MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The campus of Columbia University was divided Thursday night. On one side of the main campus’s lawn was a demonstration of pro-Palestinian students demanding freedom. On the other were pro-Israeli students, praying, singing, and mourning.
Students in solidarity with Israel said they were stunned to see so many students show support for Palestine.
“I really never thought I’d see a day like this on campus,” said Columbia student Daniel Garren, who supports Israel.
“I think most of all, it is just so, so disappointing,” said Sophie Samuels, who recently graduated from Columbia but came back to show support for Israel at the rally. “I don’t think there are two sides. What happened was a horrible, disgusting terrorist attack.”
“It doesn’t feel like the campus we knew and we loved,” said Jackie Tokayer, also a recent graduate supporting Israel. “It feels very hateful.”
The Palestinian protestors held signs and chanted calls for freedom. None would speak to PIX11 News on camera, but a recent statement posted on the Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine Facebook group reads, in part:
“Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine stands in full solidarity with Palestinian resistance against over 75 years of Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid.”
A Columbia professor who teaches conflict negotiation was among the pro-Israel supporters and believes it’s possible to support Palestine while still denouncing Hamas.
“I think you can be pro-Palestine and pro-Israel,” said Shai Davidai. “But this is a crime against humanity. And the fact that they’re allowed to chant and sing and be happy about Saturday’s events, that is horrible.”
PIX11 News reached out to Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine for a statement and is waiting to hear back.