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Jewish Students Fear for Safety as Antisemitic Protests Sweep Universities from Columbia to Yale

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Anti-Israel protests sweeping American universities reached a fever pitch Monday as Jewish people prepared to celebrate the start of Passover. Dozens of arrests were made at Yale and NYU, Columbia canceled in-person classes, and pro-Palestinian encampments are sprouting up on college campuses as Jewish students fear for their safety.  

Columbia University students have taken over the campus to protest Israel and support Gaza. (Photo by: Andrea Renault/STAR MAX/IPx 4/20/24)
Columbia University students have taken over the campus to protest Israel and support Gaza. (Photo by: Andrea Renault/STAR MAX/IPx 4/20/24)

Just outside Columbia's campus, a disturbing video laced with expletives shows Jewish students enduring threats with calls to "go back to Poland" where the Holocaust took place, as the students tell each other they're scared and ask where the police are.

And a shocking photo posted on X shows a demonstrator standing in front of pro-Israel students while holding a sign with an arrow that reads "Al-Qasam's next targets." Al-Qassam is the military wing of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Photo posted to X by Alan Malki, M.D.
Photo posted to X by Alan Malki, M.D.

A Jewish professor who was trying to take a group of pro-Israel protestors to the same part of campus as the pro-Palestinian demonstrators reportedly had his badge deactivated and was denied entry to the campus while school officials look on.

"I am a professor here, I have every right to be everywhere on campus," said Shai Davidai, assistant professor at Columbia Business School. "You cannot let people who support Hamas on campus and me, a professor, not go on campus. let me in now."

With demonstrations growing more radical, Jewish students are fearing for their safety, leading one rabbi to tell students to stay away because the school can't protect them.

"I was there today and it made me physically sick hearing the things they were saying and doing," one Jewish Columbia University student told a reporter. "So, over this holiday I kind of just want to try to avoid it as best as I can for my own safety."

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On Monday, the school went to online classes only as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) came to see the situation firsthand.

"Students are scared, they're afraid to walk on campus, they don't deserve that," said Hochul. "I've never seen a level of protest that is so person to person, that is so visceral. And I'm calling on everyone, people need to find their humanity, have the conversations, talk to each other."

The protests, however, are rapidly spreading to other schools in the Northeast.

On Monday night at NYU, police clashed with protestors while making arrests as they tore down a pro-Palestinian tent encampment.

At Yale, police arrested 45 students for trespassing as their peers celebrated them as heroes.

Pro-Palestinian students at MIT have declared part of their campus a "liberated zone." 

At Harvard, officials shut down Harvard Yard until Friday to prevent similar protests.

Rabbi Moshe Hauer from the Orthodox Union told CBN News this needs to be stopped.
"The reaction is simply horror," said Hauer. "It's been happening in one place after the other at different degrees, and if it's not addressed properly and efficiently, it will continue to grow."

"If they're doing things which break the law, they should have consequences as defined by the law, but they must have consequences," continued Hauer. "The answer can't be, 'We spoke to them.'" 
President Biden condemned the antisemitic protests Monday while also condemning those he says don't understand what's going on with the Palestinians. 

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About The Author


Abigail Robertson serves as the White House Correspondent for CBN News, where she has worked since 2015. As a reporter, Abigail covers stories from a Christian perspective on American politics and the news of the day. Before her role at the White House, Abigail covered Capitol Hill, where she interviewed notable lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. During her time on the Hill, Abigail loved highlighting how God is moving in the House and Senate by covering different ministries on Capitol Hill and sharing lawmakers’ testimonies and