday, President Joe Biden announced an outline of plans to address antisemitic incidents on college campuses throughout the country, citing anti-Israeli messages being projected onto buildings at George Washington University, and the recent departure of donors at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. The Biden administration is also looking into threats made against the Jewish community at Cornell University.

NYU has been criticized for its response to the conflict in the past. Over a week ago, the Israeli government condemned the presidents of NYU, Columbia University and Harvard for their handling of students’ response to the war in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. The post included a video of Shai Davidai, an Israeli professor at Columbia, who made a speech criticizing U.S. colleges for “harboring pro-terror student organizations.” 

Rafael Jacobs, the president of the student group Law Students Against Anti-Semitism, said there has been an uptick in reported antisemitic incidents since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, and that many Jewish students at NYU are fearing for their safety. Last week, the university condemned antisemitic posters held at a pro-Palestinian walkout in Washington Square Park.

“If people are able to wake up and realize that a rise in anti-Zionist protesting has led to a dramatic rise in anti-Jewish attacks, maybe Jewish students will feel more safe,” Jacobs said. “It is somewhat comforting that the Senate has acknowledged the plight of Jewish people on college campuses right now, but the real change will come when my classmates recognize how much harm they have brought the Jewish community.”

Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Bruna Horvath
Bruna Horvath, News Editor
Bruna Horvath is a sophomore studying journalism and English at CAS. When she’s not a News Editor, she’s a "Gone Girl" enthusiast, a Goodreads lover, and a Barnes & Noble frequenter. You can usually find her ordering an iced mocha, telling people her name is “Bruna” not “Bruno,” or on Instagram @brunaahorvath.
Jason Alpert-Wisnia
Jason Alpert-Wisnia, Editor-at-Large
Jason Alpert-Wisnia is a junior majoring in Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, primarily focused on photojournalism and documentary photography. His photography ranges from coverage of professional sports, to political protests and music festivals. When he is not pounding the pavement with a camera in his hands looking for the next story, you are likely to find Jason in a used bookstore looking for rare finds or in the park reading. You can find him on Instagram @jasonalpertwisnia and contact him at [email protected].

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