A protest to support pro-Israel students at Columbia University didn’t involve many students

Ben Sales

JTA - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Mon Oct 08 2018

...The Oct. 4 rally outside Columbia’s main gates in Upper Manhattan was organized by Students Supporting Israel, a campus group with chapters across the country. It called on the university administration to do more to protect pro-Israel students, whom SSI says are harassed for their views.

But most of the 40 or so demonstrators appeared not to be students. Many were older, mostly middle-aged, protesting on their behalf. The rally was posted on Facebook and was the subject of a news release sent out by Miller Ink, a West Coast public relations firm that represents some pro-Israel groups. In the past, SSI’s Columbia chapter has received support from the Lawfare Project, a legal aid group that supports pro-Israel causes.

One of the older protesters, a non-student who wore a black face mask and identified himself only as “Big Rob,” said he attended the rally in order to encourage pro-Israel students to aggressively confront their adversaries.

“The way to help yourself is by demonstrating you’re willing to take a risk, you’re willing to take a loss to extract a price,” Big Rob said in a gruff voice. “Whatever it takes: kicked out of school, a fat lip, a bloody nose, a night in jail, whatever it is. They want to play it safe. That’s why the tormentors are emboldened.”...

A protest to support pro-Israel students at Columbia University didn’t involve many students

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