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Committee Calls on Columbia to Provide Documents in Antisemitism Investigation

WASHINGTON – Today, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to Columbia President Dr. Minouche Shafik, Columbia Trustees Co-Chair David Greenwald, Columbia Trustees Co-Chair Claire Shipman, Barnard College President Dr. Laura Rosenbury, and Barnard College Board of Trustees Chair Cheryl Glicker Milstein requesting documents and information regarding Columbia University’s response to antisemitism on its campus and its failure to protect Jewish students, faculty, and staff.

In the letter, Foxx writes:  

“There have been numerous incidents of antisemitic assaults, harassment, and vandalism at Columbia:

An Israeli Columbia student was beaten with a stick by a former Columbia undergraduate whom the victim had confronted about ripping down flyers of Israeli hostages. The assailant shouted, ‘Fuck you. Fuck all you prick crackers.’

At an Anti-Israel protest by Columbia’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), students chanted ‘from the river to the sea’ and held a ‘die-in.’ Following the rally, the crowd of protestors moved toward the university’s Kraft Center for Jewish Life, causing the building to be locked down and Jewish students to shelter inside.

Columbia suspended SJP and JVP on November 10, 2023, for numerous violations of university policy. This rendered them ineligible to hold events on campus. However, the university has repeatedly failed to enforce this decision and has allowed these groups and others to hold unauthorized antisemitic, anti-Israel events without consequence.

A Jewish Columbia undergraduate wearing a shirt with an Israeli flag on it was assaulted after leaving a pro-Israel counterprotest, being ‘slammed’ into and pinned against a building by an anti-Israel protester in a keffiyeh. After the Jewish student broke free and escaped, his assailant shouted, ‘[k]eep running, keep fucking running.’ 

Columbia Law School’s Student Senate denied recognition to a proposed student organization called Law Students Against Antisemitism. According to the Columbia Spectator, nine organizations have requested recognition this year, and Law Students Against Antisemitism has been the only one not to receive approval. 

A swastika was found drawn on a bathroom wall in Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs building.”
The letter continues:

“Numerous Columbia faculty have made antisemitic remarks and statements of support for Palestinian terrorism both prior to and after the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack. Some of the most egregious examples include:

Professor of Modern Arab Politics Joseph Massad … wrote an article for the website The Electronic Intifada lauding the ‘innovative Palestinian resistance’  and describing the attack with terms such as ‘astonishing,’ ‘awesome.’

Hamid Dabashi, Columbia’s Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature … wrote ‘[i]f you are a Zionist, you believe in a racist, apartheid state. Period.’”
Foxx concludes by requesting information and documents related to Columbia’s response to antisemitism on its campus by February 26, 2024, including:
  • All reports of antisemitic acts or incidents and related documents and communications since January 1, 2021;
  • Documents sufficient to show the findings and results of any disciplinary processes, changes in academic status, or personnel actions by Columbia toward Columbia students, faculty, staff, and other Columbia affiliates related to conduct involving the targeting of Jews, Israelis, Israel, Zionists, or Zionism since January 1, 2021; and
  • All documents and communications since January 1, 2021, referring and relating to antisemitism, involving the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, University Senate, and Columbia’s Board of Trustees. 
To read the full letter, click here.
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