New York University student arrested for allegedly assaulting pro-Israel demonstrator

21-year-old NYU student Aiden Lopez was arrested and charged with assault when he slammed a gate on a female student’s thumb and punched another person in the face and neck according to the NYPD.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

A 21-year-old New York University (NYU) student was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting a female pro-Israel demonstrator and another person in the school’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library in Manhattan, according to NYU’s campus newspaper and the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

The NYPD told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that officers arrested 21-year-old Aiden Lopez and charged him with assault and criminal mischief. According to an account of the incident described by an unnamed male complainant, Lopez was arguing with the female pro-Israel demonstrator, who is also an NYU student, and “slammed a gate causing minor bruising to her thumb.” When the complainant attempted to intervene, Lopez allegedly punched “him in the face and neck” and destroyed his mobile phone.

The female student was at the Bobst Library to participate in a pro-Israel sit-in and said the male whom Lopez struck was a visitor to campus, according to Washington Square News, the official campus newspaper of NYU.

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“We’re horrified to learn of an alleged assault against a student at New York University who was wearing an Israeli flag & participating in a sit-in,” the New York/New Jersey office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tweeted on Wednesday, calling for a full investigation into the alleged assault. “We thank the university for its response and law enforcement for apprehending the suspected predator.”

NYU did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment for this story.

Threats and actual incidents of violence against Jewish college students in the US have surged since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.

On Friday, a University of Massachusetts-Amherst student allegedly punched a Jewish student who was carrying an Israeli flag during a gathering held to call for the release of the over 240 people kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and taken to Gaza. After the alleged punch, the assailant snatched the Israeli flag held by the Jewish student and spat on it, according to campus leaders.

Last month, at Tulane University, a melee ensued in New Orleans in which an anti-Israel activist broke a Jewish student’s nose.

Earlier this month at Harvard University, a mob — some clad in Palestinian keffiyeh scarves — jostled and harassed a Jewish student as he walked across the campus. Among the mob was Ibrahim Bharmal, the editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — a publication whose past editors include former US President Barack Obama.

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At Cornell University, meanwhile, someone threatened on a social media forum to commit acts of murder, rape, and mass shooting against Jewish students and a kosher dining hall on campus. Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old engineering student at Cornell, was arrested on a federal complaint for allegedly making the threats. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Such incidents have prompted a response from the Biden administration. The US Education Department on Tuesday sent a letter warning universities that failing to prevent and respond to incidents of antisemitism contravenes Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts and risks losing public funding. The letter followed a fraught exchange between senior Biden administration officials and college students during a recent event at Towson University in Maryland.

“The rise of reports of hate incidents on our college campuses in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict is deeply traumatic for students and should be alarming to all Americans. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of hatred go against everything we stand for as a nation,” US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to upholding the civil rights of students of all backgrounds, including students who are, or who are perceived to be, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, Arab, or Palestinian.”

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Cardona added, “College and university leaders must be unequivocal about condemning hatred and violence and work harder than ever to ensure all students have the freedom to learn in safe and inclusive campus communities.”