Jewish students have faced continuing harassment and intimidation over the last few years by the Brooklyn College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Jewish students have reported all kinds of horrific incidents ranging from the harassment of kippah wearing Jews, to holding anti-Israel “die-ins” to calls for a “Third Intifada”. SJP members have also been seen chalking anti-Israel messages on public sidewalks adjacent to the college.
ZOA wrote to Karen Gould, the president of Brooklyn College, urging that remedial steps be taken. The ZOA pointed out that the SJP’s chalking violated New York City law, and urged the president to open a full investigation into the SJP’s conduct. The ZOA also urged President Gould to require student groups to undergo mandatory training on anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, in the same way that CUNY presently requires training related to sexual misconduct. Furthermore, the ZOA called on President Gould to publicly state that there would be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism at Brooklyn College.
In response, Brooklyn College informed the ZOA that it has informed security personnel that they must be alert to any conflicts or escalating tensions between students and to call their supervisors immediately. Students and student groups are being notified chalking city property is illegal and not protected speech under the Fist Amendment. The College also intends to include mandatory diversity training for all student clubs.
These steps are important but more needs to be done. The ZOA is continuing its efforts to ensure that Brooklyn College is a welcoming and respectful learning environment for Jewish and pro-Israel students.