Omar Tries To Defend Columbia Protesters, Backfires Immediately

( – On April 17, a large group of protestors at Columbia University in New York City (CUNY) set up an encampment on campus to oppose the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Columbia President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, who was testifying in front of Congress the next day, warned the students to go home or face consequences. They declined, and 108 protestors were arrested by the NYPD — one of which was a House representative’s daughter.

A few days later, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) posted about the incident on social media, claiming that the protest was “co-opted” by people who wanted to taint the group and make them “look bad so police and public leaders would shut them down.”

The legislator stated that the members of the Apartheid Divest coalition made their demands clear — the school must divest from any companies supporting Israel to protest the “genocide” happening in Gaza. Omar said “officials and media” trying to make the protest into “anything else” were on “inflaming the situation.”

The Minnesota rep was immediately hit with harsh feedback on social media, with some pointing out the antisemitism happening at the rally. One poster accused Omar of “inventing a conspiracy” to shift the blame, but it wouldn’t work because “everyone can see the truth.” Representative Anthony D-Esposito (R-NY) said nobody needs to go out of their way to make the protestors “look bad” because they were doing a fine job of that themselves. The NY lawmaker said there were lots of videos of the protestor’s antisemitism.

NY Governor Kathy Hochul (D) said students have the constitutional right to protest but not engage in “antisemitism,” threaten “Jewish students with violence,” or impede other students learning harassment and violence-free. New York City Mayor Adams (D) said he was “horrified and disgusted” by the hate “spewed” at CUNY.

Shafik stated all classes on the Monday following the arrests would be virtual to keep students safe while the university took extra steps to “address security concerns.”

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