Jewish students at the University of Texas say escalating antisemitism is spiraling into pure ‘Jew hatred’

As students chanted “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,” Jewish students spoke with Fox News Digital about the antisemitism and extreme anger they have experienced on campus during this week’s protests. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered on campus at the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday to participate in an unruly anti-Israel protest that included “significant participation by outside groups,” according to a statement from the school. Nearly 60 people were arrested, but criminal charges were dropped against 46 of the 57 protesters. 

UT Austin joined universities like Columbia and Yale, as well as the University of Southern California, where anti-Israel protests have made headlines in recent days. UT Austin said the protest was organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, which it said seeks to “paralyze the operations of universities across the country.” 

Amid the protest, an anti-Israel student could be heard telling a Jewish student, “F— you Zion Nazi b—-,” and multiple students told Fox News Digital that they had been approached and told to “go back to Germany.” Other chants like “APD, KKK, IDF / they’re all the same,” were also heard, comparing the Austin Police Department and Israeli Defense Forces to the KKK. 

Levi, a Jewish student who wore a kippah and an Israeli flag tied over his shoulders, told Fox News Digital Wednesday that the protest was made up of “pro-Hamas” individuals, but expressed his gratitude to law enforcement for making sure everybody remained “relatively peaceful.”

“We have seen a few acts of violence against the officers,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of angry people, I’ve seen a lot of people that have been crying, I’ve heard a lot of Jew hatred. I don’t call it antisemitism anymore, I think that’s sugarcoating it, it’s Jew hatred when a girl walks up to me and says, ‘You should go back to Germany.'”

“Every time they protest, it’s going to make me louder, it’s going to make me prouder to be a Jew and I’m not going to go home. They’re not going to scare me,” Levi added. “I know the university administration has our backs in ensuring that Jews feel safe on college campuses. I’ve seen a lot of anti-Israel protests and I understand that. I’ve seen a lot of pro-Hamas chants. I’ve heard a lot of them.”


“I’m ready for this to be over, I’m ready for Jew hatred to not have a place on our campus,” he concluded. “I’m glad law enforcement and the administration is taking the correct steps to ensure that hatred has no place here at the University of Texas.”

Another Jewish student, Jeremy, told Fox News Digital that he was also told by anti-Israel protesters to “go back to Germany” and described the protests as “extremely antisemitic.”

“I do obviously support the right to protest no matter what,” he said. But, “It’s getting a little antisemitic and, of course, it’s not how it should be going.”

Zachary, a Jewish student, told Fox News Digital that he was counter protesting to represent Israel and stand in solidarity with the Jewish people. 


“It’s hurtful, you know, antisemitic rhetoric is being spread throughout,” he said. “We hear the chants and things like that. It’s really tough to hear, but it’s important that we stand here peacefully and share information and be willing to have discussions with individuals.” 

“But, yeah, it’s disheartening to hear that [anti-Israel chants],” he added. “We go to a school with such a great education and with such a great system and this rhetoric is still being spread around campus.”

The APD and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) were observed making arrests while protesters chanted, “Pigs go home!” The keffiyeh-wearing protesters attempted to set up a few tents before police intervened. 

The DPS later told Fox News Digital the arrests were made “in order to prevent any unlawful assembly and to support UT Police in maintaining the peace by arresting anyone engaging in any sort of criminal activity, including criminal trespass.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott denounced the protests as lawless and antisemitic on X. 

“These protesters belong in jail,” Abbott wrote. “Antisemitism will not be tolerated in Texas. Period. Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled.”

UT Austin told Fox News Digital early Wednesday afternoon that it “does not tolerate” disruptive protests and that evening university President Jay Hartzell released a statement about the protest activity, calling it a “challenging day.”

“We have witnessed much activity we normally do not experience on our campus, and there is understandably a lot of emotion surrounding these events,” Hartzell wrote. “Today, our University held firm, enforcing our rules while protecting the Constitutional right to free speech.”


Jay Hartzell, president of The University of Texas at Austin, speaks during the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) economic policy conference in Dallas, Texas, US, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023.  (Nitashia Johnson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Peaceful protests within our rules are acceptable,” he added. “Breaking our rules and policies and disrupting others’ ability to learn are not allowed.”

Hartzell also applauded law enforcement and staff for allowing peaceful protests that “happen within the rules.”

“We are grateful for the countless staff members and state and university law enforcement officers, as well as support personnel who exercised extraordinary restraint in the face of a difficult situation that is playing out at universities across the country,” he said. 

“There is a way to exercise freedom of speech and civil discourse, and our Office of the Dean of Students has continued to offer ways to ensure protests can happen within the rules,” he added. “The University of Texas will continue to take necessary steps so that all our university functions proceed without interruption.”


Fox News’ Christopher White, Andrea Vacchiano, Lawrence Richard and Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

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