A Cornell history professor – with a history of radical left-wing views – called the Hamas terror attacks in Israel ‘exhilarating’ and ‘energizing’ at a pro-Palestine rally earlier this week in the latest example of anti-Semitic rhetoric in academia.
Russell Rickford is an associate professor of history and, according to his Twitter bio, a ‘Historian of the Black radical tradition.
He spoke about the attacks in terms of geo-politics, saying it has ‘shifted the balance of politics and punctured the illusion of invincibility’ of Israel and gave Palestinians hope when he made his most inflammatory statements.
‘It was exhilarating. It was exhilarating, it was energizing. And if they weren’t exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, the shifting of the violence of power, then they would not be human. I was exhilarated,’ he told the crowd.
He spoke at a protest backing Palestine in the wake of the attacks that killed over 1,400 people in Israel.
A Cornell history professor with a history of radical left-wing views called the Hamas terror attacks in Israel ‘exhilarating’ and ‘energizing’ at a pro-Palestine rally earlier this week
There was some approval and applause from the crowd when Rickford made his comments.
‘That’s what they’ve done. You don’t have to be a Hamas supporter to recognize it,’ he added.
The people who filmed the video would not say whether the rally happened on the New York campus.
In response to the speech, the crowd began chanting: ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’
Many Jewish groups believe the chant is anti-Semitic and is meant to get rid of Israel completely.
Rickford has not tweeted since June and neither he nor Cornell have responded to requests for comment.
He was previously part of an effort to revamp police forces on Ivy League campuses in the wake of the George Floyd protests in 2020.
Rickford was against Ithaca’s attempt to consider an ambitious – and contentious – plan to remake its force ‘from the ground up,’ thinking it didn’t go far enough.
Russell Rickford is an associate professor of history and, according to his Twitter bio, a ‘Historian of the Black radical tradition’
The proposal would have replaced the 63-officer Ithaca Police Department with a new Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety comprising both armed officers and unarmed ‘community solution officers’ to handle nonviolent calls like petty thefts.
Some social justice activists dismiss it as a diluted version of what they call ‘defunding the police,’
Rickford, who focuses on the Black radical tradition, said he and members of the Tompkins County Antiracist Coalition are ‘deeply skeptical’ of the plan.
‘We fear that it is an effort to rebrand policing while suppressing or erasing the fundamental demand for massive police defunding that arose in the context of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor uprisings,’ he wrote in an email.
Academia has been a huge part of the pro-Palestinian movement in the wake of the attacks.
Supporters of Palestine gather at Harvard University on October 14. When the terror attacks were launched by Hamas on October 7, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee issued a co-signed by 33 other Harvard student organizations, stating: ‘We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence’
Harvard students at the October 14 rally on campus
The letter caused a massive backlash after 33 student societies backed the statement written by the PSC ‘holding the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence’
Harvard’s Arab Alumni Association has appealed for donations to help students’ mental health after they were subjected to ‘relentless bullying and intimidation’ for blaming Israel for the Hamas attacks of October 7.
The Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee issued a letter on October 7, co-signed by 33 other Harvard student organizations, stating: ‘We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.’
A letter from more than 30 Harvard student groups was sent on the day of the attacks, which saw Hamas terrorists stage a dawn raid from Gaza on a music festival near the border and villages nearby. Women and children were murdered in their beds, and an estimated 200 people have been taken hostage.
Claudine Gay, the president of Harvard, said days later the letter does not speak for the educational institution as a whole or its leadership. Her comments came after some criticized the Harvard administration for taking too long to denounce the student letter.