Columbia Law School Students Send Menacing Email to Jewish Classmates: 'You Threaten Everyone's Safety'

Columbia's chapter of the National Lawyers Guild warns that 'no Jew is safe until everyone is safe'

Anti-Israel protesters at Columbia (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
May 6, 2024

An anti-Israel student group at Columbia Law School sent a threatening email on Friday telling Jewish students that they will be neither "safe" nor "free" until "everyone is safe" and "Palestine is free."

Columbia's chapter of the National Lawyers Guild—a radical group that has defended Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel—put out a statement condemning the school for calling in the NYPD to clear out an occupied building. The statement also told Jews that they are not safe and accused Jewish students who oppose divestment of threatening everyone's safety. While no students publicly signed their names on the letter, the group's organizing committee took credit.

"To the Jewish students, faculty, and trustees blocking divestment and urging the violent crackdowns on campus: you threaten everyone's safety," the group said.

"Our safety cannot be predicated on the oppression of others, whether campus protestors or Palestinians," the statement added. "No Jew is safe until everyone is safe, and no Jew is free until Palestine is free."

The warning to Jews at Columbia was attributed to "the Jewish members" of the National Lawyers Guild chapter.

The chapter's board members for the 2023-24 school year were Mark Scaggs, Melanie Mignucci, Michael Sosnick, Mikhal Kidane, and Avraham Tsikhanovski, according to a source familiar with board membership. It's not clear whether the board turned over in April. The above-named students didn't return requests for comment.

Columbia's Progressive Jewish Law Society, which was led by Molly Allen and Ariel Sheffey in the 2023-24 school year, promoted the email to its members, calling the statement "beautiful." Allen and Sheffey didn't return requests for comment.

The National Lawyers Guild chapter's inflammatory statement came just days before the Ivy League school announced on Monday that it had canceled its main, university-wide commencement scheduled for May 15 in favor of smaller school-level ceremonies, which it relocated to an off-campus location. The school has said it will focus its resources on keeping the ceremonies "safe, respectful, and running smoothly."

Columbia Law School didn't respond to a request for comment.

"Students have the right to resist police brutality in their fight for justice, just as Palestinians have the right to resist their genocidal oppressors in their fight for liberation," the National Lawyers Guild chapter said. "We try not to allow our fear and rage to consume us, but sometimes that is all that one can feel. Use that feeling. And let that feeling not only radicalize you. Let it liberate you."

Last month, the international arm of the National Lawyers Guild signed off on a letter announcing "support" for "Iran's right to defend itself against Zionist aggression." And a day after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israeli civilians, the association released a statement in support "of the right of the Palestinian people to resist illegal military occupation."