Cornell Student Faces Federal Charges for Threats Against Jewish Community
Syracuse, New York – Cornell student Patrick Dai is set to appear in federal court this week, following disturbing threats made against the university’s Jewish community. These threats come at a time of heightened concerns about rising antisemitism and Islamophobia, particularly on college campuses, in the wake of the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Dai has been charged with threatening to kill or injure using interstate communications, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. According to federal prosecutors, Dai made explicit and horrifying threats targeting the Jewish community at Cornell. These threats included bringing an assault rifle to campus to shoot everyone, stabbing and slitting the throats of Jewish men, raping Jewish women, throwing their bodies off a cliff, and even beheading Jewish babies. The threats were specifically directed at the Center for Jewish Living on campus.
The authorities were able to trace Dai’s IP address and discovered the threats on an online discussion board. After receiving Miranda warnings, Dai admitted to posting the threats. This led to his arrest and subsequent court appearance.
In response to the arrest, the Center for Jewish Living released a statement expressing relief and calling for Dai to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The center emphasized the importance of fighting against all forms of antisemitism.
This incident at Cornell is just the latest in a series of concerning events. Earlier this month, a professor sparked controversy by calling the Hamas attack on Israelis “exhilarating” and “energizing” at a pro-Palestinian rally. This led to backlash, and the professor was placed on a leave of absence.
Cornell President Martha Pollack condemned Dai’s threats and asserted that violence and threats of violence are unacceptable. She reassured students that their safety is of utmost importance and that the university will not tolerate antisemitism.
The news of Dai’s allegations adds to the wider context of violence and tensions in the Israel-Palestine region. The Council on American Islamic Relations has reported nearly 800 complaints of Islamophobia since the recent escalation of violence. The Biden administration has expressed concerns about the rise in antisemitic incidents and has announced new actions to combat antisemitism on college campuses. The administration plans to partner with campus law enforcement to track and address threats.
The White House is closely monitoring the situation at Cornell and has pledged to counter antisemitism while providing support to the students on campus.
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