A required Zoom lecture at Hunter College CUNY in New York turned into a “virtual mob” as a large number of students and some professors staged a pro-Palestinian protest, hijacking the curriculum to attack Israel and Jewish students with a litany of anti-Semitic tropes.
The Jewish students in the Silberman School of Social Work course told Fox News that the protest was so aggressive and offensive that they are worried about returning to on campus in-person learning in the fall. Some are even afraid for their safety and fear being targeted on campus.
"For professors who are the experts in this anti-oppression curriculum to not stand up or do anything or say anything to intervene was quite shocking," a Jewish student told Fox News. "What violence could have taken place if this happened in person? Because it really felt like a virtual mob."
The online protest took place on May 20 during a 9 a.m. Zoom course titled “Practice Lab.” The required class was supposed to teach about forms of historical oppression. Several professors taught smaller groups of 15 to 20 students during the semester. The final class was a gathering of all 200 students and instructors.
During the virtual protest, which resembled a “Zoom bombing,” most of the lecture’s students changed their backgrounds to the Palestinian flag and their names to “Free Palestine: Decolonize.” They proceeded to read out a manifesto full of anti-Semitic tropes. The comment section was also flooded with hateful and offensive comments, including one that said, "The Holocaust has been used as a tool. The fear of anti-Semitism as the fear of ‘this could happen again’ is being used preemptively to oppress and kill others."
Another Jewish student told Fox: “They were totally and completely demonizing Israel, and I was so horrified, I was sick to my stomach. I was so taken aback, and to be honest this is the most anti-Semitic I’ve ever seen with my own (eyes).”
She added, “The horrifying thing is that there were professors that were expressing their opinions on it. They’re supposed to be the mediators in the discussion, not the ones who are fueling the fire.”
She explained that at least one of the professors joined in with the students, changing her name to “Free Palestine: Decolonize.”
The protest reportedly went on for more than 20 minutes, with students reading a prepared statement that stated, "Anti-Zionism is not equivalent to Anti-Semitism” but then praising offensive anti-Israel statements, such as those by US Rep Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) that accused Israel of “apartheid.”
Students also read statements that said, "Israel has engaged in the ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians from their land. This is not ‘two sides’ - it’s occupier and occupied. Like ‘All Lives Matter,’ talk about ‘two sides’ distracts from power imbalance and structural injustice."