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Boston's Jewish community calls pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses antisemitism

More than 1,000 gather in Boston to protest antisemitism after college campus protests
More than 1,000 gather in Boston to protest antisemitism after college campus protests 02:23

BOSTON - As student protests continue in Boston, calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and demanding that their schools divest from companies that are enabling the Israel-Hamas more, Jewish students said the protests are about antisemitism and that many of them are being harassed on campus.

In response to the pro-Palestinian protests on campuses, more than 1,000 people gathered outside Temple Israel of Boston on Sunday to support local Jewish students and stand against antisemitism. The protests began at New York's Columbia University and quickly spread to Boston campuses.

Jewish students say they've been harassed

"We're here today because of the ways that the hatred of Israel and Jews has erupted on college campuses and because, as we've already heard today, our Jewish students are being excluded, harassed, targeted," said President and CEO of Combined Jewish Philanthropies Rabbi Marc Baker.

The rally was hosted by Combined Jewish Philanthropies Center for Combating Antisemitism. More than 300 Boston-area college students and professors attended the rally. Some got a chance to share their experiences of what campus life has been like these past few months.

More than a thousand gathered outside Temple Israel of Boston in support of local Jewish students and to stand against antisemitism.  CBS Boston

"Jewish students were personally harassed to the point where many had to be removed from campus and placed in hotels. Friends of mine were called terrorists,"  Emerson student Roni Moser said.

Boston College Sophomore Julia Freedman also spoke out. "Nothing over the last few months has been normal for Jews. Except it has become normal to publicly hate Jews," she said. "Jews are in danger on college campuses every day right now." 

Student campuses in upheaval

On Sunday, a Palestinian flag was raised over a building at Harvard University, a campus that had already failing grades in fighting antisemitism. The flag was quickly removed by university staff, and a spokesperson for Harvard said the students responsible would face disciplinary action. Harvard's student newspaper reports that administrators are looking at calling students to a disciplinary board due to noise and overnight camping violations. Some seniors could have their diplomas withheld.

On Saturday, protesters at Northeastern University were cleared by police. On Friday, Boston University students took to the streets to protest the war. On Thursday, 108 protesters were arrested at Emerson College.

"We obviously want more people to raise their voices and to say that what we are seeing on these campuses - this outpouring of hate - is just unacceptable," Baker said.  

A message from Robert Kraft

Patriots owner Robert Kraft also sent a message of encouragement and hope to Jewish students. Kraft has said he will no longer donate to his alma mater, Columbia University, because of the protests.

"We all have to work together to keep this community and all people from all backgrounds strong," Kraft said.

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