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Cornell student Talia Dror shares her post-October 7th campus experiences.

2023-11-19 (#135)

Campus Free Speech During Israel-Hamas War
Advocates and activists testified at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on antisemitism amid the Israel-Hamas war and free speech on college campuses. Topics included safety on college campuses, funding of charities and universities, and anti-Israel rhetoric on social media.

Video Transcription:

Chairman Smith, ranking member Neil, and members

of the Ways and Means Committee, thank

you for the invitation to testify today.

My name is Talia Dror.

I'm a student at Cornell, studying industrial and labor

relations with minors in business and legal policy.

But beyond that, I am the

embodiment of the American dream.

I'm the child of an immigrant who fled

Iran after facing religious persecution, dreaming of an America

where she could openly raise a Jewish family.

I grew up hearing the cautionary tales of blatant anti Semitism,

how my grandfather was stabbed for being a Jew, how my

mother was called a dirty Jew on a daily basis, how

my family had to pretend they weren't Jewish.

But I never thought the horrific antisemitism they faced would

follow us to the country we fled to for refuge.

39 days ago, as I witnessed the mass rape,

mutilation, and massacre committed by Hamas, my reality as

a college student in the United States radically transformed.

Students, professors, and administrators at Cornell celebrated

the massacre of innocent civilians just five

days after the heinous terror attacks.

The student assembly introduced a resolution calling Hamas,

quote, an armed resistance and placing full blame

for the October 7 attacks on Israel.

At the hearing, I spoke about the fact

that the very terrorists organ endorsed by that

resolution called for a global day of rage.

The next day, I explained that as a Jewish

student leader, my community is terrified to walk around

the school they pay to attend because they are

afraid of getting threatened, assaulted, or killed.

Students at rallies chant genocidal phrases like, from the

river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

This is a chant that calls for the elimination of the

State of Israel and all 7 million Jews inside of it.

This is a chant that calls for a second Holocaust.

Students scream antifata revolution, calling for

deadly terror attacks on civilians.

A Cornell professor announced that he was exhilarated

and energized by the Hamas attacks, by the

murder of my family and friends.

On October 25, Cornell students woke up

to a campus vandalized with graffiti that

said, Zionism equals genocide and new antifada.

That day, students walking into their classes

stepped over calls for terror attacks and

accusations of being genocidal for supporting the

existence of the State of Israel.

Cornell's administration has made firm statements on

everything from Supreme Court cases to the

war in Ukraine to Black Lives Matter.

But in the wake of the deadliest day in

Jewish history since the Holocaust, administrators have excused endorsements

of terrorism under the guise of free speech.

In their initial statement, they compared, quote,

the loss of life in the Middle

east to deaths caused by natural disasters.

They allowed tensions to fester on campus, professors to

use captive audiences to preach terrorist sympathies and the

targeting of Jewish students on their campus.

They paved the perfect path for radicalized individuals to

shift calls for the murder of Jews in Israel

to calls for the extermination of Jews on campus.

On the morning of October 29, the Provost,

in an address to concerned Jewish parents, explained

that while he understands concerns for their children's

physical safety, that they shouldn't be worried.

Not 7 hours later, Jewish students on campus received threats

that said, quote, if I see another Jew on campus,

I will stab you and slit your throat.

If I see another pig female Jew, I will drag

you away, rape you, and throw you off a cliff.

Jews are human, animal, and deserve pig's death.

Liberation by any means from the river

to the sea, Palestine will be free.

Quote, Going to shoot up 104

west, the kosher dining Hall.

Glory to Hamas.

Liberation by any means necessary.

That night, I sat in my

locked house pondering my mortality.

I knew that with my roommates and I

being openly Jewish community leaders, our apartment would

be one of the first targets for someone

looking to actualize the threats.

I thought back to the stories my mother told

me growing up, how as a young child, I

found so much comfort in having the privilege of

being protected by a country built on the foundation

of equal opportunity and individual liberty.

Two days later, I got news that the

threats were made by a fellow student.

This wasn't far away.

It was at the same school.

I worked my whole life to get into the school.

I invested my family's hard earned life savings

to attend the school that promised me they

would uphold a community of belonging.

Universities have failed to uphold their self

proclaimed values of equity and belonging.

When it comes to Jewish students, the hypocrisy

is glaring in light of horrific antisemitism.

Jewish students on campus have been courageous and

resilient, but we shouldn't need to be American

Jewish students on campus deserve better.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Thank thank you.

Thank you for your brave testimony.

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