update deskSchools & Higher Education

Israeli-American student files suit against UVa over antisemitic abuse at rally

A spokesperson for the university declined to comment on the litigation, saying that the university “opposes antisemitism and other forms of bias.”

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. Credit: Brian P. Irwin/Shutterstock.
The Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. Credit: Brian P. Irwin/Shutterstock.

A lawsuit claims that the University of Virginia in Charlottesville chose not to protect a Jewish student from harassment this year.

Matan Goldstein, a sophomore, filed the suit on May 17, describing an incident from Oct. 25 during a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protest on campus. The dual American and Israeli citizen wore his yarmulke and a Star of David to the rally while carrying an Israeli flag. 

The suit states that “Matan was berated, insulted, threatened with violence and physically assaulted,” necessitating a professor to step in to protect the student—and himself—“from imminent physical assault.”  

According to the lawsuit, the university’s media team “falsely claimed that no major and, more importantly, ‘formal’ complaints had been lodged or initiated.”

The school’s chapters of Faculty for Justice in Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine also appear in the lawsuit, which argues that the groups’ “very existence,” given their alleged antisemitic character, qualify as a breach of the school’s legal obligations. 

A spokesperson for the public university declined to comment on the pending litigation, saying that the university “opposes antisemitism and other forms of bias, and we respond swiftly to claims of harassment of members of our community.”

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