Congress investigates rise in antisemitism at Rutgers, including incident involving student 2 weeks ago

Jewish Rutgers student Rivka Schafer woke up horrified in Demarest Hall two weeks ago to see posters with their photo taken at a pro-Israel rally with the words “Free Gaza” added to them.

Jim Murdoch

Apr 12, 2024, 10:03 PM

Updated 45 days ago


A Jewish student at Rutgers University is speaking out after they woke up to find posters plastered all over their dorm with their face on them and the words “Free Gaza.”
This, and other incidents on Rutgers campuses now have the attention of Congress.
Jewish Rutgers student Rivka Schafer says they woke up horrified in Demarest Hall two weeks ago to see posters with their photo taken at a pro-Israel rally with a much different message.
“The message was clear to me. 'Don’t support Israel. We know where you sleep,'” said Rivka.
A week later, they attended a town hall between Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway and students which was abruptly shut down by what they and their attorney call chants of anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
”No space that was non-Jewish was safe for Jewish students,” said Rivka.
Rutgers responded on Wednesday to a congressional request to turn over documents - 44,000 in all. In that request, Congress pointed out recent examples of alleged antisemitism on campus. It included reports a law student had her nameplate vandalized twice with swastikas in November and January and the deliberate targeting of the Jewish fraternity house, Alpha Epsilon Pi.
Rep. Chris Smith co-chairs the House Task Force for Combating Antisemitism.
“We’ll use all means necessary, including the withholding of federal funds to institutions of higher learning if they are complicit and enabling of this terrible antisemitic rise,” said Smith.
“This was the second time the police had been called to Demerest just this year to address an antisemitic incident,” added Rivka.
In a letter to Rep. Virginia Fox, Holloway said in part, “Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers. Antisemitism has no place at Rutgers. Rutgers has worked and continues to work diligently to respond to all reported incidents of antisemitism on its campuses.”
“I am sharing my story so no other Jewish student feels unsafe where they live, where they sleep, where they eat, and where they learn," Rivka said.
News 12 reached out to Rutgers officials for a statement regarding the incident involving Rivka.
A spokesperson wrote, “The incident at Demarest Hall is unacceptable behavior. Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world. All members of our campus community deserve to learn and work in an environment in which they feel fully safe, valued and respected, free from antisemitism, and all other forms of hate and discrimination. The University is steadfast in its commitment to ensure such an environment prevails and we are actively taking steps to continue to work with our campus community to make positive change."
The statement continued, "The Rutgers University Police Department is working with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office on this case, and it is an active investigation. The university asks those who have information to come forward and report it.”

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