House committee asks Columbia for records of foreign donations, DEI and more in antisemitism probe

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House Education and nan Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., sent a missive to Columbia University connected Monday asking for documents and accusation applicable to Congress' investigation into soaring antisemitism astatine American assemblage campuses that reached a fever transportation successful nan aftermath of Hamas' Oct. 7 onslaught connected confederate Israel. 

The 16-page letter, addressed to Columbia University President Dr. Minouche Shafik, Columbia Trustees Co-Chairs David Greenwald and Claire Shipman, Barnard College President Dr. Laura Rosenbury, and Barnard College Board of Trustees Chair Cheryl Glicker Milstein, provided examples of how, arsenic Foxx categorized it, "an situation of pervasive antisemitism has been documented astatine Columbia for much than 2 decades earlier nan October 7, 2023, violent attack." 

The documents and accusation requested are said to subordinate to "Columbia University’s consequence to antisemitism connected its field and its nonaccomplishment to protect Jewish students, faculty, and staff."

"Columbia has consistently allowed anti-Israel groups to break assemblage policies and shown its commitments connected antisemitism to beryllium hollow," Foxx wrote. 

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The committee is seeking each reports of antisemitic acts aliases incidents and related documents and communications made to Columbia management since Jan. 1, 2021, arsenic good arsenic accusation astir nan university's ain policies and procedures astir really nan prestigious New York City institution is expected to woody pinch favoritism and harassment. 

Included connected nan database of 25 circumstantial items sought by nan committee were each documents and communications "relating to aliases reflecting sources of backing for Columbia Students for Justice successful Palestine, Columbia-Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, Columbia Law Students for Palestine, Columbia Social Workers 4 Palestine, and Faculty and Staff for Justice successful Palestine, including, but not constricted to university, departmental, faculty, and student statement funds, arsenic good arsenic overseas donations." 

Foxx is besides seeking documents showing nan yearly full magnitude of overseas donations and backing (including but not constricted to governmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations, and backstage individuals) to Columbia since Jan. 1, 2021, by country; documents capable to show each overseas donations and backing to Columbia of $50,000 aliases much since Jan. 1, 2021; and documents capable to show each donations and backing to Columbia from Qatari sources (including but not constricted to nan Qatar Foundation, governmental bodies, nongovernmental organizations whether incorporated successful Qatar aliases elsewhere, and backstage individuals) since Jan. 1, 2021.

Besides accusation connected overseas backing of anti-Israel protests, Foxx is besides seeking communications related to immoderate efforts by Columbia students, module and unit to prosecute successful nan Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions activity against Israel since Jan. 1, 2021, arsenic good arsenic Columbia's fund mandates for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. 

In her letter, Foxx cited "numerous incidents of antisemitic assaults, harassment, and vandalism astatine Columbia," complete nan past respective months, including incidents of Jewish students being beaten aliases targeted by demonstrators who tore down posters of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas militants. 

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The missive asks nan assemblage to supply communications related to a database of circumstantial incidents aimed astatine Columbia students, faculty, unit and immoderate different affiliates since Oct. 7, including, but not constricted to those directed astatine an Israeli student extracurricular Columbia’s room connected Oct. 11, a Jewish Columbia Law student connected Oct. 19, an Israeli Columbia student connected Oct. 24, and a Jewish student successful a field eating hallway connected Nov. 9. 

Chants person called for decease to Jews and student email threads person likewise wished for decease to Israel Defense Forces veterans connected campus. The missive besides noted really "numerous Columbia module person made antisemitic remarks and statements of support for Palestinian coercion some anterior to and aft nan October 7, 2023, violent attack." 

Some of nan astir egregious examples, nan missive said, included professor of modern Arab authorities Joseph Massad penning an article aft nan Oct. 7 onslaught comparing nan "Palestinian resistance" to "Europeans resisting nan Nazi occupation" and besides referring to Israel arsenic "cruel colonizers" and nan Palestinian Authority arsenic "the collaborator PA."

Massad is besides accused of espousing antisemitic tropes, including calling nan Israeli subject "baby-killing Zionist Jewish volunteers for Israeli Jewish supremacy," labeling Israelis "cruel and bloodthirsty colonizers," and saying Zionism is simply a "genocidal cult." The missive besides cited really different assemblage employee, Hamid Dabashi, Columbia’s Hagop Kevorkian professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature, had made galore virulently antisemitic statements making love backmost years, including deeming Israel "a racist, apartheid state." 

While Columbia suspended its field chapters of nan anti-Israel groups Students for Justice successful Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) connected Nov. 10, 2023, nan missive asserted that "the assemblage has many times grounded to enforce this determination and has allowed these groups and others to clasp unauthorized antisemitic, anti-Israel events without consequence," nan missive said.

Foxx said that stands astatine likelihood pinch Shafik’s Oct. 9, 2023, committedness that "our first privilege has been to make judge everyone connected to Columbia is safe" and Columbia’s connection that "President Shafik has many times said that we will not tolerate antisemitic actions and are moving forcefully against antisemitic threats, images, and different violations arsenic they are reported."