ITHACA, NEW YORK – Cornell Jewish students described still feeling "terrified" after threats from a self-identified "Hamas fighter" led to the arrest of a suspect from the student body in interviews with Fox News Digital. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced it had a suspect – 21-year-old Patrick Dai –, who is a junior at Cornell, in custody for allegedly posting about threatening to "stab" and "slit the throat" of Jewish males, to "rape" Jewish women and throw them off a cliff and to behead any Jewish babies, according to its press release. Court documents show numerous posts allegedly made by Dai, where he allegedly used usernames like "Hamas fighter," "jew evil" and "glorious Hamas" "It’s both scary and sad that a member of our own campus community could be so hateful… To see that a student believes and was willing to make comments such as these shows that Jew-hatred can be anywhere and everywhere, even among our fellow students," said Cornell student Netanel Shapira. He added it was "scary to think that people around you, especially… at an Ivy League school people take pride in… being well-educated and knowing the facts of what's going on, and [are] believing in that… Just no words." Another student, Amanda Silberstein, criticized the university's professors for peddling what she believed was propaganda against Israel in response to the arrest. She said it was "terrifying to be on campus right now." CORNELL MEDICAL CRT CLASS CALLS TO DISMANTLE 'WHITE SPACES,' BOLSTERS DEFENSE OF RIOTING: 'BURN THIS B---H' "Upon discovering that the suspect was, in fact, a fellow student at Cornell, rather than an anonymous individual unaffiliated with the university, the situation took on a heightened sense of reality," said Amanda Silberstein. "It's a stark acknowledgment that harmful ideologies and antisemitic rhetoric persist and spread. This includes the propagation of untruths, the denial of atrocities, the tolerance of hate speech under the guise of free speech, the repetition of propaganda by some professors, and the falsehood that anti-Zionism is anything other than a form of hatred against the Jewish community," she continued. Cornell did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Silberstein's opinion of the "propaganda." However, Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel M. Malina said in statement on Tuesday, in response to law enforcement apprehending the suspect, that the campus will maintain its "heightened security presence." "Cornell University is grateful to the FBI for working so swiftly to identify and apprehend the suspect in this case, a Cornell student, who remains in custody. We also thank Cornell Police and Chief Anthony Bellamy for extraordinary efforts in supporting the investigation and protecting our campus community. The university will continue to provide assistance to law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office as this case moves forward," Malina said. "We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead. Cornell Police will maintain its heightened security presence on campus as the university continues to focus on supporting the needs of our students, faculty and staff." "It's no secret that the Jews have always been hated. It's not anything new. It's scary to think that the world said never again. And I've never bought it. [But] you want to think that in [it couldn't happen in] America, land of the free, this beacon of supposed beacon of liberty," Shapira added. Fox News interviewed multiple Jewish students at 104 West, the site which was listed in online threats posted on a website unaffiliated with Cornell, where the Center of Jewish Living (CJL) and the kosher cafe is located. Josh Rosenheim, who works at CJL, said, the "immediate reaction was horror and shock. In the last three weeks, we have all felt many emotions. We've been very sad, extremely sad, depressed, sometimes angry and a little bit fearful. But this was the first time, I think, that students were legitimately terrified." An engineering student, Sam Friedman, said, "[The threats] really were… quite evil." One of the threats called for people to follow a Jewish person home and "slit their throats," adding, "Rats need to be eliminated from Cornell." Friedman said, "To see not only a generic antisemitic sentiment but an antisemitic threat that's directly targeted at a building that you've been to frequently go to. I mean, that was horrifying." Even though a suspect was in custody, another student, a sophomore studying biology, said she may think twice before revealing on campus that she has an Israeli family. The student requested anonymity for safety reasons. Immediately after the threats were made, she left campus. The sophomore said that the war, which has spilled into tensions and threats on campus, is severely affecting students' mental health. Before the threats from a self-identified "Hamas fighter," some Jewish students have felt unease seeing "F*ck Israel" graffiti around campus as well as hearing chants to liberate Palestine "from the river to the sea," which is considered by the Anti-Defamation League a genocidal chant derived from Hamas. Numerous students said that their mental health was being affected by pro-Palestinian activism following Hamas' attacks on Jews. Videos have surfaced showing the brutal point-blank killing of children and women. "It's taking a very, very large toll on people's mental health, whether it's feeling personally unsafe on campus or even just not being able to focus on things. The first week when we got back, I wasn't able to go to class. I wasn't able to do work," she said. "I have to compartmentalize to be here right now. Like, otherwise I really cannot be functioning." A Cornell professor, Russell Rickford, was on leave after stating Hamas' incursion into Southern Israel was "exhilarating." Progressive student groups jumped in to defend Rickford, leading some Jewish students to feel isolated and abandoned, they said. "[The Jewish people] suffered this horrible massacre. Every one of us… knows somebody who's either a hostage, was murdered or is a soldier going to defend the state of Israel. And after suffering something like that… [we have] hate speech being thrown [us] on campus, whether that be from a professor or not from students is, I mean, its horrible. There's no other way to put it," Shapira said. A sophomore studying statistics and computer science said, "It's like basically I'm screaming like, I feel unsafe. Look at these antisemitic comments, and how can someone say this? And the response [from progressive circles is], 'No, no, no, you don't understand. This is not antisemitism." The student added that she was taught in Jewish school, like many are, that every generation has its manifestation of antisemitism – which calls for the extermination of the Jewish population. "A lot of us have been waiting for the day that something like this will happen," she said. Students also say they are fighting against fear, that they will not be intimidated by threats or antisemitism. Matias Lancewicki, a senior at Cornell, began distributing religious Jewish artifacts to students as resistance, believing that fighting evil requires an input of light. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP "It's definitely the natural feeling… to be scared, especially when you see people that that walk around you on campus speaking [in favor of] Hamas, a terrorist group. And the things [Hamas has] done is immoral, there's just no words to explain how low it is. And I personally know people that were affected, friends and family that were either kidnaped or passed away… But that being said, I think that the last thing that we should do as Jewish people or Jewish communities is to be scared. I think quite the contrary," he said. "I think that the only way you can defeat evil is through good. And the only way you can defeat evil is through light. And you can't fight evil with evil. And there's no there's no good in trying to use the same methods that evil uses against us to try and overcome them. But really, just through light, a little bit of lightness could dispel a lot of darkness," Lancewicki continued. "So as long as we keep shining our light and growing inside of us and expressing that outwards, I think that that's the best way for us to be able to to to overcome this fight against evil. And it's not our first time fighting against evil, and it likely won't be our last. But we're standing strong, and we're not afraid." For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media. FOX News Digital's Danielle Wallace and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.
01 Kasım 2023 - 10:10
Cornell students react to suspected 'Hamas fighter' arrest by DOJ: 'Terrifying to be on campus right now'
Cornell University Jewish students respond to radical Islamic threats as the war between Israel and Hamas spills into antisemitism in America's college campuses.
01 Kasım 2023 - 10:10