Antisemitic video stirs concern at GWU campus

Source: sfgate
Washington, DC - George Washington University officials are condemning an antisemitic video in which a student referred to Jewish people by a vulgarity.

In a seven-second Snapchat video, a male student asks, "What are we going to do to Israel?" A female student replies, "We're gonna [expletive] bomb Israel, bro." A graphic on the video says, "Hot Girl Rosh Hashanah."

Students who watched the video contacted university leaders last Sunday, GWU spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said in an email. Campus police were immediately notified. District of Columbia police and federal law enforcement were also involved.

"There is no apparent credible threat to our students or our campus at this time," Nosal said.

GWU's student newspaper, the Hatchet, reported the incident Wednesday. The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday issued a statement in response and said the video "advocates for indiscriminate violence against Israel and Jews."

Doron Ezickson, director of the Jewish rights group's District office, said there has been a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campuses in the District and throughout the country. He called on universities to use these incidents as a way to teach students about bias.

"Unfortunately, what happens on campuses is, in a sense, a microcosm of what we're seeing in our broader society," Ezickson said. "We very much think there's a role for universities to engage in both education and conversation."

GWU President Thomas LeBlanc called the video "disturbing and hateful," according to a statement.

"We will not tolerate antisemitism or any form of bigotry on our campuses," LeBlanc said.

The female student in the video told the Hatchet she remembers talking about Israel and Palestinian territories with the man who recorded the video. The newspaper did not identify the woman "to preserve her privacy as the university decides on disciplinary actions."

The student apologized for the video and told reporters at the student newspaper she regrets the violent statements she made.

Nosal did not say how the female student will be disciplined but said officials are working to "determine the most appropriate response consistent with the Code of Student Conduct."

Students who break the conduct code can face sanctions ranging from a warning to community engagement to expulsion, according to university policy.

In the days since the video was shared, campus groups have condemned the students' actions.

"The blatant display of anti-Semitism and incitement of violence is unacceptable and has no place at The George Washington University or anywhere else," said students from GW for Israel, a political advocacy group. "We urge the university to take sufficient action to ensure that incidents like this are not repeated and that the individuals responsible are held accountable."

Student government leaders said in a statement the incident is not isolated and cited other examples of bigotry at the university.

"We ask the community to realize that the institutional culture of GW is allowing ignorance, discrimination and hatred to breed," the statement said.