Rutgers University President Escorted Out of Town Hall by Police as Student Protesters Take Over

Jewish Rutgers students told to 'go back home' by anti-Israel protesters

April 5, 2024

A Rutgers University town hall descended into anarchy Thursday evening as anti-Israel students chanted demands to "globalize the intifada," hurled anti-Semitic insults at Jewish students, and forced the school's president to end the event early, according to videos of the event and attendees who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

One video obtained by the Free Beacon shows the school's president, Jonathan Holloway, escorted out by police after cutting short the event.

"Globalize the intifada. Long live the intifada. Long live resistance. Resistance is justified when people are occupied," chanted the protesters. "We don't want two states. We want 48. Displacing lives since '48. There's nothing here to celebrate," they declared in another chant.

Rutgers University did not respond to a request for comment.

Thursday night's disruption was caused primarily by two student groups, the Endowment Justice Collective—a "coalition of Rutgers organizations advocating for an endowment fund that ISN'T invested in Israeli apartheid"—and Students for Justice in Palestine at Rutgers-New Brunswick. The latter is carrying out a one-year probation period following an investigation into several violations of university policy.

Joe Gindi, a Syrian Jew and sophomore at Rutgers University who spoke to the Free Beacon, said that Jewish students wanted to hear what the university's president had to say. Gindi said that after talking to police, Jewish students were told they could leave through the emergency exits. Nearly all of them did.

"I'm not going to let this mob take over my university. I'm not going to be told that we should leave through the emergency exits I refuse to. I refuse to be bullied by these people," said Gindi.

Gindi also commended Holloway for his support and refusal to end Rutgers's partnership with Tel Aviv University.

"I and many other members of the Jewish community really appreciate President Holloway for standing up against this mob and not cowering to the calls to join in a boycott of Israel," Gindi said. "I really respect that."

Approximately 40 Jewish students—who also had to be escorted out—and 250 protesters were in attendance, Gindi told the Free Beacon.

Another Jewish student who spoke to the Free Beacon and asked to remain anonymous said that Jewish students came to the town hall to learn what the school would do to address campus anti-Semitism, but instead they were left "shaking" and terrified.

"Jewish students came to the town hall to learn what President Holloway and Rutgers would do to address antisemitism at Rutgers," said the student. "Instead of getting our answers, we were left shaking from another antisemitic incident. It was terrifying."

In another video captured by a student, protesters shouted at Rutgers Jewish students to "go back home." Protesters also told attendees that Jerusalem is their capital, not Israel's, and that Birthright Israel—a program offered through the school's Hillel chapter for young adults of Jewish descent to visit Israel—is not welcome on campus. Rutgers Hillel did not have a comment.

"Settlers, settlers, go back home. Palestine is ours alone," the protesters chanted. "Jerusalem's our capital. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. Rutgers, Rutgers, you will see, Palestine will be free. … Rutgers, Rutgers, you will learn, Palestinians will return. We will free Palestine within our lifetime. … Say it loud, say it clear, we don't want Birthright here."

Last week Jewish freshman Rivka Shafer's face was plastered on flyers for an anti-Israel referendum at Rutgers. Schafer told the New York Post that the flyers were posted in the dormitory where she lives. Schafer's attorney, Cory Rothbort, who spoke to the Free Beacon, said that "it is open season on Jewish students."

"Rivka Schafer was targeted where she sleeps," Rothbort said. "The message: 'Don't Support Israel—you aren't safe in your room.' At the town hall meeting, the message to Jewish students was similar: 'You aren't safe anywhere at Rutgers.'"