RELEASE: Gottheimer, Goldman, Moskowitz, and Manning Stand with Jewish Students at Columbia University

Walk through campus with Jewish students. Urge university administrators — at Columbia and nationwide — to take more action against targeting and harassment of Jewish students.

Apr 22, 2024
Press

Above: Gottheimer, Goldman, Moskowitz, and Manning walking through Columbia University campus.

NEW YORK, NY — Today, Tuesday, April 22, 2024, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Dan Goldman (NY-10), Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), and Kathy Manning (NC-6) walked through Columbia University campus and visited the protest encampments. Together, the members called upon Columbia leadership, including President Minouche Shafik, to take stronger action to protect Jewish students on Columbia’s campus.

Video of the event can be found here.

Video of the members walking through Columbia University campus can be found here.

Last week, protesters, including several individuals not affiliated with Columbia University, set up an encampment on Columbia’s campus. Since then, Jewish students have been verbally targeted and harassed. 

Examples of antisemitism on Columbia’s campus include:

  • A masked protester shouting, “we are Hamas. We’re all Hamas.” 
  • Masked protesters shouted, “never forget the 7th of October…that will happen not one more time…not one thousand more times, but ten thousand more times.” 
  • According to Chabad at Columbia, protesters have directly targeted and verbally harassed Jewish students. They’ve said things like, “go back to Europe,” “all you do is colonize,” and “stop killing children.” 
  • A Columbia student was reportedly assaulted for wearing a kippah.
  • The protests have gotten so dangerous that the Rabbi who leads Columbia’s Jewish Learning Initiative recommended that students stay away from campus for their own safety.   

“Just feet from here, Jewish students are being verbally — and even physically — assaulted. Masked protesters are cheering on and actively calling for the genocide of Jews. Imagine trying to study for finals at Columbia, while people outside the library are calling for your death,” said U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “To the administrators at Columbia and beyond, here are our demands: stop the double talk, and start acting. Discipline harassers. Restore civility on this campus. Encourage peaceful, constructive, civil dialogue. Every student has a right to be safe on campus.”

The protests follow the testimony of President Shafik and senior administrators before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week. In her written testimony, President Shafik said, “Antisemitism is antithetical to Columbia’s mission, goals, values, and teachings.” She also indicated several steps that Columbia was taking to encourage peaceful dialogue on campus, a stark contrast from these violent, destructive protests.

Antisemitism is pervasive on America’s college campuses. This month, the ADL released its annual report card, grading antisemitism on our nation’s college campuses. The Ivy League doesn’t even carry a 2.0 GPA: six universities, including Columbia University, received a D, and Harvard University received an F. Jewish students have reported several concerning incidents of antisemitism on their campuses, including at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey’s state flagship university.

Below: Gottheimer, Goldman, Moskowitz, and Manning call on Columbia leadership to ensure the safety of Jewish students.

Gottheimer’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below: 

Good afternoon and Azizen Pesach. Thank you for joining us this afternoon at Columbia University.

May 1st is National College Decision Day. Students and their families have a lot of factors to weigh: cost, academic programs, location. For so many Jewish students and their parents across the country — including those lucky enough to be accepted to Columbia — add to that list, whether as a Jew, they’ll even be safe or welcomed on campus. 

This month, the ADL released its annual report card, grading antisemitism on our nation’s college campuses. The Ivy League doesn’t even carry a 2.0 GPA: six universities, including Columbia, received a D, and Harvard flunked out. Jewish students on each of these campuses are reporting disturbing instances of harassment.

Yet, even with those failing grades, the protests here at Columbia are a new low – and something that I never thought I’d see with my own eyes. We just saw it first-hand, as we walked past the encampments on the University’s main lawn full of protesters spewing incendiary antisemitic-hate and vitriol.  Many aren’t even Columbia students.

Their campaign of intimidation is sickening and shocking – and, as the White House said yesterday, echoes the rhetoric of Hamas terrorists. According to reports, a masked protester shouted, “we are Hamas. We’re all Hamas.” A group of thugs screamed, “never forget the 7th of October…that will happen not one more time…not one thousand more times, but ten thousand more times.” These protesters are reveling in the brutal murder and torture of thousands of Jews, including Americans — the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. They’re carrying water for the barbaric terrorists who have blood on their hands.

And, that’s just the beginning. According to Chabad at Columbia, protesters have directly targeted and verbally harassed Jewish students. They’ve said things like, “go back to Europe” “all you do is colonize,” and “stop killing children.” We even saw reports that a Columbia student was assaulted for wearing a kippah. The antisemitism is acute and pervasive — so much so that Columbia’s own Rabbi Buechler recommended that Jewish students stay away from campus for their own safety.  

Well, we are standing here today, as four Jewish Members of Congress, to make one thing clear: Jewish students are welcome here. And while the leadership at Columbia may be failing you, we will not– and we will do everything in our power to keep you safe and always feel welcome. Or Columbia University will pay the price.  

Just last week, Columbia President Minouche Shafik and senior administrators testified before the House, assuring lawmakers that they would stand against antisemitism, saying “antisemitism is antithetical to Columbia’s mission, goals, values, and teachings. It has no place on our campus.” 

Really? Toothless condemnations from administrators aren’t going to stop the anarchy we’re seeing. We need deeds, not words. It’s time for real leadership.

Let me be crystal clear: the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and assembly, not freedom to harass and intimidate students for just being Jewish. No Jewish student should have to worry that wearing their kippah on campus will make him a target, nor a Muslim student with her hijab or a Christian student with her cross. 

Colleges have a legal obligation, under Title VI, to provide all students, including Jews and Muslims, a school environment free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, or national origin. 

Yet, just feet from here, Jewish students are being verbally — and even physically — assaulted. Masked protesters are cheering on and actively calling for the genocide of Jews. Imagine trying to study for finals at Columbia, while people outside the library are calling for your death. 

To the administrators at Columbia and beyond, here are our demands: stop the double talk, and start acting. Discipline harassers. Restore civility on this campus. Encourage peaceful, constructive, civil dialogue. 

If we stand united against hate, here in the greatest country in the world, I know that our best days will be ahead of us. Azizen Pesach, thank you, and God bless you. 

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