ITHACA, NEW YORK – Jewish Cornell University students reported that many of their peers on campus have been questioning their allegiances to left-wing student groups after some came out in defense of a professor who called the Hamas terrorist attack in Southern Israel “exhilarating.”
Fox News Digital spoke to “Cornellians” on background and on the record who said they were aware of a political shift among Jewish students. Some of them are questioning their ties with various progressive groups – and some with progressivism as a movement itself.
“A lot of the students that come to Cornell are liberal, and I think this is making a lot of Jews that would consider themselves liberal really question that,” a student studying statistics and computer science, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said. “What they will be doing is silently reflecting and shifting who they would vote for in the future…. They’re paying attention to… the Republican primaries to see who supports Israel the most even though that contradicts their previous values.”
One of those students currently going through the dialectic – who has not yet found a political home – is Isaac Bloomgarten, a freshman studying engineering.
Bloomgarten said he feels “betrayed” by the left with whom he always stood.
“I’ve always been an ally of the left. I’ve stood with LGBTQ people. I’ve stood with trans people, nonbinary people. I’ve always stood with them against forms of hate and discrimination. But I feel like they won’t do the same for me,” he said.
He has seen some of those same friends, including those he considered close, “make posts commending Hamas for what they did, declaring them as freedom fighters and how they were liberating their people by murdering Jews.”
“It’s so hard to comprehend this level of hatred,” he said. “And they sit next to you in class… I have to hope that people are just uneducated and don’t know better and that they are not actually evil.”
Ezra Galperin, a freshman who plans to major in government, said, “I think people for good reason are very much questioning their involvement with progressive organizations on campuses that have effectively justified Hamas’ invasion.”
Galperin is questioning his ties to certain progressive groups on campus after some came out in support of Professor Russell Rickford. Rickford is currently on leave after saying he was “exhilerat[ed]” following the Hamas surprise terror attack that left 1,400 dead, including women, children, and elderly civilians.
Galperin said the comments and the outpouring of support for Rickford was as “regressive as it gets.”
“I know without a shred of doubt that we as a Jewish community, we stand behind oppressed people… It’s not all the progressive organizations on campus. I don’t even know if it’s most of them. But… we can’t work with organizations that openly advocate for people who are exhilarated by the rape and murder of our families,” he said.
Galperin added that he hopes progressivism will reform away from being willing to associate with antisemitic groups.
“But I don’t think any of us believe that that stops us from advocating for progressive things. You know, we can be Jewish and progressive. We can hold those beliefs… we’re not going to let this stop us from advocating for a better world,” he said.
Amanda Silberstein similarly said Rickford’s comments and student groups’ responses are “causing some more progressive Jews on campus… to reevaluate how much they adhere to certain ideologies.”
Netanel Shapira explained that part of what is causing some of the shift is that Jewish students, who consider themselves a minority group, feel abandoned.
Shapira explained that he cannot support Black Lives Matter as an organization, though he does support Black liberation, because that particular political group is virulently anti-Israel.
“I find that pretty unfortunate if they’re willing to side with people who are literally terrorists,” he said.
Shapira said he is not alone in questioning ties to certain progressive groups.
“You want to believe that in a moment of despair where you were slaughtered, your people were raped, burned, murdered in cold blood, brutally on video with evidence. You’d like to think that the world was saying there is something wrong with that. And we stand by you in this moment of pain. Not only is there not that reaction. You have people who also have suffered horrible things in their history… justifying it. They’re saying, ‘Oh yeah, it was fine because of X, Y, Z,'” Shapira said.
Sam Friedman also said that Jews are feeling left out of progressive politics, causing them to ask themselves “serious questions” about their alliances.
“The whole idea of the sort of liberal progressive movement is to be more caring and be more considerate of other people. But they’re realizing that while a lot of minorities are getting good treatment… the Jewish people are not. They’re almost treated… not worthy of consideration. And so I think… the progressive [Jews] are taking some serious questions… Either [to] make the progressive community more supportive… or be less involved.”
Josh Rosenheim agreed, saying Hamas alignments from some progressive circles may be causing “political realignments” among Jews.
“I would hope we could go beyond scoring political victory points surrounding that issue and come together in the recognition that everyone, all students, should be safe on college campuses,” he said.
Another student speaking on the condition of anonymity, who is studying biology, said the progressive left co-mingling with Hamas supporters is not only causing Cornell students to question their political ties, but the wider community.
“I definitely think that that’s been happening not just on Cornell’s campus. I think in general Jewish people feel that,” she said.
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