Police Arrest Over 100 Students at Columbia University Anti-Israel Protest

Aerial view of protestors blocking traffic outside Columbia (Citizen App)

(AP/Hamodia/NY Daily News) – Anti-Israel protestors who had encamped outside Columbia University for two days blocked city traffic and NYPD buses outside the Manhattan campus Thursday, leading to the arrest and detainment over 100 demonstrators following the school president’s testimony at a congressional hearing on antisemitism the day before.

At least 100 students were arrested at the rally, in which hundreds of protestors shouted anti-Israel slogans, covered their faces in kefiyehs and waved Palestinian flags. Many students had encamped on a lawn outside of a university building, saying that they would not leave until the university divests from entities affiliated with Israel. Classes were disrupted due to the commotion, and the university was closed to all members of the public the entire week, open only to students with IDs.

FOX News reported The protestors who had blocked traffic had dispersed by 2:30 p.m., but had relocated to other locations.

Those arrested are facing charges of unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and will likely be released, NYPD sources told FOX News.

The university called in police to help deal with the tent encampments. Officers gave out notices regarding school rules to students. “The presence of tents on South Lawn is a safety concern and a violation of university policies,” said a university spokesperson. “We are informing the students they are in violation of university policies and for their own safety and for the operation of the university they need to leave.”

(Citizen App)

Columbia’s President Nemat Shafik testified Wednesday to congress on the Ivy League school’s response to antisemitism and conflicts on campus following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel. She arrived on Capitol Hill four months after a similar hearing that led to the resignations of two Ivy League presidents, who gave tepid responses when asked if calling for the genocide of Jews was permitted on campus.

Shafik took a more decisive stance than the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, who repeatedly stated that calls for the genocide of Jews in and of themselves would not violate school policies, and that only targeting individual students for violence would be forbidden.

When asked the same question, Shafik and three other Columbia leaders responded unequivocally, yes. But Shafik waffled on specific phrases.

Rep. Lisa McClain, a Republican from Michigan, asked her if phrases such as ”from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” or “long live intifada” are antisemitic.

“I hear them as such, some people don’t,” Shafik said.

McClain posed the same question to David Schizer, who leads an antisemitism task force at Columbia. He responded that such phrases are indeed antisemitic.

The word “intifada” in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations conjures up decades of terrorism against Israeli civilians, known as the First and Second Intifadas, as well as the “intifada of the knives” during the 2010’s. The word, which literally means “uprising” in Arabic, has also been used in other countries when discussing revolutions.

Shafik acknowledged a rise in antisemitism since October but said campus leaders have been working tirelessly to protect students. Rebutting accusations that she has been soft on violators, Shafik said 15 students were suspended and six are on probation for violating new rules restricting campus demonstrations.

In another heated exchange, Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican and a driving force behind the hearings, grilled Shafik on faculty and staff who have expressed support for Hamas or opposition to Israel. She asked about Mohamed Abdou, an Arab studies professor who expressed support for Hamas on social media after Oct. 7.

Shafik said she shared “repugnance” over Abdou’s comments, adding that he will be terminated.

“He is grading his students’ papers and will never teach at Columbia again,” she said.

Stefanik said she heard that Abdou attended a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the Columbia campus Wednesday morning, in apparent violation of the school’s new rules.

“Mr. Abdou is not grading papers right now,” Stefanik said. “He’s on campus at the unsanctioned and anti-Israel, antisemitic event that is being supported by pro-Hamas activists on campus.”

On top of the committee investigation, Columbia has also been under a U.S. Department of Education probe since November for allegations of antisemitism and Islamophobia. Jewish students have filed a federal lawsuit against the administration, saying they permitted antisemitism to exclude them from the full Columbia experience.

When she launched the congressional probe in February, committee chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., pointed to a “pattern of deeply troubling incidents and developments at Columbia,” including a Jewish student who was beaten with a stick by a peer during a dispute over Israeli hostage posters, swastikas on campus and antisemitic rhetoric.

Earlier this month, Columbia announced the suspensions of multiple pro-Palestinian students for an unsanctioned campus event with “speakers who are known to support terrorism and promote violence.”

Foxx and Stefanik appeared with Jewish students from Columbia who said they have been threatened and physically confronted. They described a student who had Star of David necklaces torn off while walking to class and taunts from students who say “the Holocaust wasn’t that special.”

During a Feb. 29 bipartisan roundtable discussion featuring students from various colleges under federal investigation for Title VI violations, Columbia undergraduate student Eden Yadegar stated that he and other Jewish students have been physically assaulted by anti-Israel protesters on campus.

“We have been attacked with sticks outside of our library…we have been surrounded by angry mobs,” Yadegar said.

Students at an encampment on school grounds (Citizen App)

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