Suspect Arrested for Throwing Rock at Pro-Israel Columbia Counterprotestor

By Reuvain Borchardt

Zuhdi Ahmed, the man who allegedly threw a rock at the face of a pro-Israel counterprotestor at Columbia University. (NYPD)

NEW YORK — A pro-Palestinian protestor has been arrested for allegedly throwing a rock at a pro-Israel counterprotestor at Columbia University.

On Saturday night, April 20, as pro-Palestinian protests were roiling the campus of Columbia University, yarmulke-wearing sophomore Jonathan Lederer was among a group of 20 pro-Israel students counterprotesting, Lederer wrote in The Free Press on April 21.

“One keffiyeh-masked protester came up to my friends and I and held up a sign with an arrow pointing toward us that read: ‘Al-Qassam’s Next Targets,'” Lederer wrote. Al-Qassam is the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization.

Lederer wrote that shortly after midnight, “the protesters began chasing us toward the campus gates,” and “we felt we had to leave for our own safety.”

As they tried leaving through the gate at Amsterdam Avenue and 116th street — which was blocked off by a protest by pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime — a man grabbed two of Lederer’s Israeli flags and brought them to a group of pro-Palestinian protestors. Lederer chased the man to get them back. Lederer grabbed the flag away as another man tried lighting them on fire.

During the incident, Lederer was “pushed and shoved,” and a protestor threw a rock that hit him in the face. Another object hit him in the chest.

Lederer wrote that as he and his friends were chased out of campus, they were told to “go back to Poland,” which he said is “a poignant reminder that even in America, antisemites wish to condemn Jews like me to our ancestors’ tragic fate.”

On Thursday, June 13, the NYPD announced the arrest of the alleged rock-thrower, Zuhdi Ahmed, 20, of Ossining. He was arraigned the same day in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of third-degree assault as a hate crime, and second-degree aggravated harassment.

Per the request of prosecutor Alexander Patton — citing Ahmed’s young age, lack of criminal record, and his having voluntarily surrendered to police — Ahmed was released without bail, on supervised release.

A spokesperson for Ahmed’s public defender did not immediately respond to Hamodia’s request for comment.

The alleged flag-burner, James Carlson, was arrested May 1, and charged with criminal mischief, arson, and criminal possession of stolen property.

Police are still looking for the person who grabbed the flags from Lederer.

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