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AEPi leader: Colleges look away, as Gulf Arab state funding trains students to be ‘little jihadists’

“It’s just a violence I’ve never seen before,” Andy Borans told JNS.

Andrew Borans, executive director emeritus at the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation, talks with JNS at the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit in Las Vegas in Oct. 2023. Credit: JNS.
Andrew Borans, executive director emeritus at the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation, talks with JNS at the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit in Las Vegas in Oct. 2023. Credit: JNS.

As antisemitism has increased exponentially on U.S. college campuses since the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel by Hamas terrorists, the longtime Jewish fraternity executive Andrew (“Andy”) Borans told JNS that he has never seen anything like this before.

“Now it is vicious and violent, and the look in the eyes of the Palestinian Arab students, who are the real troublemakers, have a meanness and a violence,” said Borans, executive director emeritus at the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation.

Speaking to JNS over the weekend in Las Vegas at the Republican Jewish Coalition Leadership Summit, Borans said there used to be “almost a cordial standoff” on campuses about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

But groups that claim to represent Palestinian interests on campus don’t want “to ever get together to do anything collectively on campus that helps each other,” he lamented. “Instead, it’s a standoff, and, sadly, it devolves into violence.”

The Biden administration announced new actions on Monday aimed at containing the rise of antisemitism at American universities, including engagement with campus law-enforcement officials; expediting the processing of campus discrimination complaints; and proactively working with universities to assess security needs.

The White House has drawn criticism for partnering with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on its prior national plan to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate. CAIR has displayed support consistently for Hamas and other violent anti-Israel organizations, including blaming Israel for being attacked on Oct. 7.

AEPi, which operates on 190 campuses globally, supports some 10,000 students in its mission to develop future leaders of Jewish communities, according to Borans. 

Borans told JNS that many AEPi chapter houses have been egged and graffitied with swastikas, and that Jewish members have been physically assaulted, spat upon and had their Jewish articles like yarmulkes, chai necklaces and Stars of David ripped off.

“It’s just a violence I’ve never seen before,” Borans said. He has been active with AEPi since the 1970s, when he was a student at Florida State University.

Borans doesn’t want AEPi members to be in harm’s way. “We don’t want them to recoil, either,” he said. “And they don’t.”

Concerns that AEPi shares with university administrators fall on deaf ears, or are met with claims that pro-Hamas protesters have the right to free speech, Borans told JNS.

“The security officers are hands off—even when they know that one side started it,” he said. “But they don’t want to be on the nightly news, or they don’t want to be seen as taking sides.”

Students for Justice in Palestine

Borans commended Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for president, for his recent calls for Students for Justice in Palestine chapters to be shut down on public campuses in the state.

SJP has long been seen as a hate group by many Israel supporters and Jewish campus activists, and several of the group’s members have been arrested or suspected of taking part in violence or threats against Jewish students.

“Kudos to Gov. DeSantis for doing that,” Borans said. “Enough is enough is enough. These people, for the most part, that are here that are the instigators are here on visas. They’re not even Americans.”

“Yet they’re instigating hate against American students, Jewish students,” he said. The agitators hate both Israel and America, Borans added.

‘Paying universities big sums of money’

AEPi and alumni of other Jewish groups could and should let their donations do the talking, according to Borans. 

The last few weeks have seen a wave of philanthropists canceling their donations or restricting their use after university administrators, particularly at Ivy League institutions, have failed to respond to pro-Hamas activities on campuses. Instead, university presidents and others have flagged them under the banner of free speech or insisted that the university shouldn’t play politics when it comes to defending Israel, while they do so with countless other global issues.

Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge-fund investor who has donated $50 million to Columbia University, his alma mater, is an AEPi alumnus. He said publicly last week that he would cut the New York University loose if it didn’t, among other things, fire or suspend Joseph Massad, an Arab politics professor who described Hamas’s massacre in glowing and congratulatory terms.

An increasing number of schools and professors rely on major donations from Gulf Arab countries, such as the Hamas-patron Qatar, which are hostile to Israel, according to Borans.

“They are literally training their students to be little jihadists. The students are doing their bidding,” he said. “They’re paying the universities big sums of money, which is why I believe many professors and university presidents, who love to get this money into their departments, are looking the other way when they know in their heart of hearts that it’s wrong.” 

Jewish alumni cutting off donations, Borans told JNS, will be “where the rubber meets the road.”

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