Why did Columbia University permit a virulently anti-Israel group to “demonstrate” next to a booth marking Holocaust Remembrance Day?
Members of a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) staged an an anti-Israel demonstration at Columbia University directly opposite a pro-Israel organization’s display raising awareness of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
According to Arutz Sheva, around 20 people demonstrated against Israel’s protection of its border with Gaza, focusing on the deaths of Palestinians, many of whom have been subsequently exposed as Hamas terrorists.
The protest’s Facebook event page made no mention of the Holocaust, a tragedy commemorated this week via Yom HaShoah events that honor the lives of those who perished.
In the midst of attempts to observe Yom HaShoah, the SJP demonstrators at Columbia chanted slogans like “Free Palestine, free” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a the latter of which revers to the desire to rid of Israel of the Jews.
The protest continued while the Jewish group, Students Supporting Israel, commemorated the Holocaust with printed survivor testimonies, memorial candles, and a large Israeli flag — a symbol of the Jewish people’s triumph over the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate them.
Aaron Maccabee, a Columbia junior and member of SSI, said that SJP timed a similar event on Holocaust Remembrance Day last year. That event featured the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s founder, Omar Barghouti, who was previously arrested for tax fraud.
“It’s offensive because they continue, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, to put on events and speakers that wish to destroy the Jewish state,” Maccabee told Aruz Sheva. “It’s really horrific to choose this day to bring this kind of hateful rhetoric into our campus.”