Columbia Palestine Forum Created

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The Columbia Palestine Forum
, a group of Columbians supporting “the rights of Palestinians to education and self-determination,” launched today. The Forum is joining the ranks of similar organizations at University of Rochester, NYU (we know all about that one), Hampshire and various universities across the United Kingdom in demanding, among other things, that Columbia release a statement defending the “academic freedoms of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.” 

In its mission of intent, the Forum also demands that the University disclose its budget, have an open forum for dealing with its corporations and investments, partner with a Palestinian university in order to provide academic aid, grant a certain number of scholarships to allow Palestinian students to attend Columbia, and explicitly support the right for the self-determination and education of Palestinians. If these sound similar to the Take Back NYU! demands, that’s because they are.

The forum is holding a teach-in on Wednesday evening at 7 in Hamilton 516, featuring some of your favorite outspoken professors: Bruce Robbins, Mahmood Mamdani, Gil Anidjar, Brinkley Messick, speaking about the University’s responsibility in terms of Palestinian support and academic freedom.


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  1. aren't  

    those the same list of demands/platform of the NYU building-stormers?

  2. anon  

    what a bunch of jerkoffs.

  3. of all the things  

    the palestinians need, isn't academic freedom pretty low on the list? how about some security, jobs, not getting bombed - you know, that sort of thing.

  4. anon  

    Are we to expect Lerner to be taken over in the coming days? Or perhaps they will try to take over the Kraft Hillel building as in Canada

  5. holy crap  

    if these people start taking over buildings, I will spray them with mace myself.

    have your dialogue...but don't force the rest of us to listen to you make arguments about fiscal transparency.

  6. yo yo  

    bwog please get flex fixed!

  7. ...........  

    Why so much fucking hostility? Do you want Columbia investing your tuition in companies aiding apartheid? Even if you don't feel a responsibility to stand up to the morally void investment practices that occur at universities, why do you take it upon yourself to actively speak out against those who do? Are you really that callous, or just ignorant as fuck?

    Maybe you should learn about the incredible work that's been done by SJP at campuses across the US to see how students have risked their futures to get campuses to divest from companies like Motorola and Caterpillar before you condemn them as "jerkoffs."

    • Faux-Radical

      Well, it seems like you are "aiding" apartheid given that you are using a computer that likely has a Pentium Processor (developed by those evil, baby-killing Jews in Israel).
      Your cell phone was also developed in Israel, as was the technology for Instant Messenger (sorry, you can't communicate with your fellow terrorist sympathizers either!)

    • anon

      Puh-leaze. I would certainly want to have Columbia investigate investments in Apartheid governments. But Israel is manifestly not an Apartheid regime.

      Don't be a sheeple and go along with the "rebellious, counter-culture, anti-Israel propaganda" just because all the "cool" kids are doing it. Grow up.

    • yeah  

      so way to respond with a bunch of "fucking hostility." these activists are so angry-- it's really alienating. especially because you know how disconnected they are from the real situation. there's way more students who are actually from israel at Columbia, and you don't see them acting in the same way.

      and #15 and #19 (who are totally the same person, even though they creepily don't show up under the same IP address, indicating that they moved from one computer to another to trick us) needs to develop a sense of sarcasm. because their straw man argument is flapping in the breeze.

  8. Reason  

    Look, I feel bad for the Palestinians, I really do, but these idiots' demand for Palestinian academic freedom is beyond disingenuous. It's a complete farce. Israel attacked the Islamic University in Gaza only because Hamas terrorists were using it to store and fire missiles into Israel. That's why Israel didn't hit any of the other universities in Gaza.

    Furthermore, this whole Palestinian student scholarship shit is absurd. How about scholarships for students from war-torn African countries? How about scholarships for American students living in crime-ridden inner cities? What about scholarships for Asian students living in total poverty?

    Lastly, if they're serious about boycotting Israel, they should probably turn off their computers and stop using text messaging. Here's a link to help them:

    These students have too much time on their hands, and these professors should know better than to take part such infantile protests. If they decide to occupy any buildings, I will demand they be expelled.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you #8. Another short-sighed pro-Palestinian group that again chooses to portray these people as the most victimized on Earth, forgetting, as you rightfully point out, those in our own country and in even more dire circumstances. Let them have their little teach-in, it will do no good anyways.

      • Yeah!!!!!!!!!!  

        Yeah, MHer, you're absolutely right, fuck the Palestinians! All these anonymous, aggressively pro-Israel posts have convinced me it's time to give up my faux radical, chai sipping ways and donate money to Israel so that they can go bomb some more shit. Fuck yeah!

  9. ...........  

    There's a BIG difference between boycotting investment in medical advances and companies that make the fusers used in the bombs that shelled Gaza.

    And the U.S. invests $10 million a day in Israel, so maybe that's why people feel like we as Americans have a more pertinent interest in helping Palestinian refugees.

    I just can't comprehend that you would accuse students who are trying to address one of the most terrifying atrocities that are going on in the world right now as having "too much time on their hands." They're investing their time in trying to do what little they can about a VERY important issue, which is a lot more than many of the students on this campus can say. No, not everyone can advocate for every issue at once, but some students can do what they can where they can about what they care about. LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE!

    • You poor baby  

      I agree that it's an important issue, but the approach of these activists is simply shortsighted and idiotic. Where are the calls to sanction Egypt if this blockade is so terrible? They do know that Gaza shares a border with Egypt, right? Why the intellectual dishonesty regarding the bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza? Why the ludicrous demands for Columbia to send my parents' hard-earned money to Gaza where it will likely fall into the hands of terrorists? Why no condemnation of Hamas? Why the idiotic accusations of apartheid?

      These kaffiyeh-toting, chai-sipping "activists" are fucking morons, plain and simple, and should stop shouting at the top of their lungs. That goes for you too.

  10. Anonymous

    of this nonsense already...

  11. Hypocrite  

    It's easy to post anonymously. If you actually think these people are wrong, you should take the time to go to their meeting and disagree with them. If you think that it's not worth the time to attend, you should spare us your intolerable reactionary rants and get back to studying for your econ final you miserable twits; god knows you're going to need a great score to cash in your diploma on Wall Street.

    • amused

      Funny that you entitled yourself a hypocrite, given that you have--- like those which you deride--- chosen to post anonymously. Funny also that you went on to engage in a vitriolic rant, all the while deriding those which you oppose for "ranting." I can only conclude that the name that you have chosen for yourself is very apt. You are indeed a hypocrite.
      Anyway, why exactly would you assume that someone that doesn't support this obvious brand of pro-Palestinian zealotry is taking an economics class and aspiring for a job on Wall Street? I'm just curious. Do you just brand all of the things which you are against together in one convenient little package? Are you assuming that those which you so vehemently oppose are Jewish and that Jews, by design, have a predilection for working on Wall Street? By all means enlighten me.

      • still a hypocrite  

        it is just comforting for me to imagine that all the small minded, reactionary twits are of a particular type and grouped into a single department. it is you, not i, who made the outdated and offensive anti-semitic association, friend.

  12. Think about...  

    In regards to 'Israeli atrocities' consider this simplified comparison to a hypothetical situation: A government elected by the people of Mexico fires rockets from its borders into San Diego, claiming that the land was unlawfully taken from their people by the United States following the Mexican American war. Now would you have many reservations in responding to that act with military action?

  13. Anonymous  

    screw those "cool, hip" activists who don't know what they're talking about! they only support Palestinians because it's the "cool" thing to do. Go military occupation! Go bombings, and land confiscation, forced expulsion, phosphorous bombs, and steady settlement of one people in the occupied land of another seized in a previous war! That's the intelligent though unfortunately non-hip position. It's "uncool" nowadays but heck at least I'm staying true to my reason and intellectual faculties, as a true Columbia education has taught me.

    • advice

      Just read an English-language Israeli news site once in a while for a few months, in addition to whatever else you read-- whether a mainstream American daily or otherwise-- and then make your conclusions. You clearly don't have an understanding of the history, or a knowledge of the recent past for that matter, so I suggest you take my advice.

  14. ...........  

    You think it's hip and accepted to be an anti-Zionist Jew? Do you know how much of a minority we are in and how painful the rift is that we have within our families and faith communities? Don't condemn people as being "sheeple" or "followers" or "Chai-sipping" when you have no idea how difficult a choice it is to speak out on this issue to people who equate anti-Zionism unconditionally with anti-Semitism.

  15. Olivia Rosane

    Hey, I really shouldn't be commenting because dealing with snarky internet comment forums is a waste of mental energy, but I would like to point out that whatever else our reasons, Pro-Palestinian activists aren't speaking out for the rights of the ppl of Gaza and the West Bank in order to be "cool." Frankly I have never felt more disliked than when engaging in this type of activism, which is not to whine about poor, oppressed protesters. If you take a stand, you must be prepared for the backlash. All I'm saying is that it would have been better for my cool factor had I given up activism completely or, at the very least, stuck to Iraq. Oh, also, on behalf of chai--it is liked by people of all political persuasions; its a nice, warm drink:)

  16. stupidity  

    I think people need to get some perspective, on both sides. The entire world other than the US has condemned Israel for overdoing it in Gaza and using weaponry and technology that responsible nations would not use. I know there is a bit of a victim complex that is thrown out as a defense but even countries with no stake in the issue, who are trading partners with Israel & have no particular like or dislike for Jews or Muslims, have opposed some of their methods and reactionary attacks.

    On the other hand, the Palestinian forum is being idiotic for focusing their attention on a Columbia boycott of Israel. What would that achieve exactly? I doubt there is direct investment in many Israeli firms, and divesting from tangentially related firms is pointless and ineffectual. Instead, it makes more sense to focus on the lack of proper dialog of the issue, absurdly-skewed media coverage, the egregious power of AIPAC and the Israel-lobby, etc. Why focus on dumb shit when their are legitimate grievances at issue? Even if the University does everything you say that won't really help the Palestinian cause

    • Anonymous

      i respect your attempts to be level-headed, as i think that shouting back and forth ultimately does very little. i'd like to raise two points, one an objection to a point you made, the other a criticism of this entire enterprise. 1). isreal does not use weaponry and technology that "responsible nations would not use." if you can provide an example, then go for it, but i'm quite certain that the tools the israelis use are no different from the those that, say, the u.s. would use. if you're thinking of the oft-mentioned white phosphorous, the truth is that it's entirely legal to use as a smoke screen by international law.
      2). with regard to this entire is it ok to call for divestment from israel while simultaneously calling for investment in gaza (via scholarships, what have you), a territory which is controlled by unabashed supporters of terrorism? if you want to challenge and question israeli policies, then that's fine; israel is a thriving democracy that allows for such debate. yet it's the moral equivocation inherent in events such as these that often lead jews to suspect anti-semitism. and given their history as a people, we shouldn't be surprised by such active vigilance.

      • Response to Response  

        Israel did not use white phosphorous as a used white phosphorous as an indiscriminate weapon.
        If you are hit by a white phosphorous fragment, it will burrow into your body until it hits a bone or an organ. It burns for over three weeks, and will burn more furiously if you try to put it out with water.
        Each phosphorous bomb spreads fragments over the length of a football field.

        The way Israel used white phosphorous was a war crime.

        If you think I am wrong, ask the experts at Amnesty on Wednesday:

      • sigh  

        hamas is not a terrorist organization. its a nationalist organization, elected democratically by the people of Palestine. to call hamas a terrorist organization is to call the palestinian people all terrorists. they want places to live, freedom of movement across their territory, access to food, water, education, health care, and not to live under the constant menace of US-supplied weapons and white phosphorous bombs which kill them in numbers exponentially higher than sporadic rockets from Palestine kill people in Israel. Israel's policies aimed at the destruction of the Palestinian people must stop--of all people, Jewish Israelis should be the most compassionate, humanitarian, and sensitive to issues of apartheid, ghettoization and genocide. I wish it were the case.
        Bwog, as usual, your ignorance and that of your posters truly surpasses expectations.

        • huh?

          Jewish Israelis should be "sensitive" to those "nationalists" whose national charter calls for Jewish Israelis to be thrown into the sea? Why is this so?

        • dude

          genocide? really? if israel wanted to systematically kill all of the palestinians, get this--there wouldn't be any palestinians left. if nothing else, you have to agree that israel has the weapons capability. could it be then, that just maybe their goal is the security of their people? but nah, more fun to bash jews for forgetting the lessons of the holocaust.

  17. oh man  

    "Don't be a sheeple and go along with the "rebellious, counter-culture, anti-Israel propaganda" just because all the "cool" kids are doing it. Grow up."

    Since when is it considered cool to take an anti-Zionist viewpoint at Columbia? Considering the high percentage of Jews on campus, most of whom seem to support Zionism, as well as the reaction to the hunger strikers last year, it seems like a fairly unpopular position to take. After all, its cool if you attack George Bush or the presence of Christianity in American politics. But if you criticize the far-right Netanyahu or his religious nutjob followers that are forcibly settling Palestine because they're "God's chosen people," then clearly you are a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite liberal zealot.

    • So true.

      That is why you never witness any fervently anti-Zionist demonstrations on campus. That is why there are no notable anti-Zionist voices in the faculty. That is why all of Israel's actions are always considered carefully and in context, and that is why so many representatives of the Israeli right and left, for that matter, are invited to speak on campus, and why the detractors of Israel never step past the gates.

      • Oh man  

        You forget to mention that this is also the campus where the David Project and LionPAC led an organized effort to derail the careers of the very anti-Zionist faculty you refer to.

        More to the point, look at the inane criticisms on this thread. People are criticizing them for the most ridiculous reasons. Who gives a crap if they wear keffiyehs? Yeah, its a single-issue group that ignores hunger in Africa/poverty in America and about a million other problems facing the world. So are dozens of other single-issue advocacy groups on campus and yet I strangely don't see people up in arms when, say, an environmentalist meeting is announced. Yeah, I doubt these students are going to ditch their Pentium processors and any other Israeli-made technology. Just like I doubt Greenpeace members on campus are going to go live in a cave to reduce their "carbon footprint." I believe it has something to do with pursuing a realistic course of action, rather than going to logically absurd extremes. I suppose the issue of Israel-Palestine just happened to rile people up. I wonder why...

    • not settling

      forcibly settled. an important distinction. whatever your thoughts on pre-48 Zionism, it's 2009. 6 million Jews live in Israel, most within the pre-67 borders. They're not going anywhere, and it's time to focus on the future (the creation of a stable, secure, economically viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza) rather than the past. Netanyahu supports a two-state solution--he's not arguing for more Jewish settlement of the occupied territories in God's name, though admittedly some of the farther right parties with whom he is allied (representing

      • yes.

        It is important to distinguish settlement on the one hand and displacement on the other, yes. But no apologies need to be made for Israel. The free and deliberate exercise of the Jewish people's right to a state in their ancient homeland does not need to be apologized, excused, mitigated, or mourned.

        • ....  

          ancient homeland? wait how ancient is's not like...2000 yrs is it? coz oh man, there's this plot of land in turkey my ancestors used to own, i was thinking of going there and seizing it. hopefully, i won't have to kill the terrorists living in that house, cause like..they've prolly only been there for like a 100 years or something. actually, i think i'll use white phosphorous, i heard all the cool kids are doing it these days

          • ....

            I happen to recall watching a French news program on PBS two or three years ago, and listening to the anchor describe the use of the very same substance, I believe-- white phosphorous-- by American forces in Iraq. And I distinctly recall that the anchor described it as a "chemical weapon"-- the very sort of destructive agent, ostensibly, that the United States had attacked Iraq with the intent to destroy. Perceptions can be deceiving.

          • Remember

            White phosphorous' illegality does not hinge on its status as a chemical weapon. It is perfectly fine to use white phosphorous as a flare. It is illegal, however, to use phosphorous as a bomb. That's what Israel did, in all appearances.

          • Anonymous

            i think you'd be very hard-pressed to provide any kind of support for that statement. so unless you can prove what you're saying with some kind of credible source, it's probably best not to make such claims at all. in either case, i doubt you have the weapons expertise or experience to understand how white phosphorous is put to use in military situations (not saying i do, either, but still..)

          • sorry  

            but neither of you got it correct. white phosphorous is legal in combat situations yes, but not in a civilian area.

      • Oh man  

        Netanyahu supports a two-state solution? Since when? Whats your source?

        This Haaretz article from January begins with the sentence "Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to declare his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

        This news article from last month,7340,L-3678512,00.html is titled "Netanyahu refuses to commit to two-state solution"

        As far as I'm aware, his position has not changed.

        Don't tell me its the "farther right" fringe that is driven by religious fundamentalism. Beiteinu came in 3rd and even beat Labor in an alliance with KADIMA, the "moderates." All three top parties are guided by religious nuts. Who is Beiteinu's ideological forefather? Jabotinsky. Ben Gurion referred to Jabotinsky as "Vladimir Hitler" and refused his burial in Israel, with good reason too since he and his followers can only be described as religious fundamentalists who feel that they have some holy mandate to form a Greater Israel. I should shut up now though, because clearly by questioning Israel in any way I've shown that I'm a Holocaust-denying, blood libel-spreading anti-Semite who just wants to be radical-chic cool. Sort of like how the Catholic Church is clearly just a mouthpiece for Hamas for daring to question Israel's actions in Gaza.

        • Pardon?  

          Yisrael Beiteinu is a firmly anti-religious party driven by immigrants from the FSU, and adamantly favors a two-state solution. Kadima is not a religious party, and neither is Likud. The religious parties (Shas, United Torah Judaism, National Union) received in total 20 of 120 seats in the k'nesset, compared with, for instance, 11 seats for Israel's Arab parties.

  18. lame  

    Firstly, there are many notable anti-zionist and post-zionist voices on campus (Rashid Khalidi ring a bell?). In fact, that's what this entire forum is about...Secondly, last year, Columbia not only invited the world's largest anti-zionist, but a holocaust denier to campus. Your whole "Jews have control of everything on campus" bit is a little Shylock-esque...
    And the only reason why people on this campus (regardless of opinion) feel uncomfortable expressing opinions on campus is because most people here are just antagonistic haters.

    • yes...

      Yes. I was being ironic. I thought such examples would immediately come to anyone's mind. If you read my earlier comments, you will find the irony of the last one hard to miss.



  20. On the Red Cross  

    The Red Cross only said "we have no evidence", they didn't say definitively NO. The Amnesty report is weapons specialists inside Gaza. They confirmed the Human Rights Watch report mentioned on jpost.

    Israel didn't like the results of Amnesty's report, so it is currently banning access of human rights investigators.

    • Anonymous

      that report cites one single "weapons expert." i'd rather go with the red cross. moreover, it does not prove any deliberate attempts to use white phosphorous in an illegal way. it merely points out that phosphorous was used (which we already knew), and argues that it shouldn't be used. this same report also argues vaguely that "artillery" should never be used in civilian areas because of its inaccuracy. look, war is never clean, and i think amnesty international, for all its good work, is too eager to overlook that fact. this is not to say that loss of innocent palestinian life isn't deeply saddening; of course it is. yet, this report sadly includes only 1 page (out of 45?) comdemning hamas' perpetual rocket fire on israeli cities (it's still going on as we speak), an act which, by its very nature, is unequivocally illegal and rightly labeled 'terrorism.' again, if you want to understand why some jews cry anti-semitism, it's because of this sort of tendency to label all of israel's acts unlawful war crimes while simultaneously remaining passive when it comes to the undeniably terroristic acts of groups such as hamas.

  21. Security  

    "could it be then, that just maybe their goal is the security of their people? but nah, more fun to bash jews for forgetting the lessons of the holocaust."

    All genocidaires were also looking to defend their people. They just had such a warped conception of their enemy, they were driven to extremes. For example, Israelis conceiving of the Palestinians as their existential threat is a form of scapegoating (sound familiar?). As Hillel's Israel spokesperson stated himself, “more people die from car accidents ... than from terrorist attacks.”

    But Israel is perfectly justified in bombing 1300 or 13,000 or 1.3 million Gazans, because Jews suffered in the Holocaust, right? I suppose I don't count then? My grandfather risked his life in World War Two and was horrified at the Holocaust he couldn't stop, but I'm supposed to ignore an impending genocide I CAN stop?

    • seriously

      Jews used force to take out terrorist cells launching rockets at civillians...because of the Holocaust? Stop conflating. The use of excessive force is not the same as genocide. There is no final solution being called for by anyone remotely within the Israeli mainstream. Israelis want a state for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and their votes demonstrate this--they also want assurances that this state won't subsequently attack.

    • wait a second

      Israelis scapegoating palestinians?

      Could it possibly be the other way around? Is Israel solely responsible for the lack of any real progress in palestinian life? Do the palestinians really have no blame for inculcating hate in their children, teaching martyrdom and blood libel in the classrooms from which they fire rockets?

      Surely this is all Israel's fault.

  22. The reason  

    Palestinians are plenty to blame. They're far from perfect. But, because they're crammed into unlivable areas while Israel is the regional military power, only Israel can carry out a genocide now. Show me how the far-right Israeli parties, which made unprecedented gains this election, are different from fascist parties. These people are now in the mainstream.

    Israelis have a right to defend themselves. But the incredible destruction wreaked on Gaza is beyond all reason. Will they drop white phosphorous on their auto dealers next? I doubt it. So, there's reason to be greatly worried.

    I mentioned the Holocaust because I knew we had dolts like poster 54 around. I'm allowed to worry about how Israel uses the billions of military aid coming from my tax dollars. Talk about wasteful spending--this is criminal spending!

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