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  • Writer's pictureAngelle Cortes

Illini Hillel react to anti-Semitic hate

By Angelle Cortes

Last weekend anti-Semitic flyers appeared around campus. These flyers contained hate and false remarks of the COVID-19 pandemic towards the Jewish community.

For Ian Katznelson, a senior in LAS, he said you would expect to see coupons or advertisements lying around, not hate.

“It really, really was not only scary, but it was frightening,” Katznelson said.

These flyers appeared around campus in plastic bags full of small rocks.

Executive Director of Illini Hillel Erez Cohen said that on Sunday Feb. 20, students came into Hillel with the bags.

Cohen immediately called the University of Illinois police department to make a report. Then later that night, Chancellor Robert Jones sent a massmail saying “These messages are offensive, outrageous and they represent unacceptable attacks on members of our Jewish community.”

Katznelson said he thinks that the anti-Semitic hate is never going to end.

“I think it’s one of the plagues that have been really trying to hurt the Jewish community for literally millennia,” Katznelson said.

His freshman year, he saw a swastika drawn in a bathroom stall and four years later, it’s still stuck in his head.

Although things like the flyers make him scared, he knows that he has Illini Hillel as a resource to turn to.

Both Cohen and Katznelson said that Jones’ response to the hate was fast and fantastic; however, there is still more that needs to be done.

“The University really need to work hard with action, and not just work to make sure that every student on this campus feels welcome and safe and that includes the Jewish community,” Cohen said.

Cohen said that if he were to sit down with the people dropping the flyers on campus, he would say that hate isn’t the answer.

“Their pain stems from something,” Cohen said. “But this is not about us. This is about their internal pain and they need to figure out where it’s coming from.”

The hate is still never ending as on early Wednesday, Feb. 23, there was a swastika found in the Saunders student residence hall in Urbana.

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