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Tags: columbia university | antisemitism | israel | apartheid

Anti-Israel Protesters Occupy Columbia Lawn

By    |   Wednesday, 17 April 2024 01:23 PM EDT

As Columbia University President Minouchie Shafik testified at a Congressional hearing about antisemitism at the university, dozens of students Wednesday pledged to occupy a space on campus until the school divests from companies with ties to Israel, the Spectator reported.

The students were occupying the South Lawn, a Columbia University spokesperson said in a statement to the Columbia Daily Spectator, the school's student newspaper.

"The presence of tents on South Lawn is a safety concern and a violation of university policies," the school said. "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."

One of the protesters told The Spectator the occupation was part of students' long history of protesting apartheid. Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, two groups previously suspended by the university, are involved in the protests.

The school had previously restricted access to its Morningside campus to ID holders in advance of Shafik's testimony to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  The restricted access began Monday and may last until Friday, the school said in an email, according to The Spectator.

During her testimony at the hearing, titled "Columbia in Crisis: Columbia University's Response to Antisemitism," Shafik told the committee she condemned antisemitism and said it had no place on campus. 

The university president wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, emphasizing the delicate balance between protecting free speech and fostering a safe environment for students on campus.

"Calling for the genocide of a people — whether they are Israelis or Palestinians, Jews, Muslims or anyone else — has no place in a university community," Shafik wrote. "Such words are outside the bounds of legitimate debate and unimaginably harmful."

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, tensions have run high on university campuses. Jewish students have said that their schools are not doing enough to address antisemitism. Meanwhile, students who have organized in support of Palestinian rights say they have been disproportionately targeted and censored by campus administrations.

Columbia, along with many other colleges and school districts, is the subject of a series of Department of Education investigations into antisemitism and Islamophobia on campuses. It has also been targeted by lawsuits from both sides.

The New York Civil Liberties Union sued over whether the university singled out two pro-Palestinian student organizations when it suspended them from campus over protests in the fall. Groups of Jewish students have also filed suit, saying antisemitism on campus violates their civil rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sam Barron

Sam Barron has almost two decades of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, crime and business.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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As Columbia University President Minouchie Shafik testified at a Congressional hearing about antisemitism at the university, dozens of students Wednesday pledged to occupy a space on campus until the school divests from companies with ties to Israel, the Spectator reported.
columbia university, antisemitism, israel, apartheid
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2024-23-17
Wednesday, 17 April 2024 01:23 PM
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