This Wednesday, Students Supporting Israel (SSI) held a protest titled “Rally for Our Existence” on the Sundial.

Following Tuesday’s emergency rally in support of Rafah, Student Supporting Israel (SSI) organized a demonstration on the Sundial titled “Rally for Our Existence.” Protestors gathered at 1 pm to support Israel and the “right [Jewish people] have to exist.”In anticipation of the protest, access to Columbia’s campus was limited to CUID holders from 12 pm to 4:45 pm. 

At the start of the protest, participants gathered around the Sundial, holding Israeli flags and posters depicting hostages and text in Hebrew. Demonstrators chanted “Bring them home,” a reference to the hostages in Gaza.

Columbia Professor Shai Davidai opened the protest by speaking on political disagreement between Jewish and Israeli people. “We agree on one thing,” Davidai stated. “We have the right to exist.”

Davidai then spoke on the events of October 7, continuing, “They made it front and center for us. They made it political… Do we hide the fact that we’re Jewish, that we’re Israeli, or do we fight back?”

Davidai attested that protestors are fighting back “in the way that [they] fight back,” through nonviolence, songs, and coexistence. He claimed that pro-Palestinian individuals are “talking about annihilating [their] existence.” Davidai asserted that while Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for Jewish people, “that does not mean that Palestinians do not have a right to self-determination in their own land.” He declared, “Every country has a right to exist, including Israel,” eliciting cheers from the crowd.

Davidai concluded his speech by claiming that the University’s “moral cowardice” and administrators “who have remained quiet” is the reason for Wednesday’s rally. “This could have all ended on October 19, the day after I spoke up,” Davidai continued, referencing a viral speech he gave in front of Butler Library that day. He further stated that Wednesday’s event will be “the first of many peaceful rallies we will hold here until the University… protects every person on campus, Jewish or non-Jewish, Israeli or non-Israeli.” Demonstrators sang songs and waved flags before concluding the rally.