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House Republicans criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar for downplaying anti-Jewish sentiment at Columbia University during a hearing on antisemitism. Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik initially testified that she had not seen any explicitly anti-Jewish protests on campus, sparking outrage. Rep. Elise Stefanik and committee Chair Rep. Virginia Foxx questioned Shafik further, leading to a concession that slogans like “F– the Jews” were indeed anti-Jewish. Rep. Brandon Williams also expressed disbelief at Columbia’s denial of antisemitism, despite clear evidence of discrimination on campus. Outside the hearing, protesters demanded entry, and back at Columbia, anti-Israel demonstrations escalated, with arrests made for refusing to comply with campus orders.

Foxx emphasized the importance of supporting Jewish students and fighting against antisemitism on campus. She hosted a group of Jewish students at the Capitol, where they detailed instances of discrimination, including verbal abuse, physical assaults, and vandalism. Many students feared reporting these incidents due to a lack of faith in the university to protect them. Yola Ashkenazi described the approval of clubs with anti-Zionist and antisemitic rhetoric, as well as hate rallies advocating violence and the eradication of the Jewish state. She recounted instances of physical confrontation and advice from campus safety officers to hide Jewish identity during tense situations. These stories underscored the ongoing challenges faced by Jewish students at Columbia, despite the university’s professed stance against antisemitism.

Jewish students like Eden Yadegar shared their experiences of isolation and fear on campus, further highlighting the need for action against antisemitism. Yadegar expressed hope that the hearing would prompt a shift in the university’s response to discrimination, emphasizing the resilience of the Jewish community in facing these challenges. While acknowledging the difficulties they have encountered, she maintained faith in the potential for change and urged the university leadership to align their actions with their anti-antisemitism rhetoric. Despite the ongoing struggles, Yadegar remained committed to participating in campus life and advocating for a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

The hearing illuminated the deep-seated issues of antisemitism at Columbia University, with House Republicans amplifying the voices of Jewish students and challenging the university’s handling of discrimination. The testimonies of students revealed a pattern of neglect and dismissal by the university administration, leading to a climate of fear and insecurity for Jewish students. As protests and tensions persist on campus, the calls for accountability and action grow stronger. The commitment of lawmakers like Rep. Foxx to stand with Jewish students and address antisemitism sends a powerful message, emphasizing the importance of solidarity and support in combating hatred and discrimination in educational institutions. The testimony and experiences shared underscore the urgency of addressing antisemitism and creating a safe and inclusive space for all students at Columbia University and beyond.

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