Columbia University Campus Unravels in Face of Escalating Anti-Semitic, Eliminationist Protests

President Shafik faces call to resign as anti-Semitic agitators engulf Manhattan campus

April 22, 2024

Chaotic protests, violent clashes, and explicit calls for terrorism plagued Columbia University over the weekend, with the school's president, Minouche Shafik, facing pressure to restore order—or resign.

Jewish students were subject to another night of violent demonstrations Saturday, just days after Shafik testified before Congress about the school's response to campus anti-Semitism.

A group of Jewish students that went out on campus Saturday night with an Israeli flag, for example, had it stolen. Pro-Hamas agitators later attempted to burn it. The group was assaulted, splashed with water, and followed by protesters, according to one of the students.

"Public safety was nowhere to be found. Columbia has lost its campus," the student said. "This is why Jewish students don't feel safe. Because they are not."

Video from the evening also shows a keffiyeh-clad individual holding a sign pointed at a group of Jewish students with the caption "Al-Qassam’s Next Targets," a reference to Hamas’s military wing, which carried out the terror attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. Another live streamed a speech that called for "escalation" and glorified the attacks.

"We are here today because on Oct. 7th the Palestinian resistance in Gaza broke through the walls of their open air prison, shattering the illusion of the invincibility of their occupiers," the speaker said. "By setting up this encampment in the heart of the Zionist stronghold of Columbia University we intend to do the same."

"We intend to tear down the iron gates of this institution that separates the ruling class from the people whose land they steal and whose labor they steal to fatten their pockets."

Just one day earlier, on Friday, a group of Jewish students published an open letter calling on Shafik to restore order to campus. Now, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) is urging Shafik to resign, citing her failure to do so.

"Over the past few months and especially the last 24 hours, Columbia’s leadership has clearly lost control of its campus putting Jewish students’ safety at risk. It is crystal clear that Columbia University … needs new leadership," Stefanik said in a statement.

"President Shafik must immediately resign. And the Columbia Board must appoint a president who will protect Jewish students and enforce school policies."

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), the head of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, also sent Shafik a letter Sunday calling the situation on campus "unacceptable." She called on Shafik to expel anti-Semitic protesters.

"The students, faculty, and staff responsible for this mayhem, including members of the groups Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, and Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, repeatedly and flagrantly have violated multiple University rules, and in many cases, federal law," Foxx wrote. "The University must decisively hold them accountable in a manner commensurate with the severity of their offenses, including expulsion and termination of employment."

A Columbia University spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon that the school is "providing additional support and resources" to ensure safety but did not elaborate further.

"Columbia students have the right to protest, but they are not allowed to disrupt campus life or harass and intimidate fellow students and members of our community," the spokeswoman said. "We are acting on concerns we are hearing from our Jewish students and are providing additional support and resources to ensure that our community remains safe."

As of Sunday, anti-Semitic protesters have reoccupied the school’s lawn and set up a new tent encampment. Students set up a similar encampment on Wednesday, the day of Shafik's testimony, but scores of participants were arrested the following day. Video captured Sunday morning also shows students leading chants for the destruction of Israel.

"Brick by brick, wall by wall, Israel will fall. Gaza will free us all."

On Thursday, Yoseph Haddad, an Arab-Israeli journalist, was forced to cancel a speech scheduled on Columbia's campus after he was pushed, punched in the face, and told to kill himself. Another protester, who wore a keffiyeh to obscure his identity, was photographed holding a Hamas logo.

Students have led anti-Semitic chants such as "Israel, go to hell" and "We don’t want a two state, we want all of it." In another case, a female protester, who covered her face and head with a keffiyeh, yelled "We are Hamas," "We’re all Hamas," and "Long live Hamas" at passersby as she banged a pot against a security fence. Another told Jewish students that Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel will repeat "every day."