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Politics: Columbia President Minouche Shafik Allows Chaos And Antisemitism To

POLITICS: Columbia President Minouche Shafik allows chaos and antisemitism to rule — she must go

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Columbia University President Minouche Shafik must resign or be fired immediately.

She is a stain on our university system, on the city of New York and on the moral and cultural fabric of our society.

I am a lifetime New Yorker. 

I know the city as if it were a small village. 

I served as a member of the state Legislature. 

I served as borough president of Manhattan, and I served as City Council president.

I have spent the last week walking throughout the area of Columbia University.

What I have seen feels like a nightmare of unreality. 

Only someone who is functionally brain dead or a consummate liar can deny what is blazingly obvious: At the center of the “occupation” and “protest” is compulsively vicious Jew-baiting, Jew-hatred, anti-Americanism and hysterical insistence on Israel’s obliteration.

I could literally not walk five paces without seeing or hearing the most horrendous verbal and, in many instances, physical assaults on Jews, Judaism and Israel.

In particular, the hitherto inconceivable sentence “We Are Hamas!” was shouted so often, it was still echoing in my brain hours after I returned home. 

This point is of significance because it has become automatic to suggest every act against Hamas is actually an act against “Palestinians,” invariably women and children.

I have yet to see a single media report that comes to terms with this horrifying reality I witnessed — with one exception.

Only the New York Post has managed to give an accurate portrait of the particular nature of the hatred I saw.

There is no group — black, white, Hispanic, gay, lesbian, trans — I have ever observed being targeted in the city of New York as Jews have been targeted at Columbia, which for decades was the mecca of liberal, Jewish values and the landing spot for intelligent, learned Jews eager for a robust education in the humanities, arts or sciences.

The urgent need for President Shafik’s forced resignation or firing is supported by four pillars of reason.

1. Shafik cannot control her own campus. 

Without the successful, airtight management of this basic task, no university president can remain effective on the job for a single day.

2. Shafik cannot maintain, let alone guarantee, the safety and security of Columbia’s Jewish students. 

When Jewish students individually and collectively said they couldn’t function in the antisemitic atmosphere choking Columbia, Shafik’s response was to join with a top Columbia rabbi in telling all Jews to stay home and avoid a campus that was obviously going to be out of control for the foreseeable future. 

While it’s regrettable a rabbi would propose that Jews run and hide, it’s arguable the protection of Columbia’s vastly outnumbered Jews would be at the top of his wish list.

What is not in any way arguable (or defensible) is a university president placing running and hiding at the top of her priority list when, unlike the rabbi, she has the power — indeed the obligation — to sever each and every member of that student body and the faculty responsible for terrifying the minority Jewish student population. 

Not to have done so is a grotesque dereliction of duty.

3. Shafik’s utter paralysis in the face of the obvious need for a clear, unequivocal statement about the violation of university statutes, practices and rules renders her on this point alone unqualified to continue as president.

It is outrageous that any student or professor ignoring or contravening university policy on the expression of bigotry, racism and antisemitism would be permitted to remain on campus.

Instead of emptying the campus in favor of virtual learning, Shafik should have sent the agents of disruption and antisemitism packing.

4. Shafik’s complete failure to act immediately and decisively against any student, staff or faculty member who has openly expressed support for Hamas should have resulted in her immediate removal. 

I have always been a passionate supporter of free speech and the right to assembly, but freedoms have never been absolute either in universities or in the United States at large.

No one arguing for the immediate torture and incarceration of every person of color in America would or should survive intact for 30 seconds after making such a proposal, let alone be granted an open forum based on his or her “absolute” right to free speech.

Why for two millennia and beyond has the world been so uniquely uninterested in and insensitive to the universal plight of the Jews? 

Why is it that after millennia of this horrific prejudice Jews are still considered fair game by people in nearly every country in the world? 

That may be an unanswerable question. 

What is answerable is whether Columbia University’s president should remain in power after such undeniable and consummately abject failure in every major department of her responsibilities.

Andrew Stein, a Democrat, served as New York City Council president, 1986-94.

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