Columbia University Students Announce Event Celebrating Hamas's Oct. 7 Attack

Pro-Palestinian rally at Columbia University (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
December 4, 2023

A student group at Columbia University will host an event on the "significance of the Oct. 7 Palestinian counteroffensive" in the latest instance of college students endorsing Hamas's violent attacks.

"We will discuss the significance of the Palestinian counteroffensive on Oct. 7 and the centrality of revolutionary violence to anti-imperialism," Columbia Social Workers 4 Palestine advertised Sunday on X, formerly Twitter. "See y’all there!"

Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to the Israeli government's latest estimates. The group also took about 240 people hostage, and survivors of the attacks have testified that the terrorists raped Israeli women.

"In advocating for Palestinian liberation, Palestinians have engaged in nonviolent resistance tactics for years," the group said in a reply to its original post. "These peaceful actions have been met with tear gas and armed opposition by the Israeli government."

The student group, which describes itself as "a collective of students at Columbia University's School of Social Work supporting Palestinian national resistance and liberation," appears to have formed in early November and has about 200 followers on X. The group hosted a discussion last week titled "Palestine and Imperialism." It posted an outline of the discussion that quoted Vladimir Lenin at length and claimed "'peace negotiations' on the question of Palestine have always served U.S. imperialists' monopolization of the Middle East."

Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) directed the Washington Free Beacon to a statement condemning the student group's advertisement of the event.

"This is not a CSSW-sponsored event," the school said. "The students who organized the event did not seek approval for the fliers and text as required by CSSW processes. CSSW supports free speech but does not condone language that promotes violence in any manner, which is antithetical to our values. This event will not go forward at CSSW."

This is not the first time students at an elite university have engaged in such rhetoric regarding the Oct. 7 attacks. In the days following the attacks, student groups at universities across the country issued statements excusing or celebrating the attacks. The Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace chapters at Columbia—both of which later received suspensions for violating campus events policies—released a statement declaring themselves in "full solidarity with Palestinian resistance against over 75 years of Israeli-settler colonialism and apartheid." The statement also described the attacks as Palestinians launching "a counter-offensive against their settler-colonial oppressor."