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Columbia protests are 'writing on the wall,' about antisemitism on campuses: campus organization founder says

The founder of a pro-Israel international campus movement is warning against history repeating itself as antisemitism continues to rage on university and college campuses across the country. 

Ilan Sinelnikov, the President and Founder of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a pro-Israel student movement, told Fox News Digital that history is repeating itself — pointing to the recent anti-Israel protests on Columbia University’s campus in New York City.

History at the end of the day repeats itself.

— Ilan Sinelnikov, the President and Founder of Students Supporting Israel

“History at the end of the day repeats itself,” he said. “What we have seen back in the 30s with the harassment and intimidation of Jewish people across Europe, back when Jewish students were not allowed to universities and people were creating human chains in order to block Jewish students from entry.”

“Jewish students are being intimidated and harassed on college campuses. I was on a call with a Jewish student and that goes to Columbia University, and she said, ‘I can’t wait to pack my bags and get on the first flight home. I don’t want to be on this campus anymore.'”

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Sinelnikov said that Jewish students no longer feel safe at one of the nation’s “most prestigious universities.”

“When you get to the point, when in our most prestigious universities, Jewish students don’t feel safe to walk on those campuses because they’re afraid of being harassed or afraid of being physically assaulted,” he said. “When you see all of that, the similarities are frightening.”

Sinelnikov reminded people that the Holocaust “didn’t happen overnight,” but slowly seeped into society.

“People need to be aware that this is what’s happening in the highest educational institutions,” he said.

What happened in the Holocaust, it didn’t happen overnight

— Ilan Sinelnikov, the President and Founder of Students Supporting Israel

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“What happened in the Holocaust, it didn’t happen overnight,” he added. “There were years and years of indoctrination and the hatred that was spread, especially towards youth, especially in the educational systems against the Jewish people.”

Elisha

The SSI Movement founder said that Jewish people are portrayed as “subhuman” on college campuses.

“And this is what you see today on our campuses, you know, so they try to portray Jewish people as subhuman,” he said. “People chant, ‘kick out all the Zionists.’”

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Sinelnikov said that while watching the footage of antisemitism on campus, it’s hard not to observe the striking similarities between the Holocaust and modern-day antisemitism. 

“You cannot just ignore the similarities between that and what has happened now,” he said. “Some people might think that we are overexaggerating, but the fact is, when a bad thing happens in our history and when people also think that it will never happen, it will happen.”

“This is the writing on the wall that we have on our college campuses and our higher education system,” Sinelnikov said.

Anti-Israel agitators gather on Columbia University’s campus in New York City

Sinelnikov said that the worst thing that could happen is for Jewish students to leave universities.

“At the end of the day, people might feel intimidated or unsafe or afraid. But, the worst thing we can do is to leave those spaces,” he said. “The worst thing that could possibly happen is for Columbia University to become a Jew-free university,”

“They want to harass, intimidate, terrorize students until those students are not going to show their face anymore. And we just cannot let it happen,” he said.

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He said that the biggest problem universities are facing is lack of campus leadership.

“I think the biggest challenge that we’re facing right now and across the country, it’s lack of leadership by the academic institutions and by the universities, because at the end of the day, if you really think about it, a lot of these problems can be solved quickly,” he said.

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“A lot of people might argue here for the sake of freedom of speech or freedom of assembly, but at the same time, we need to remember that we’re not talking about student’s freedom, we’re talking about harassment, intimidation,” Sinelnikov said. “We’re talking about open calls for violence against Jewish students.”

Pro-Palestine protesters demonstrate along NYPD police lines outside of Columbia University’s campus

Sinelnikov said that Columbia University’s president “lacks the will to take the right actions.”

“At Columbia University, the president called in the police to remove the protesters, but all the students were released from the police station at 10 p.m. and the protesters were back out on a different side of the lawn a few hours later, and it’s still there today,” he said.

“And what happens now is that students who pay $60,000 a year for tuition have their whole semester to be moved online, because the university cannot take control of 300-400 students on their campus,” Sinelnikov said.



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