A Columbia University student's federal complaint alleging anti-Semitism on campus is the first filed under a new executive order from President Donald Trump, the student's legal team says.
In a news release, The Lawfare Project accuses Columbia's administration of knowing about a "hostile environment" created on the campus, and doing nothing about it.
The complaint to the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights was filed on behalf of Jonathan Karten, a Jewish Israeli American student.
Trump's executive order Dec. 11 stated the administration will take action against the growing problem of anti-Semitism on campuses "as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination."
Some Jewish groups have praised the order as protecting Jewish students from discrimination, while others worry the order will stifle free speech, The Hill reported.
According to The Hill, which said it viewed a redacted version of the complaint, one Columbia professor allegedly pointed at Karten and yelled, "Don't believe a word he is saying. He is Mossad," referring to Israel's intelligence agency.
Another professor is accused of saying the killing of Israeli citizens by the military wing of Hamas is justified by Israel's "settler colonialism."
The Lawfare Project's executive director Brooke Goldstein said in a statement Trump's order creates "a legal avenue to stop this type of hatred from being perpetuated in our schools."
But a group called Palestine Legal calls the executive order an attack on free speech.
"Israel proxy groups predictably fired off an egregious attack on campus free speech within a week of Trump's anti-Palestinian executive order to chill advocacy for Palestinian rights," senior staff attorney Radhika Sainath said.
"We expect Columbia to stand up to bullying attempts to censor critical discussion and scholarship and fully protect its students and professors from right-wing censorship attempts," Sainath added.
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