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Watch: Rapper Matisyahu Performs at Columbia University to Unite Jewish Students Amid Campus Antisemitism

Matisyahu performs at Pompano Beach Amphitheater Pompano Beach, Florida on August 26, 2023. Photo: Rick Munroe/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Grammy-nominated Jewish singer-songwriter Matisyahu performed a live concert at Columbia University on Monday night that was broadcast live to help bring Jewish students together amid a rise in antisemitism on college campuses across the US.

The reggae singer and rapper performed the song Am Israel Chai, as well as some of his most popular songs including Live Like a Warrior, One Day, Temple, Jerusalem, Vow of Silence, and his new single Fireproof. He also invited his son on stage to perform a new song he released called Serenity.

Matisyahu said before the free, live-streamed concert that he has felt more connected to the Jewish community since the deadly Hamas massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, when more than 1,200 people were killed and 240 others were taken as hostages.

“The most challenging thing that I guess I’m dealing with right now, which I think a lot of people are dealing with, is the feeling of being alone. Being singled out or this feeling of being misunderstood. But not just in some kind of smaller way. Like in a way where our lives are at stake,” he told Israel’s former special envoy for combating antisemitism, Noa Tishby, in a pre-recorded video interview that played before the concert started.

“It’s sort of like a bit of a contradiction … But the thing that feels the most inspiring is the feeling of being connected to our people, which is unbelievable and miraculous,” he added. “It’s sort of a feeling both at the same time. It’s a confusing time, I think, for a lot of Jews.”

Matisyahu volunteered to perform for Columbia students and explained to Tishby that he wanted to help “be of service” to Jewish students on campus by uniting people through music.

“Always, when there’s opposition to my being, to who I am — which at the kernel of it is being Jewish — whenever I’ve felt that, somehow some instinctive reaction inside of me goes on the offensive and I put everything that I have in my all my soul, my energy and my heart into what I’m doing into my music,” the King Without a Crown singer said.

“Really, what is it that I can really be of service to people? And I think that’s in creating music and playing shows for people right now,” he added. “Especially for my Jews, for my fellow people, brothers and sisters. So immediately when I saw what’s happening on campuses, I felt like somehow connected to that and that I needed to be a part of it.”

College campuses, including Columbia, have been a major hub of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas activism following the Hamas atrocities on Oct. 7. Campuses have also seen a surge in antisemitic incidents over the past five weeks.

The concert was sponsored by Columbia University’s Israel on Campus Coalition and took place shortly after the Ivy League school announced the formation of an antisemitism task force to help address the “ancient, but terribly resilient, form of hatred” and the rise of antisemitic incidents on campus since the Oct. 7 attack.

Tishby addressed students tuning in to the concert and spoke about the history of antisemitism and the need to persevere.

“What we need to remember is at the end of the day, we always prevail. There is no other option. This makes us stronger and more united,” she said, adding that in the face of adversity, the Jewish community needs to be “more loud, more proud, more united, smarter, more rooted in our tradition and culture and proud to be who we are. Because if everybody else is proud of their identity, why have we not been proud of our identity?”

Columbia, located in New York City, has become a center of anti-Israel protests, leading the school to suspend two anti-Israel campus groups — Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace — through the end of the fall term for violating school policies.

“This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated university policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” the chair of Columbia’s Special Committee on Campus Safety said in a statement on Friday. “Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with university policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with university officials.”

Watch Matisyahu perform for Columbia students in the video below.

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Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta

Illustrative. Anti-Israel protesters demonstrate outside AIPAC President Michael Tuchin’s vacation home in Los Angeles, Nov. 23, 2023. Photo: Screenshot

i24 NewsA protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.

A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.

JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.

The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.

The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a…

— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023

“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.

Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”

“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”

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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed

Relatives and supporters of hostages kidnapped on the deadly October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, rally for their release, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ended when the terrorist group broke it, in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.

Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.

“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”

Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.

A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.

Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.

More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.

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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist

Illustrative. Palestinian attacker near Nablus hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at a riot in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, May 5, 2017. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

i24 NewsThe Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.

According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.

During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.

ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.

הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו.

— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023

The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.

It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.

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