On Thursday evening, a protest titled “United for Israel” took place around the periphery of Columbia’s campus. Protestors lined Broadway and Amsterdam, chanting and marching in support of Israel.

Content warning: Calls for violence.

On the evening of Thursday, April 26 at around 6:30 pm, a group of pro-Israel protesters gathered outside the Broadway and Amsterdam gates. 

In advance of the protest, the University announced plans to increase patrol strength and enhance campus perimeter security. Columbia Chief Operating Officer Cas Holloway advised students to avoid the area, stating that safety escorts were available and that campus access would remain restricted to CUID holders. Due to the protests, Wien Hall and Jerome Greene Hall were not accessible from street level, as part of 116th and Amsterdam was closed off with NYPD barricades. 

Amsterdam Avenue

Protesters at 115th and Amsterdam chanted “Bring them home,” “Let my people go,” and “More people are coming.” Some protesters held signs reading “I stand with Israel” and “God hates fascists.” 

The first group of protesters arrived at Amsterdam around 6:35 pm, making a turn from 115th Street chanting “Bring them home now” and waving US, Israeli, and other flags bearing pro-Israel messages. They gathered around the Amsterdam gates. 

At 6:45 pm, another group of protesters arrived from 115th Street. As this group approached the Amsterdam gates while repeating the same chants, the first group of protesters left the area and started heading north. 

Around 6:51 pm, NYPD officers arrived at the scene. An NYPD patrol car approached the crowd and officers began surrounding the protesters, pushing them toward the sidewalk and out of the street. In addition to the flags, protesters held signs reading “Have no fear,” “God is on our side,” and “Christians stand with Israel.” Others shouted “Kidnapped by Hamas” while holding a poster displaying a hostage. NYPD officers assembled in a line across the street, ushering the crowd onto the sidewalk to keep control and the flow of traffic going. 

At 7:15 pm, another wave of protesters arrived at the scene. A group of pro-Palestinian counter-protestors also made an appearance and established themselves in the south corner of 116th Street. At 7:25 pm, NYPD buses arrived on the scene. Another large group of protesters joined the group at 7:30 pm, and NYPD officers pushed the group to the sidewalk as well. 

Views of the protest from Law Bridge. 

A student counter-protester bearing a Palestinian flag arrived at the entrance, from the inside, around 7:40 pm, to which the group of pro-Israel protesters responded by chanting “Coward” and “Show your face.” As a protester yelled at a counter-protester, “My six-year-old shows his face,” the pro-Palestine counter-protester removed their mask.

Other protesters shouted, “Men who signed the [US] Constitution believed in the state of Israel” and “Know your history.” Demonstrators were also seen exclaiming, “If you went to Palestine, you would not be allowed to protest.” 

At around 8:15 pm, protesters grabbed onto the 116th and Amsterdam gate, shouting “Fuck Hamas,” “Go home terrorists,” “Bring them home,” and “Save Gaza from Hamas.” In response, counter-protesters shouted, “Gaza!” Protesters later engaged in back-and-forth chants. While pro-Israel demonstrators chanted, “Terrorists, go home,” pro-Palestine demonstrators chanted, “Fascists, go home.”

Meanwhile, a truck reading, “United we stand with Israel, peace on Earth today” continuously passed through the Amsterdam protest. At around 8:20 pm, pro-Israel protesters outside of the 116th and Amsterdam gates chanted “USA” and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

One protester began climbing the gate, shouting “Women have no rights in Gaza.” Other protesters shouted “Go home territorial supporters.” The crowd outside the gates repeatedly chanted “Save Gaza from Hamas.” Other protesters joined in climbing the gate, waving Israeli flags. In response, a Public Safety officer said, “We can’t do anything, it’s up to the NYPD.” 

Pro-Israel demonstrators climb the 116th and Amsterdam main gate. 


Meanwhile, an adjacent pro-Israel protest was occuring on Broadway. Demonstrators gathered between 115th and 116th and Broadway, outside of Columbia gates. Protesters held signs such as those reading, “Exchange each hostage for 100 pro-Hamas US students. Good for Israel, good for USA, good for Hamas. Educational for students.” 

A group of pro-Palestine Orthodox Jewish demonstrators from Neturei Karta International stand on Broadway, holding signs reading, “Anti-Israel is NOT anti-Semitism,” “State of ‘Israel’ does not represent world Jewry,” and “Judaism condemns the state of ‘Israel’ and its atrocities.”

Protesters gathered outside campus from 115th to 116th and Broadway. 

At 115th and Broadway, pro-Israel protesters were met with counter-protesters, to which one pro-Israel protester responded, “Don’t engage with them [counter-protesters]. It’s pointless.” Nonetheless, a pro-Israel demonstrator was seen interacting with individuals wearing keffiyehs, asking, “Are you declaring war against Jews?” Another demonstrator told a pro-Palestine protestor, “You are not a Jew.” 

Pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters gathered outside Lerner Hall as well. Pro-Israel protesters sang songs while another yelled, “You’re wasting your time… They’re all killers.”

A “United we stand with Israel” truck spotted on Broadway. 

Near the Alpha Delta Phi (ADP) house on 114th Street, one pro-Israel protester told a person inside the ADP house, “Light yourself on fire.” The ADP house bore a Palestinian flag. 

Protesters on 114th Street began to sing, “Let my people go” and later chanted, “They will not quit.” Another wave of pro-Israel protesters joined approached this group from Amsterdam and remained at the 114th and Amsterdam gates while the original group left. 

During this protest, there were various reports of harassment near campus. A Black student was reportedly called a slur, while pro-Israel demonstrators reportedly called individuals who wore keffiyehs or other pro-Palestine apparel “terrorists” on the street. 

Images via Bwog Staff