On Monday, Columbia University Danny Danon, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN was invited to speak at Columbia University, sponsored by Columbia Students for Israel.
Ambassador Danny Danon is Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Chair of the UN’s Sixth Committee. He was appointed as Ambassador in October 2015 and has previously held senior positions in Israel’s Cabinet and the Knesset including Deputy Minister of Defense and Minister of Science, Technology, and Space.
Today’s Middle East is often portrayed in the media as a place filled with radicalism and conflict. Recently, there have been several controversial resolutions passed at the United Nations against Israel, which have sparked a variety of polarizing debates across the world. Ambassador Danny Danon gave a talk at Columbia University to share Israel’s accomplishments, position and struggles with the UN and international community.
Organizers were forced to slash the number of non-university attendees after school officials threatened to shut the event down, citing security concerns,.
The move effectively reduced the number of supporters of the Jewish state who will be able to attend the Monday lecture.
“We were originally asked to limit non-Columbia people to around 70, and to hand in a list of names for pre-approval,” Rudy Rochman, president of the Columbia chapter of grassroots activist group Students Supporting Israel (SSI), said. “Now we are left with maybe 10 non-university individuals, outside of the ambassador’s team, who we can invite.”
Event co-sponsor Victor Muslin co-sponsor of Columbia Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) — part of a national network engaged in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campuses — told The Algemeiner he was “disappointed” by the school’s decision to issue the strict cap of 20 non-university individuals permitted to attend the event. This number includes the ambassador’s security detail.
“This decision will affect a number of alumni who are entitled to attend,” Muslin said.
Rochman said the university’s decision came after he described a “war zone” atmosphere playing out on campus in the days before the scheduled speech. Rochman said school officials cited his “figurative language” when raising concerns about potential clashes flaring up between pro- and anti-Israel activists.
In a recent letter, obtained by The Algemeiner, Columbia ACF called on university officials to take steps to “live up to its commitment to free speech and student safety” after anti-Israel groups launched a campaign to protest Danon’s talk.
“Given the [protest] organizers’ inflammatory rhetoric, the recent violent protests at UC Berkeley and the history of anti-Israel groups disrupting events with high-level dignitaries, we wanted to ensure that this event will proceed without endangering anyone,” Muslin told The Algemeiner.
As The Algemeiner reported on Thursday, student groups at Columbia — such as the school’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and Columbia University Apartheid Divest — are planning a “Racists Not Welcome” protest against Danon’s speech.
Organizers have accused Danon of representing a country “born, like America, through savage ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants.” Israel, they wrote, “is a state that has besieged and bombed the Palestinian people since its inception. Their alliances are global, and ours must be too. We will beat the far-right, but we will only beat them if we turn up everywhere to fight them.”
Columbia SSI’s Rochman told The Algemeiner on Wednesday: “You can survive here if you stick to yourself and don’t express your opinions. If you stand up for Israel, you are viciously shamed, targeted and slandered by these terrorist sympathizers who call Hamas a ‘liberation organization.’ This is the life we activists live here on campus.”
Responding to the controversy surrounding his Columbia appearance, Danon told The Algemeiner he won’t be prevented from “speaking in any place, and at any time, on behalf of the world’s only Jewish state.”
However, anti-Israel groups were planning a protest to disrupt the event.
SO…there was an Emergency Rally For Israel :
Due to their pressure, Columbia administration imposed a last-minute restriction on the event’s attendance preventing many Israel supporters and other interested parties from hearing the ambassador’s speech.
Wait listed means …. NO ADMITTANCE !
Let us show the UN ambassador of the only Middle East democracy a warm welcome. Let us show our support to Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University – SSI Columbia who organized this event.
Let us send a message to the Columbia administration that the university’s responsibility is to protect and encourage free speech and civil discourse instead of restricting it.
And let us show anti-Israel hate groups that false and bigoted messages will not prevail. This is a non-partisan pro-Israel, pro free speech event!.
Flickr slide show:
What we saw outside (and others inside) was predictable. They did not fail to agitate. The SJP …. and others…. were there to SHUT DOWN Free Speech.
Video of BOTH sides – the confrontation outside Lerner
Saw them assemble to march at approx. 6:30 and then- as they began marching back and forth in front of Lerner Hall- they grew in numbers.
Glutting the sidewalk. Jamming egress for anyone just trying to walk by. And SHOUTING. CHANTING. Hateful. Nasty. Smug. Shrill.
Eventually the police brought more barricades- to clear the center of the public sidewalk. But, the noise pollution continued, unabated,
…. while other kuffeya-clad REGISTERED GUESTS continued to gain entry.
INSIDE- as predicted- was the shut Danon down phase two.
SHOUT and SHOUT and SHOUT so he can’t speak. not answer questions. after all- someone might hear the TRUTH. These fascist thugs can’t have that – EVER
And Columbia? Shame on you. SHAME SHAME SHAME
FROM LEFT: their Press release, video, and photos re the protest can be found at:
twitter https://twitter.com/ColumbiaSJP /