Columbia University Takes Big Action Against Anti-Israel Protesters

Columbia University in New York, at the forefront of anti-Israel protests sweeping across US college campuses, began suspending student demonstrators who disobeyed orders to disperse. These protests, sparked by Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza, have occasionally involved antisemitic actions and intimidation of Jewish students.

The university authorities issued a deadline for the clearing of protest encampments, which had been repeatedly postponed but was openly defied. Photos shared by the local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine depicted printed ultimatums with threatening messages.

Despite warnings, students vowed to remain until their demands were met or they were forcibly removed. Columbia’s Vice President of Communications, Ben Chang, announced the initiation of student suspensions as part of efforts to ensure campus safety.

However, at the University of Texas at Austin, police clashed with protesters, resulting in numerous arrests and the dismantling of encampments. Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a zero-tolerance policy towards encampments, advocating for arrests instead.

These protests have posed a challenge for university administrators balancing free speech rights with concerns about antisemitism and hate. Demands from protesters include divestment from Israel, financial transparency at Columbia, and amnesty for disciplined students and faculty.

Also read: Israel Hamas Conflict: Palestinian Flag Hoisted At Harvard As Protests Intensify At US Universities

Videos of police interventions at various colleges have drawn comparisons to past protest movements, notably the Vietnam War era.

Meanwhile, on April 29, the anti-Israel protesters raising slogans and creating ruckus have been detained by the police officials. Originating from Columbia University, these demonstrations rapidly spread nationwide.

At Harvard University, protesters hoisted a Palestinian flag in a location typically reserved for the US flag. Similarly, a sizable Palestinian flag was displayed from a top-floor window at the Washington Hilton Hotel, the site of the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Police apprehended 275 individuals across four campuses, notably 100 at Northeastern University, 80 at Washington University in St Louis, 72 at Arizona State University, and 23 at Indiana University.