A US university student accused of making violent threats to Jewish classmates was to appear in a New York court Wednesday, days after the White House warned about an “alarming” rise in anti-Semitic incidents in schools since Israel’s war with Hamas began.
Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old at Cornell University, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly posting comments online calling for the deaths of Jewish people and threatening to “shoot up” a college building, the Justice Department said.
Dai posted to a Cornell discussion forum “calling for the deaths of Jewish people and a post that said (he was) ‘gonna shoot up 104 west,'” a Kosher dining hall at the school that mostly caters to Jewish students and is next to the Cornell Jewish Center, according to a Justice Department statement.
“In another post, Dai allegedly threatened to ‘stab’ and ‘slit the throat’ of any Jewish males he sees on campus, to rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish females, and to behead any Jewish babies,” the statement said, adding that Dai also threatened to shoot Jewish students at the school’s Ithaca, New York campus.
A White House official said Monday the Biden administration was “taking multiple actions to address the alarming rise of reported anti-Semitic incidents at schools and on college campuses, since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.”
Cornell, one of the most prestigious schools in the country, said its administration would “continue to provide assistance” to law enforcement as the investigation against Dai continued.
“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” vice president for university relations Joel M. Malina said Tuesday.
“Police will maintain its heightened security presence on campus.”
The White House did not provide figures for the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in schools and colleges, but the Middle East conflict has sparked angry debates on campuses.
At Harvard, Stanford and New York University (NYU), bitter clashes involving students, professors and administrators have blown up into viral debates on social media and charges of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and threats to free speech.