Jewish Columbia students pen powerful open letter to anti-Israel protesters: ‘We can repair our campus’

Jewish students at Columbia University penned a powerful open letter to the anti-Israel protesters who “demonize” them — saying it’s “never too late” to repair “political and religious divides.”

The letter — signed by greater than 250 students — mentioned they by no means needed to be political activists, however have been pressured into the function by these “who demonize us under the cloak of anti-Zionism.”

“We do not bang on drums and chant catchy slogans,” the letter learn. “We are average students, just trying to make it through finals much like the rest of you.

Protestors in support of Israel gather neaar a pro-Palestinian encampment on the lawn of Columbia University after a deadline was issued on Monday, April 29, 2024 in New York.
A group of Jewish students signed an open letter to the Columbia community defending their pro-Israel beliefs. James Keivom
Pro-Israel protestors gather at a pro-Palestinian encampment on the lawn of Columbia University on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in New Yorl.
The letter was signed by more than 250 students and said it’s never too late to repair the deeply fractured student body. James Keivom

“If the last six months on campus have taught us anything, it is that a large and vocal population of the Columbia community does not understand the meaning of Zionism, and subsequently does not understand the essence of the Jewish People,” the letter continued.

“Yet despite the fact that we have been calling out the antisemitism we’ve been experiencing for months, our concerns have been brushed off and invalidated.”

Despite the strife — which at Columbia has included weeks of anti-Israel protests that got here to a harmful head when rioters barricaded themselves inside Hamilton Hall — the students mentioned it’s “never too late to start repairing the fractures and begin developing meaningful relationships across political and religious divides.”

“Our tradition tells us, ‘Love peace and pursue peace,’” the letter learn. “We hope you will join us in earnestly pursuing peace, truth, and empathy. Together we can repair our campus.”

Columbia has been a hotbed of pro-Palestine demonstrations in current weeks — a lot in order that the NYPD had to go in final week and filter the large tent encampment and root out protesters who occupied historic Hamilton Hall.

The pupil letter highlighted numerous antisemitic incidents that allegedly stemmed from these protests — which finally led the college to cancel its spring university-wide graduation.

People gather at a pro-Palestinian encampment on the lawn of Columbia University on Saturday, April 27, 2024 in New York.
Israel invaded Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault, which killed greater than a thousand folks. James Keivom
Elisha (Lishi) Baker was with his friend David Lederer, both Columbia Jewish students, when he was kicked in the stomach and told to 'kill himself' for carrying American flag at pro-Palestine rally outside The New York Stock Exchange, pictured outside Columbia University, on April 17.
Elisha (Lishi) Baker was together with his good friend David Lederer, each Columbia Jewish students, when he was kicked within the abdomen and advised to ‘kill himself’ for carrying American flag at pro-Palestine rally exterior The New York Stock Exchange, pictured exterior Columbia University, on April 17. Paige Kahn/NY Post

Jewish students felt “helpless” once they noticed students and school block them from coming into shared parts of the campus, the letter mentioned.

“We know all too well that antisemitism is shapeshifting,” the letter learn. “The silence is familiar. We will never forget.”

“One thing is for sure. We will not stop standing up for ourselves,” it continued. “We are proud to be Jews, and we are proud to be Zionists.”

But although the students wrote that they help Israel — and that Zionism is inseparable from the Jewish id — all of them have totally different visions for what the Middle East’s solely democracy ought to appear like.

Pro-Israel protestors gather during demonstrations outside Columbia University on Thursday, April 25, 2024 in New York.
Protests at Columbia have been significantly loud, with students taking up the South Lawn for weeks. James Keivom

“Our love for Israel does not necessitate blind political conformity. It’s quite the opposite,” the letter mentioned.

“Israeli political disagreement is an inherently Zionist activity … all it takes are a couple of coffee chats with us to realize that our visions for Israel differ dramatically from one another.”

“Yet we all come from a place of love and an aspiration for a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

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