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Columbia University Shutters Campus as Jews Fear for Safety, Critics Call for President to Resign

Anti-Zionist protesters at Columbia University on April 18, 2024. Photo: Melissa Bender/Reuters Connect

An explosion of anti-Israel demonstrations at Columbia University in New York City continued throughout the weekend and into Monday, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, prompting the administration to shutter the campus and institute “virtual” learning.

“To deescalate rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Columbia University president Minouche Shafik said in a statement announcing the measure, the first of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic. “Faculty and staff who can work remotely should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university policy. Our preference is that students who do not live on campus will come to campus.”

All weekend, footage of Columbia students — who commandeered a section of campus and named it “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” — chanted in support of the Hamas terrorist group, called for the destruction of Israel, and even threatened to harm members of the Jewish community on campus.

“This unsanctioned mob of students and agitators being permitted to continue to target Jewish students has led to several documented incidents of despicable antisemitic harassment and calls for violence and terrorism,” all 10 New York Republican members of the US House of Representatives said in a letter to Shafik on Monday. “It is time for Columbia University to turn the page on this shameful chapter. This can only be done through the restoration of order and your prompt resignation. We, the undersigned members, urge you to step down immediately so that someone who will take action against this mob can step up to meet the moment this crisis demands.”

Amid the chaos at Columbia, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety.

Some members of the Columbia community expressed regret that their fears of students becoming vocal proponents of terrorism and subversion have been proven true.

“One thing that I’ve been telling people is that the truth is not up for election; its revelation is not dependent on popular vote,” Columbia University professor Shai Davidai, who is under investigation by the school after publicly commenting on the presence of pro-Hamas supporters on campus, told The Algemeiner on Monday. “Right now, we have a pro-Hamas, pro-Islamic Jihad mob still on campus and buried deep in the encampment, and you have pro-Hamas professors, and above all, you have the administration negotiating with them.”

Columbia University exploded into a welter of anti-Israel protests on Wednesday while Shafik was in Washington, DC testifying before the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce about antisemitism on the New York campus, where law enforcement had to be called to pacify the ongoing demonstrations on Thursday.

The situation was so severe that security officials deactivated Davidai’s identification card and temporarily banned him from campus because his safety could not be “guaranteed,” a measure which that could reflect the administration’s suspicion that its students, as well as the non-students they have attracted to campus, may resort to violence to make their point.

“Terrorism is wrong; rape is not a means to an end,” Davidai continued, referring to the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists during their Oct. 7 invasion of Israel.. “Yes, you have the right to freedom of speech, to shout your hatred for America, but that shows bad character and it’s very sad to see exactly that happening at Columbia.”

Rabbi Erez Sherman of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles told The Algemeiner that the demonstrations at Columbia reflected the degree to which antisemitism has achieved respectability. Over the weekend, he and 200 0ther faith leaders issued an open letter expressing support for Jewish students and faculty.

“As we witness antisemitism and Jewish hate becoming normative, it is powerful to witness the unity of rabbis, pastors, and faith leaders across the theological divides stand together for what is right and what is good,” Sherman said.

Convulsions of anti-Israel activity continued at Columbia throughout Monday. In the afternoon, anti-Zionist faculty at the school, as well its affiliate Barnard College, staged a walkout in support of the pro-Hamas demonstrations. According to an open letter published in the Columbia Spectator, virtually all of them are nontenured.

“We are working to overturn the student suspensions that have been issued and to ensure that administrators are not allowed to summon the NYPD [New York City Police Department] on a whim, when there is self-evidently no danger,” the group said. “Most of all we want you to feel at home here.”

NYPD officers arrested dozens of demonstrators last week for staging a riotous and unauthorized demonstration in which students, as well as non-students, declared solidarity with Hamas and called for the destruction of Israel. Video circulated on social media over the weekend showing some of the demonstrators harassing, intimidating, and threatening Jewish students.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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