Students take on Jew-haters at Columbia University

By Seth Galinsky
December 25, 2023

The actions of so-called pro-Palestine groups worldwide who hail Hamas’ murderous Oct. 7 pogrom as “a new stage in the resistance against Zionism” have sparked a rise in Jew-hatred, highly visible on college campuses. Some university administrations have responded with encouragement for those groups, others with suppression of free speech. Columbia University officials here banned a Dec. 6 “teach-in” titled “Significance of the October 7th Palestinian Counteroffensive,” sponsored by Columbia Social Workers 4 Palestine.

Some Jewish students disagreed with the ban, saying people should hear for themselves the outrageous views the group promotes. In fact, the ban makes these groups look like victims and sets a precedent for campus officials banning any group they don’t like.

Organizers defied the ban and held the event in the School of Social Work lobby. Israeli Ariana Pinsker-Lehrer, above, a graduate student there, told the Times of Israel that she went to the event to ensure “these students were forced to hear the Jewish and Israeli voice.”

“To characterize the events of Oct. 7 as a counteroffensive where my people were killed and maimed and yes, raped,” she told the group when she took the floor, “as anything else but terrorism and a massacre is unacceptable.”

Pinsker-Lehrer has been active inside Israel in support of Palestinian rights. “I want Israel to be a better country,” she noted, but “you guys think that you have some right to decide whether Israel has a right to exist or not.”

“There are 14 million people ‘between the river and the sea,’” she said, referring to the Jews, Muslims, Christians and others who live in Israel and the Palestinian territories, “and none of them are going anywhere. We need to find a solution that involves all of them and that is not what you are doing.” Her intervention in the meeting — which got some applause — highlights the opportunities to take on the Jew-haters and defend the right of Israel to exist as a refuge for Jews.