Columbia Students Are Not Safe on Campus Amid ‘Pro-Terror’ Protests, Israeli Professor Warns
‘If my 7-year-old daughter were now 18 years old, I would never, never send her to Columbia,’ the professor says. ‘She would not be protected here.’
In a heated speech on Columbia University’s campus Wednesday night, an Israeli professor is warning parents that their children are not safe at the school, which has become a haven for pro-Palestinian student protesters who, he says, treat “rape” as an act of “resistance” and “revenge.”
“We cannot protect your children from pro-terror student organizations because the president of Columbia University will not speak out against pro-terror student organizations,” the assistant professor of management at the business school, Shai Davidai, exclaimed on the quad last night in front of a crowd gathered around a candle-lit star of David.
Mr. Davidai said he was speaking not as a professor but as a father. On this campus, his 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter are each considered “a legitimate target of resistance” because they are Israeli, he said. “If my 7-year-old daughter were now 18 years old, I would never, never send her to Columbia.” He said the school is an “amazing institution,” but “she would not be protected here.”
Mr. Davidai said that while President Biden and Mayor Adams wasted no time in denouncing Hamas’s violence, university presidents at Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley have failed to strongly condemn the inhumanity. The show of support for Hamas at Columbia is particularly shocking: “Can you imagine that in the city that had to endure 9/11, the worst attack on American soil,” he asked his listeners, “we have pro-terror student organizations?”
“You are a coward,” Mr. Davidai said in reference to the school’s president, Minouche Shafik, who said in a statement two days after the war broke out that he was “devastated by the horrific attack on Israel” but made no mention of Hamas. “We are waiting for you to eradicate all pro-terror student organizations on campus,” Mr. Davidai urged.
Mr. Davidai said that even at 40 years old, he was “shivering” in fear as he walked onto campus last week, feeling that his employer did not value his life. On Friday, hundreds of students gathered on the main quad at Columbia University to engage in dueling protests in support of Israel and the Palestinian people. The school closed its campus to the public as Hamas leaders called for a “global day of jihad.”
“Rape is never okay,” Mr. Davidai projected, his voice at full volume. “Not as an act of resistance. Not as an act of revenge.” Yet several faculty members at the school appear to be inflaming, if not inciting, such rhetoric. A Columbia professor of politics and history, Joseph Massad, has lauded Hamas’s attacks on Israel as a “stunning victory” in an article he published online a day after the conflict ignited.
Another professor at the school, Rashid Khalidi, told a reporter last week that the Hamas attacks must be placed in the context of “settler colonialism and apartheid.” Mr. Khalidi, who served as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington Arab-Israeli peace negotiations in the early 1990s, described the violence as “the return of the repressed.”
Dozens of Columbia faculty members, though, “strongly affirm Columbia’s connection to Israel,” according to a joint statement that was signed by Mr. Davidai. While arguing that students should “feel free to air competing perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” they assert that “to treat Zionism as an illegitimate and fundamentally oppressive movement is to ignore history and to deny Jews a measure of empathy and respect.”
Mr. Davidai, speaking Wednesday night, urged his listeners to film him and share his speech on social media so that parents around the country can see what’s become of Columbia. He implored them to ask their representatives in Congress if the colleges in their city and state that receive taxpayer money are harboring these kinds of organizations. At the schools in which their children are already enrolled, he said parents should demand: “Will you protect my child from pro-terror student organizations?”
Mr. Davidai said that he’s been warned against criticizing Columbia in the past few days out of a concern that doing so will risk his employment there. Yet, standing on the campus of New York’s oldest university, he asserted, “I’m not afraid to speak up. I’m speaking up because I’m afraid.”