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A non-Jewish friend sent me a piece about Jewish billionaire Henry Sweica’s resignation from the Columbia University board over concerns that the university allowed pro-Hamas protesters to engage in hate speech on campus. My friend wrote: “These don’t help anyone.” I don’t agree or disagree. I don’t know Mr. Sweica. I don’t know what it will achieve. But I understand why he did so. What follows is my reply to her, edited only slightly for readability.
It’s hard to explain how unnerved American Jews are right now. Our sense of security has given way to not understanding how we didn’t realize so much antisemitism was right below the surface, and where it was lurking. Our sense of security was grounded in knowing friend from foe. That has been upended.
I don’t know what it’s like to be the child of Holocaust survivors. Or to lose both those parents as a teenager. Or to be married to an Israeli. Certainly, I don’t know what it’s like to be a billionaire. But this is no different from any alum turning off their monthly donation to their alma mater. Not because there’s protesting on campus.
But because of