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House Republicans excoriated progressive “Squad” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for suggesting during the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s hearing tackling antisemitism at Columbia University that none of the demonstrations deriding Jews on campus have been “anti-Jewish.” 

Fox News Digital caught up with two Republicans on the committee at the Capitol after the hearing, asking their thoughts about Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik initially testifying that she had not seen any campus protests that were explicitly “anti-Jewish.” 

Omar argued that campus demonstrations were merely “pro-war” or “anti-war,” but House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., further pressed Shafik on whether she considered anti-Israel agitators’ chants of “F– the Jews” and “Death to the Jews” in fact anti-Jewish. Shafik conceded that those slogans heard on campus were “completely anti-Jewish,” amending her earlier testimony. 

“I thought her answer to that was wrong to begin with, and she had a chance to correct it. I was flabbergasted, actually, when she said no,” committee Chair Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital at the Capitol after the hearing. “She said there had been no anti-Jewish, incidents. Well, what is this whole hearing about? The whole hearing is about that.” 


“What I found interesting is the leadership’s response to that. And you saw Representative Stefanik really follow up with that,” Rep. Brandon Williams, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital of the exchange. “They are in deep denial that they cover with these clever phrases … just because everything inside the protest was antisemitic, well, it wasn’t an antisemitic protest because it wasn’t labeled as such. Now that’s absurd. You know, I think a third grader would be able to discern, you know, the deception. But, but evidently that’s hard for, you know, the professors and the leadership at Columbia.” 

As the hearing was underway, protesters could be heard yelling outside demanding entry to the Capitol proceeding. Back at Columbia University’s campus in New York City, hundreds of anti-Israel agitators staged an “occupation” protest calling for the Ivy League school to “divest” from Israel. Video captured demonstrators lighting flares after nightfall, and the New York City Police Department arrested at least four people Thursday morning when crowds defied the school’s order to cease the “encampment,” which included tents set up on a campus lawn.

“I think it’s very important that the Jewish students know that this committee has their back, that we will continue to fight with them against antisemitism,” Foxx told Fox News Digital. “And that’s my commitment to them. I think they understand that commitment. They’ve seen the other hearings that we’ve had. They’ve heard the things that we’ve said. And I think it’s important that they know they’re not alone on that campus, that we are going to be with them, whether we’re there physically with them, we’re there, mentally, psychologically and morally with them.” 


Foxx and other House Republicans hosted a group of Jewish students at the Capitol, offering them the opportunity to speak at a press conference before hearing kicked off Wednesday morning. 

One of those students, Eden Yadegar, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, described recent instances of antisemitism on campus, including how a tenured Columbia professor allegedly told students that Jews who regularly attend temple are “indoctrinated,” a Jewish student having a Star of David necklace ripped from her neck, and on several occasions Jewish students being accosted by other students at the law school or in the kosher section of the dining hall yelling, “F— the Jews.” 

Eden Yadegar speaks at press conference

She said Jewish students have grown fearful of reporting instances of discrimination and harassment because “of how little faith they have that the university will take the necessary steps to protect them,” arguing the “university’s action has left Jewish students abandoned” after months of silence from the school leadership. 

Another student who spoke at the press conference, Yola Ashkenazi, described how Columbia has recognized clubs that say things like, “Zionists not invited,” and, “the Holocaust wasn’t that special.” She cited how swastikas have been drawn in campus buildings and said, “Columbia permits hate rallies on our campus that call for violence and eradication of the Jewish state” and call for “intifada revolution.” 

Ashkenazi described how on Feb. 2, when one of her friends was physically held outside the wall of the campus fitness center by demonstrators, Columbia public safety officers told him afterward to “not wear anything identifying him as Jewish when tensions are high.” 

Speaking with Fox News Digital ahead of the hearing, Yadegar said she was not surprised by the anti-Israel demonstrations happening again back on campus.

“I think that we’ve gotten to a point where these student demonstrators feel that anything is fair game because they have not been disciplined adequately, and so I’m hoping that this hearing will shift us away from that direction,” Yadegar said outside the committee room. 

“We’ve been isolated on campus in certain organizations, in the classroom. It’s been incredibly difficult, but the Jewish people are incredibly resilient, and as Americans, as Jews, it’s our duty to continue to participate in these spaces that we’ve worked so hard to get to,” she said. “I do have a little bit of faith left in their leadership, and I do hope that they will follow through. They claim that antisemitism is abhorrent and that it has no space in our university, and our campus. The action over the past five months doesn’t coincide with that rhetoric, however the actions taken over the past couple of weeks are edging in that direction.”


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