A day after condemning the recent surge in anti-Semitic attacks, the administrators at New Jersey’s Rutgers University issued an apology, saying that their previous message has failed to show support to members of the Palestinian community.
In a campus-wide statement sent out on May 26, Rutgers–New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher Molloy and Chancellor-Provost Francine Conway said they were “saddened by and greatly concerned” about the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments and violence.
“Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us,” the administrators said, noting that the latest escalation between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group has caused deaths and suffering among both Israelis and those living in Gaza.
“If you have been adversely impacted by anti-Semitic or any other discriminatory incidents in our community, please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling and other support services on campus,” the statement read. “Our behavioral health team stands ready to support you through these challenging times.”
The next day, however, Molly and Conway apologized in a follow-up message, saying that they “fell short” of their intention to make the campus a “place where all identities can feel validated and supported.” The apology appears to be responding to a complaint from the Rutgers chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, a college student organization advocating for the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel.
“In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused,” they wrote. “Our diversity must be supported by equity, inclusion, antiracism, and the condemnation of all forms of bigotry and hatred, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”
“We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced,” the message read.
The apology comes as some of the nation’s major cities see a spike in harassment and assaults targeting Jewish residents.
One of the latest incidents took place on May 20 at New York City’s Diamond District, where pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups held dueling demonstrations. According to the New York City Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force, the 29-year-old victim was jumped by a group of six men, who yelled an anti-Semitic slur while attacking the Jewish man.
In a May 19 violent attack described by the police as an anti-Semitic hate crime, mobs in a caravan of cars flying Palestinian flags chanted “Death to Jews” and “Free Palestine” before converging on diners outside a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles.
President Joe Biden on May 24 condemned the attacks.
“The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop,” Biden said on Twitter. “I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad—it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”