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By Arno Rosenfeld


Maia Rosenberg, who graduated from Brooklyn College last year with a degree in linguistics, said the school’s administrative staff sometimes expressed antisemitism, including snide comments about how it was difficult to file paperwork on time because “the Jews never show up on Friday.” Once, a clerk stopped short after reading her name on a form and asked her if she was Jewish.

“She proceeded to dig a deeper hole by saying, ‘Oh, well you don’t look like one,’” Rosenberg recalled in an interview that took place before the controversy about Mohammed’s speech. “I remember thinking to myself on all these occasions: You work at Brooklyn College and you don’t like Jews? It just seemed odd.”

Rosenberg said discussions about Israel, where her mother was born, were fraught in a different way. She had trouble relating to right-wing students who fawned over her Israeli background, while progressives who learned she had Israeli citizenship during a class discussion sometimes wanted to test her politics. “It’s almost always the immediate demand that like, ‘You’re not a Zionist right? Prove to me you’re not a Zionist,’” she said.

But she said these encounters were with random classmates, and that she had not experienced harassment from the organized Palestinian advocacy groups on campus. Rosenberg, a member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, which has lobbied on the issue, balked at the way some New York City politicians seemed to focus on antisemitism at the school in order to shut down activism.

“When you are able to weaponize Zionism or anti-BDS panic it ends up serving the same purpose of being able to silence people,” she said.

Read the full piece from The Forward