Columbia president wrong on protests, says Jewish professor

Prof Davidai, a self-confessed “Lefty liberal” who favours a two-state solution in the Middle East, said he did not have a personal grievance with Lady Shafik. However, he said she should have immediately condemned the statement.

“At least at Columbia, Hamas won,” he said. “Hamas won because no one at Columbia had stood up and said no Hamas on campus.”

In a video statement issued on Friday, Lady Shafik explained her decisions but did not apologise for the way the university had handled the protests.

She said Columbia had engaged in good faith with demonstrators, but they crossed a line when they occupied a hall on the campus on Tuesday. Police were called in to clear it out.

“It was a violent act that put our students at risk, as well as putting the protesters at risk,” she said. “I walked through the building and saw the damage, which was distressing.”

In October, Lady Shafik continued, she set up a task force “with the purpose of addressing the root causes behind the antisemitic incidents at our University”. Columbia also reached out to those directly affected by the Oct 7 attack, she added.

A spokesman for Columbia pointed The Telegraph to a statement given by Lady Shafik last month, in which she said: “Anti-Semitism is antithetical to Columbia’s mission, goals, values, and teachings.

“It has no place on our campus, and I am committed to doing everything that I can to confront it directly. It is distressing that some in our community have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with our values.”

‘Students indoctrinated by pro-Hamas academics’

Prof Davidai argued that students had been indoctrinated by pro-Hamas academics, who sent them out to protest like “generals” directing “footsoldiers”.

He said: “One thing that is really angering to me is to see these professors for six months telling students to become more and more violent and telling them ‘you should take over a building’.

“But when the time came to get arrested the professors were not there… they were very happy to be in their four or five-bedroom apartments.”

Two Columbia professors are under investigation for alleged “discriminatory remarks”. Another has been sacked for writing on social media: “I’m with Hamas & Hezbollah & Islamic Jihad.”

Prof Davidai went on to accuse Columbia of “appeasing” terrorism by negotiating with students who demanded it sell its stake in businesses that allegedly fund or profit from Israel’s military action.

Analysis by the New York Times notes that this accounts for less than 0.1 per cent of Columbia’s $13.6bn endowment. Columbia University has been approached for comment.

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