Jewish students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report fearing for their lives after pro-Hamas protesters blocked entrances to a central building, called for ethnic cleansing, and surrounded students holding Israeli flags.

One Jewish student, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told The Daily Signal that he is afraid of sitting in class with “classmates and teachers who were just calling for my death—as the university did nothing.”

MIT acknowledged that it didn’t suspend students participating in a pro-Hamas protest Nov. 9 because those students likely would have been deported.

A left-wing group called Coalition Against Apartheid organized a large protest event in Lobby 7 of MIT’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a violation of university policy forbidding students from doing that due to safety concerns and fire hazards

MIT warned the pro-Hamas coalition days beforehand that holding a protest in Lobby 7 would violate school policy and lead to consequences, including suspension.

The pro-Hamas group held the protest anyway, and so far the only consequences from MIT include a promise of an investigation from MIT President Sally Kornbluth and a temporary restriction from “participating in non-academic campus activities” after the fact.

This protest joins a growing list of marches and demonstrations that have resulted in antisemitic incidents on college campuses around the country since Hamas terrorists’ Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 civilians in Israel.

The MIT protesters, who called for jihad and the slaughter of Jews by chanting the phrases “Globalize the intifada” and “Raise up your two fists and sacrifice everything for Palestine,” have not been condemned by the university. In 2020, MIT issued diversity, equity, and inclusion statements denouncing discrimination against black and Asian students.

Protesters at MIT also chanted, “Resistance is justified when people are occupied,” in reference to Hamas’ bloody attacks on Israel over what the terrorist organization claims is Israel’s “occupation” of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has not occupied Gaza, which shares a border with Egypt, since 2005. Hamas terrorists have controlled the government there since 2007.

Kornbluth, MIT’s president, described the pro-Hamas protesters’ calls for ethnic cleansing, and the Israeli response to it, as “complex.”

Talia Khan, president of the MIT Israel Alliance, told The Daily Signal in an interview that she was shocked that students on her campus could shout support for Hamas.

“We knew they hated Israel,” she said, “but their supporting Hamas terrorism was something we didn’t understand rational people could even do.”

The anonymous student who spoke to The Daily Signal said he was “horrified” at the open antisemitism of the pro-Hamas and pro-Palestinian protesters. 

“I couldn’t even get to my classes,” he said. “They marched around me yelling for intifada.”

Already, several staff members have written a letter condemning any action MIT might take against the pro-Hamas protesters.

In a revealing statement, MIT officials acknowledged that they chose not to enforce policies because they feared that doing so would put participating students at risk of deportation. Foreign nationals residing in the U.S. on student visas are not allowed to foment terrorism.

At one point during the protest in Lobby 7, pro-Hamas demonstrators surrounded a smaller group of students with Israeli flags and pictures of hostages taken by Hamas. They chanted slogans and yelled at the supporters of Israel, marching around them in circles. 

This action and other protests in front of entrances and stairs prevented Jewish students from attending classes.

Khan says that part of MIT’s current epidemic of antisemitism is a result of the “administration’s feckless inability to respond according to the rules that they set.”

Khan contends that MIT staff and department heads openly tell pro-Hamas students that, although they know the protesters violated school policy, the university’s employees will make sure the students won’t be punished for it.

Sarah McDonnell, deputy director of media relations for MIT, responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by providing Kornbluth’s statement promising an investigation of complaints filed “against individual students, on both sides of the conflict.”

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