NYC mayor hammers 'professional' Columbia anti-Israel agitators, says NYPD 'ready' to move in

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday warned that the New York City Police Department “cannot have a presence” at Columbia University’s campus “unless specifically requested by senior university officials,” decrying “professional agitators” and “antisemitism being spewed” at the Ivy League School.

“I am horrified and disgusted with the antisemitism being spewed at and around the Columbia University campus,” Adams said, citing the example of a young woman holding a sign with an arrow pointing to Jewish students stating “Al-Qasam’s Next Targets.”

The Al-Qassam Brigade is the military wing of Hamas.

The mayor noted another instance where a woman is literally yelling “We are Hamas,” and another where groups of students are chanting “We don’t want no Zionists here.”

“I condemn this hate speech in the strongest of terms. Supporting a terrorist organization that aims to kill Jews is sickening and despicable. As I have repeatedly said, hate has no place in our city, and I have instructed the NYPD to investigate any violation of law that is reported. Rest assured, the NYPD will not hesitate to arrest anyone who is found to be breaking the law,” Adams continued. “We will not be a city of lawlessness, and those professional agitators seeking to seize the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to sow chaos and division in our city will not succeed.”

Adams specifically said, “I do, however, want to be abundantly clear: Columbia University is a private institution on private property, which means the NYPD cannot have a presence on campus unless specifically requested by senior university officials. The NYPD has an increased presence of officers situated around the campus to protect students and all New Yorkers on nearby public streets, and they stand ready to respond if another request is made by the university, as they did on Thursday, when the NYPD successfully cleared encampments on Columbia’s South Lawn without any injuries.”

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams attends a memorial for the 30th anniversary of the killing of a Jewish teenager on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The mayor’s statement came hours before Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, who was hauled before Congress to address the school’s inaction on antisemitism, broke her silence overnight. Shafik canceled classes on Monday, calling for a “reset” as “tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals who are not affiliated with Columbia who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas.”

Instead of bringing in police to disperse the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” that has persisted for days on the South Lawn, Shafik promised a “working group of Deans, university administrators and faculty members will try to bring this crisis to a resolution” in the coming days, including through “continuing discussions with the student protestors and identifying actions we can take as a community to enable us to peacefully complete the term and return to respectful engagement with each other.”

Anti-Israel agitators resume demonstrations at Columbia University on the fifth day of “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on April 21, 2024. (Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“I know that there is much debate about whether or not we should use the police on campus, and I am happy to engage in those discussions,” Shafik said. “But I do know that better adherence to our rules and effective enforcement mechanisms would obviate the need for relying on anyone else to keep our community safe. We should be able to do this ourselves.”

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Before the start of Passover on Monday, Columbia and Barnard college’s rabbi warned Jewish students to return to their homes, as Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD “cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy.”

Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik testifies before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on April 17, 2024. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Adams on Sunday also urged Columbia’s senior administration officials “to improve and maintain an open line of communication with the NYPD to ensure the safety of all students and staff on campus, as well as for the safety of all New Yorkers.” The mayor acknowledged how “the conflict in the Middle East has left many of us grieving and angry,” and while New Yorkers “have every right to express their sorrow,” but that “heartbreak does not give anyone the right to harass or threaten others or to physically harm someone they disagree with.”

“As mayor of the city with the largest Jewish community in the world outside of Israel, the pain these protests are causing Jews across the globe is not lost on me, especially as we start Passover tomorrow evening. I also see and hear the pain of those protesting in support of innocent lives being lost in Gaza,” Adams said. “In this moment of heightened tension around the world, we stand united against hate.”

House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., led the charge on Sunday in demanding Shafik’s resignation over university leadership having “clearly lost control of its campus.”

Shafik allowed the NYPD to come onto campus and arrest more than 100 people on Thursday, the day after her congressional testimony, but they have since been released from custody and the protest escalated.

Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace. 

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