(October 5, 2018 / JNS) Outraged and feeling mistreated by Columbia University, pro-Israel students protested the school on Thursday, decrying what they call a “pervasively hostile environment” by anti-Israel groups on campus.
“Our message was that we will not just allow the university’s dismissal of our claims to go by silently, and that we hold the accountable for the repeated violations against us and the followed harassment our group goes through,” Dalia Zahger, president of the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel, told JNS. “Such dismissals enables this behavior.”
Previous incidents included dozens of anti-Zionist activists surrounding and harassing five Israeli students.
Another consisted of pro-Palestinian activists defacing materials by pro-Israel students, including a poster of Albert Einstein that reads, “This is what a Zionist looks like.” The word “Zionist” was scratched out and replaced with the word “scientist,” a rejection of Einstein’s support of Zionism.
As to whether the protest was successful, according to the Lawfare Project’s Benjamin Ryberg, the weather likely affected the outcome of the protest.
“The protest was (unfortunately) not all that successful, in my opinion,” Ryberg told JNS in an email. “Turnout was low, probably in part because it started raining.”
However, Zahger said the demonstration’s outcome depends on the university’s response. “I will only know that if I hear from the university that they choose to reconsider their dismissal and take action,” she said.