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Rep. Goldman rips Columbia over Gaza campus protests, ‘ongoing anti-Semitism, hate speech, threats’

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Congressmember Dan Goldman on Monday toured Columbia University with fellow Democrat Congressmembers Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kathy Manning of North Carolina and Jared Moskowitz of Florida. Afterward, he decried what he called “ongoing anti-Semitism” at the elite Ivy League school amid the Israel-Hamas War.

“I was deflated and disheartened to learn of the fear, insecurity and suffering that Jewish students at Columbia University are experiencing from hateful, anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation on campus,” said Goldman, who represents District 10, covering Manhattan roughly south of 14th Street and part of Brooklyn.

Last week, police arrested around 100 Columbia students after they refused orders to vacate an anti-Israel tent city — dubbed the Gaza Solidarity Encampment — that sprung up on campus the day after school President Minouche Shafik testified before Congress about on-campus anti-Semitism.

The protesters are demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza War. Israel, though, is bent on eradicating Hamas, the terrorist group behind the savage Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw 250 others kidnapped.

“While everyone has a right to free speech, this is not a First Amendment issue,” Goldman said. “Under the law, academic institutions have a greater obligation to ensure the safety and security of all of their students. Columbia has a proud history of peaceful protests, but it is simply unacceptable for the administration to permit the type of hate speech and threats of violence that Jewish students told me they have been subjected to recently.

Pro-Palestinian protesters filled the area around the entrance to Columbia’s campus. (Photo by Paul DiRienzo)

“I was encouraged by President Shafik’s statement this morning reiterating the school’s policies and code of conduct to make campus safe,” Goldman continued. “But policies are only as effective as their enforcement, and Columbia must do much more to enforce its policies.

“As my family and Jews at Columbia and around the world prepare to observe Passover — a holiday that commemorates the perseverance and resilience of the Jewish people — I call on Columbia and academic institutions around the country to stand up to hate and harassment by ensuring the safety and security of all students, including, if necessary, with law enforcement assistance.”

The politicians said Jewish students feel intimidated just trying to go to their classes. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

Goldman said the Morningside Heights campus still had a “massive encampment of tents and other students who seemed to be camped out.” He said protesters have been “burning Israeli flags, calling for the bombing of Tel Aviv and calling for Oct. 7 over and over again” — acts he decried as “unacceptable.”

The freshman pol also called unacceptable Columbia having to take the step Monday of canceling classes and making them virtual due to the escalating situation on campus.

He added that President Shafik declaring that “outside agitators” are not welcome was “a good first step” toward reestablishing safety on campus.

Columbia has suspended a number of protesters, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of “Squad” Congressmember Ilhan Omar. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

As for the tent encampment — and whether Columbia will allow it to stay — he asserted, “There is no right to a specific place to make a statement or for free speech. There are reasonable time, place and manner restrictions under the First Amendment that must be adhered to.”

Congressmember Gottheiemer, in his remarks, condemned reports of protesters shouting slogans like “We are Hamas! We’re all Hamas!”

“How awful is it for Israeli students to see Israeli flags burned,” he said. “We can have discourse. We can have disagreement. But we cannot have harassment and violence.”

He added that colleges are required to protect students from such harassment under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which requires schools to be free from discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

“Imagine trying to study for finals when people right outside your window are calling for your death,” he said.

Anti-Israel protesters have been making a stand at the campus entrance. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

Representative Manning noted that she sits on the congressional committee before which Shafik testified about anti-Semitism at Columbia.

“Sadly, since that hearing,” she said, “the protests have become more extreme, more hostile, more threatening — with violently anti-Semitic chants. Jewish students who are trying to study or get to class are targeted, intimidated and harassed.”

Manning said Columbia must deal with students who cross the line in their protests, “including removal, suspension and expulsion, if necessary,” adding, “Outside agitators must be removed.”

Congressmember Moskowitz assailed what he called a “double standard” being allowed to play out on Columbia’s campus.

“We’ve seen this show before…the double standard,” he said. “You know…deep down — if this was any minority group, this wouldn’t be happening. This wouldn’t have gotten this far. But because it’s Jews… . We fall into this category…we’re not protected. That’s why anti-Semitism is on the rise.”

The White House also issued a statement condemning the ongoing anti-Israel protests at Columbia.

However, radical attorney Stanley Cohen, who got kicked out of Columbia 50 years ago for protesting the Vietnam War, counters that free speech, “no matter how unpopular it may be, is the essence of academia.” Cohen, who has represented Hamas and Hezbollah members, is representing four students who participated in a pro-Palestinian “Resistance 101” campus event who have been suspended.

A pro-Palestinian encampment has taken root at New York University’s Gould Plaza, outside its Stern School of Business. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian tent encampments have popped up at other colleges and universities around the country, including locally at New York University, on Gould Plaza on W. Fourth Street, and at New School University, at 13th Street and Fifth Avenue.

One local reported hearing a helicopter hovering over the area around Gould Plaza, just a bit southeast of Washington Square Park.

Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance and a former member of Community Board 2, noted a twist with the occupation of the Gould site. Namely, he said, late C.B. 2 zoning maven Doris Diether once explained to him that the site is designated for public use. This is the reverse of the situation at Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, which is privately owned and was where Occupy Wall Street pitched its tents in 2011 until being evicted after 59 days.

“Everyone assumes that is N.Y.U. property,” Sweeney said. “However, to the best of my knowledge, it is public property. Doris Diether told me that, in order to build Bobst Library, N.Y.U. ceded Gould Plaza as public space. So, wily N.Y.U., raised up the plaza and elevated it several steps to give the impression that it is their property. It is not. It is public space.

“So,” Sweeney said, “the Gaza protestors are not on N.Y.U. land and N.Y.U. cannot evict them, to the best of my knowledge.”


  1. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg April 23, 2024

    “calling for the bombing of Tel Aviv,” Dan Goldman? Did you hear this yourself?

  2. Robert Lederman Robert Lederman April 23, 2024

    The issue of the protestors being arrested is a red herring. The purpose of the protest is to get as many protestors arrested as possible so as to make headlines featuring their political views. Blocking traffic and building entrances is intended to guarantee arrests. These tragically woke students, brainwashed by internet memes and far-left college professors, some of whom are on the payrolls of terrorist groups, would not survive a day under the rule of Hamas or that of most Muslim-controlled governments. The leaders of Hamas are laughing behind their keffiyehs at just how stupid American college students are for their ignorant support of terrorists who hate women, gays, transexuals, Jews, Christians and all Americans.

    • AbeBehemoth AbeBehemoth April 23, 2024


    • redbike redbike April 27, 2024

      I have no sympathy with pro-Hamas demonstrators. Indeed, I see little-to-no daylight between them and the Charlottesville VA tiki-torch-toting marchers – some of whom were jailed / many of whom lost their jobs.

      But “…far-left college professors, some of whom are on the payrolls of terrorist groups…” is a claim unsupported by any facts. Do you have any – you know – facts to support your claim?

  3. Wes Green Wes Green April 22, 2024

    Thank you, congressmen! AIPAC will show their appreciation.

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