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Fury as Rutgers University chancellor is forced to apologize for condemning anti-Semitic hate attacks after woke campus said his message failed to 'validate' Palestinian students

 The chancellor of Rutgers University is embroiled in controversy after issuing a statement condemning acts of anti-Semitism that outraged Palestinian students, and then an apology that is infuriating supporters of Israel.

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy of the New Brunswick, New Jersey campus issued his apology on Thursday, a day after sending a message condemning a 'resurgence of anti-Semitism' in the U.S.

'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,' Malloy said in the apology co-signed by  Provost Francine Conway.


'We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced,' the apology added.

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy after apologizing to Palestinian students for a statement condemning anti-Semitism but not mentioning their concerns

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy after apologizing to Palestinian students for a statement condemning anti-Semitism but not mentioning their concerns

The Rutgers campus is seen above. The recent deadly conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants that left more than 250 dead, the vast majority of them Palestinians

The Rutgers campus is seen above. The recent deadly conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants that left more than 250 dead, the vast majority of them Palestinians


The controversy unfolded against the backdrop of the recent deadly conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants that left more than 250 dead, the vast majority of them Palestinians, including more than 60 children.

A ceasefire was declared last Friday, but Jewish groups say that the conflict has spurred an increase in anti-Jewish incidents in the U.S.

During the two weeks of clashes in Israel and Gaza, the Anti-Defamation League collected 222 reports of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and violence in the United States, compared with 127 over the previous two weeks. 

It is not clear whether any such incidents have occurred recently at Rutgers, which has a large Jewish population in the student body, but on Wednesday Molloy sent a campus-wide email titled 'Speaking Out Against Acts of Anti-Semitism'.

'We are saddened by and greatly concerned about the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States,' he wrote.

The statement did not mention Palestinians by name, but rolled together a mashup of other concerns regarding racial justice issues.

'Last year’s murder of George Floyd brought into sharp focus the racial injustices that continue to plague our country, and over the past year there has been attacks on our Asian American Pacific Islander citizens, the spaces of Indigenous peoples defiled, and targeted oppression and other assaults against Hindus and Muslims,' Molloy wrote.

Campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rugers, New Brunswick campus reacted with fury, issuing a statement demanding apologies from the chancellor and provost. 

'The Chancellor and Provost's statement exclusively addressing antisemitism comes during a time when Israel's occupation of Palestine is finally receiving widespread criticism, and despite mentioning the "deaths of children and adults and mass displacement of citizens in the Gaza region," conveniently ignores the extent to which Palestinians have been brutalized by Israel's occupation and bombing of Gaza,' the group said.

The group called the chancellor's statement 'a deflection from Rutgers University's role in financially supporting the Israeli state, and thus its human rights abuses and occupation of Palestine.'

Molloy responded on Thursday with another mass email to the campus, titled 'An Apology'.

'Rutgers University–New Brunswick is a community that is enriched by our vibrant diversity. However, our diversity must be supported by equity, inclusion, antiracism, and the condemnation of all forms of bigotry and hatred, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,' Molloy wrote.

'As we grow in our personal and institutional understanding, we will take the lesson learned here to heart, and pledge our commitment to doing better,' the chancellor added.

Rutgers dorms are seen in a file photo. Campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rugers, New Brunswick campus reacted with fury to Molloy's initial statement

Rutgers dorms are seen in a file photo. Campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rugers, New Brunswick campus reacted with fury to Molloy's initial statement

Provost and Vice Chancellor Francine Conway (above) also came in from criticism from both sides after co-signing the initial statement and apology

Provost and Vice Chancellor Francine Conway (above) also came in from criticism from both sides after co-signing the initial statement and apology

Supporters of Israel reacted to the apology with outrage, with Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeting: 'Under pressure, the Rutgers chancellor *apologized* for condemning the surge of anti-Semitic violence. How can someone this weak lead a university?'

But SJP, the pro-Palestinian student group, also reacted with scorn, issuing an even longer statement on Friday rejecting the chancellor's apology.

'The "apology" released by Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway persists on the nonnecessity of actually supporting Palestinian students, faculty and allies as we grieve, organize and resist the Zionist occupation of Palestine,' said SJP.

'Our existence is not contingent on the University's acknowledgement, and the empty assertion that our community is "supported" may remain with the University, as it an assertion that has not been backed up by any tangible efforts and therefore will not be accepted by SJP Rutgers New Brunswick,' the group added.

SJP reiterated its initial demands, including for an apology, a statement 'addressing the exclusion of Palestine from recent releases', and a full divestment of university resources from Israel.

As of Friday afternoon, Chancellor Molloy had issued no further public statements.  

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