Columbia University Opens Investigation Into Israeli Prof Who Criticized Response to Anti-Semitism

'I spoke up against the university. And now the university is weaponizing an internal investigation to silence me,' says Shai Davidai

Columbia professor Shai Davidai (
March 8, 2024

Columbia University opened an investigation into an Israeli professor who has been critical of the university's response to anti-Semitism on campus, the professor said Friday.

"I am Jewish and Israeli," wrote Prof. Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School, in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter. "I spoke up against the university. And now the university is weaponizing an internal investigation to silence me. In so doing, Columbia reveals the depths of its hostility toward its Jewish community: 'How dare a Jewish professor speak up on behalf of Jewish students who are under siege!'"

Davidai added that "every person" to whom he has spoken has agreed with his assessment that the investigation is a retaliation. He said he could not reveal specifics of the probe.

"I would like to make one thing clear," Davidai wrote. "I view this as a clear attempt to silence me. I will not stop demanding that the university enforce its own rules and policies. I will not stop fighting Columbia's attempts to sideline me, fire me, or make my life even more unbearable."

A university spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon that Columbia does not comment on personnel matters, adding that, "as a general matter, if the University receives a formal complaint, it will review and consider the complaint under established processes."

Davidai has been outspoken in his criticism of Columbia's reaction to campus anti-Semitism in the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel. In a November op-ed for CNN, he condemned the university for allowing chants from pro-Palestinian student groups, such as "From the the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," which he regarded as a call for the "eradication of Jews living in Israel."

He included in his X statement examples of his voicing "support for the Palestinian people" and for a two-state solution, as well as his belief in differentiating ordinary Palestinians from terror groups such as Hamas. The examples span from late October to the middle of February.

Jewish students last month sued Columbia, alleging that it "has for decades been one of the worst centers of academic antisemitism in the United States." Most recently, the school's task force to counter anti-Semitism did not take a definite position on whether chants such as "globalize the intifada" are calls for violence.