Columbia pro-Israel groups protest 'hostile' campus environment

Pro-Israel students at Columbia University are protesting what they consider to be the university’s lack of action against Pro-Palestine students and campus groups that have allegedly created an anti-Semitic “pervasively hostile environment.”

Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and the Alumni for Campus Fairness at Columbia University, both of whom are represented by the non-profit legal advocacy group Lawfare Project, formally announced a planned protest against university administrators on Thursday for “inaction against rampant anti-Semitism.”

Columbia has not taken action in addressing the actions of the Pro-Palestine group or pro-Israel groups, according to the press release

According to the New York Post, Suzanne Goldberg, executive vice president of the office of university life, said, “The safety and well-being of all of our students is fundamentally important...we will always work with students who have concerns about their physical safety, allow debate on contentious questions where our students hold strong views and provide essential personal and group support.”

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SSI, with the assistance of the Lawfare Project, filed a formal complaint last semester against anti-Zionist groups and individual students. The complaint detailed the “hostile” campus environment. The complaint details incidents on campus that allegedly violate the Student Code of Conduct and were allegedly ignored by administrators, according to the Lawfare Project.

SSI students met with Goldberg to address their concerns, according to the press release. Goldberg reportedly told students that action could not be taken without the direct threat of violence from the offending groups.

”These students come to this campus to learn but face horrifying hatred and bigotry simply because they are Jews who believe in Jewish self-determination,” Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project, said in the announcement.

“We commend the bravery of these students for standing up for themselves just as we condemn the cowardice of the Columbia administration for failing to address anti-Semitism on campus,” Goldstein added.

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“[SSI Students] deserve to have their freedom of speech protected, and should be protected from harassment and bullying,” SSI Columbia chapter president, Dalia Zahger told Campus Reform. “And yet, Columbia’s administration has decided to dismiss the repeating requests and complaints which were submitted about those rights being taken away from our group.”

SSI claims to have received verbal attacks and harassment as well as witnessed students covering SSI fliers on campus. Members of Students Supporting Israel “have had enough of it all,” Zahger told Campus Reform.  

“SSI will not be silenced, and will have a protest [Thursday] so Columbia understands we demand our rights, which shouldn’t be so difficult to do since it is all detailed in the University’s rule of conduct,” Zahger added. “Those rules are there for a reason which we believe in. It is time Columbia proves it does as well.”

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Columbia University Director of Media Relations Caroline Adelman, repeatedly refused to release an official statement on this matter to Campus Reform.

However, Adelman did make a remark to Campus Reform, writing, “Every day our students plan protests. For example, some students are wearing black today and plan to meet in front of Low to protest Kavanaugh this afternoon. Other students are trying to unionize and are planning marches. I think you get my point, even if you are, as you describe, a student reporter.”

If and when an official statement is released, the article will be updated.

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