Jewish Students Sue NYU, Alleging ‘Egregious’ Anti-Semitism On Campus

The suit says mobs of students have chanted "Hitler was right."
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: A New York University (NYU) flag flies outside a Covid-19 test tent outside of the NYU business school on August 25, 2020 in New York City. All students arriving back to the campus are required to get tested for the virus upon arrival and must be tested again seven to 10 days later. Classes are set to begin on September 2. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A group of Jewish students have filed a lawsuit against New York University (NYU), alleging the school has allowed a climate of anti-Semitism to fester on campus, leaving Jewish students feeling “under siege.”

Bella Ingber, Sabrina Maslavi, and Saul Tawil, all juniors, filed their suit on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

The lawsuit accuses NYU of violating federal civil rights law by permitting a hostile environment that subjects Jewish students to anti-Semitic discrimination, harassment, and intimidation. Anti-Semitism on campus has increased in the wake of Palestinian terror group Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians last month, the suit claims.

On October 7, Hamas launched deadly terrorist attacks on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people, including women and children. Israel has responded with airstrikes and a ground offensive.

In recent weeks, mobs of NYU students have chanted “Hitler was right,” and “gas the Jews,” the suit claims. Meanwhile, NYU has refused to enforce anti-discrimination policies it “readily applies” to others, the suit also claims. Some faculty have even “enthusiastically endorsed” Hamas’ attack, the plaintiffs said.

Complaints from Jewish students are “ignored, slow-walked, or met with gaslighting” by the administration, the suit says.

“The effect of NYU’s inaction and, indeed, complicity in the torrent of anti-Jewish hatred that has engulfed its campus has been the normalization of antisemitism in the NYU community,” the lawsuit states.

“Whereas pro-Hamas faculty and students are permitted to engage in vicious antisemitic hate speech, Jewish students are told to keep quiet, maintain a low profile, avoid making waves, and call a wellness hotline,” the suit adds.

NYU has pushed back on the suit, saying it looks forward to “challenging this lawsuit’s one-sided narrative.”

“The assertions in this suit do not accurately describe conditions on our campus or the many steps NYU has been taking to fight antisemitism and keep the campus safe,” an NYU spokesperson told the New York Post. “Antisemitism violates our rules; we take the issues of antisemitism and any other forms of hate extremely seriously, and we are committed to safeguarding our community and providing an environment in which all students can live and learn in peace.”

The lawsuit cites several alleged anti-Semitic incidents involving the plaintiffs.

On October 17, faculty and student members of campus pro-Palestinian groups allegedly burned an Israeli flag, screamed epithets, and made “slit-your-throat” gestures toward Jewish students. Ingber and Maslavi said they were attending a silent vigil supporting Israel when they witnessed that incident.

Tawil said he was harassed on the street after the vigil, and when he appealed to NYU for help a campus safety official allegedly told him they had already increased security after a surge in anti-Asian violence in 2021.

The lawsuit demands NYU fire any employees and suspend or expel any students who have engaged in anti-Semitic abuse. The suit is also demanding the school pay compensatory and punitive damages.

Anti-Semitism was also already a “growing institutional problem” at NYU even before Hamas attacked Israel last month, the suit claims.

“NYU’s deliberate indifference toward the plight of its Jewish students under siege by egregious antisemitism has been outrageous,” Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs said in a statement.

“We are asking the Court to compel NYU to comply with the Civil Rights Act, its own purported policies, and elementary human decency, which to date the University has failed and refused to do on its own,” Kasowitz said.

NYU enrolls 65,000 students across 20 schools and colleges.

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