ACTION ALERT: Oppose Anti-Israel Presentation by Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch at Columbia U

Updated: Feb 21, 2019


Center for Palestinian Studies (CPS) is an anti-Israel propaganda department at Columbia University. CPS has a long history of hosting anti-Israel events, some of which, like the recent "Technologies of Violence in Palestinian Jerusalem" talk traffic in anti-Semitic tropes and blood libels accusing Israeli military of using Palestinian children to test its weapons.


On Wednesday, February 27th,  CPS will host a talk "Permanent Occupation? Human Rights in Israel/Palestine in the Trump/Netanyahu Era" by Omar Shakir who is Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch.


Given Shakir's troubling history the information presented will likely lack veracity and context. Shakir's employer, Human Rights Watch also has a sordid history of anti-Israel activities as documented by NGO Monitor and extensively described in a lengthy Wikipedia article "Criticism of Human Rights Watch".


This anti-Israel event is currently open to the public. Please come to support Israel and to observe and challenge anti-Israel propaganda.


Please sign our petition!


If you are planning to attend:

  1. Please register to let us know how many people are coming and to allow us to inform you of any last-minute changes.

  2. If you can, please wear something white and blue or something else to indicate that you support Israel.

Event Time: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 4:30PM

Event Location: Room 208, Knox Hall at Columbia University (606 West 122nd Street, New York, NY, 10027, map)


If you cannot attend in person (or even if you do), please contact Columbia University administration to tell them that they should not allow Columbia University's reputation to be damaged by biased anti-Israel activists who create a hostile anti-Israel climate on campus.


Phone Contact Info

  • Lee Bollinger, President: (212) 854-9970

  • John H. Coatsworth, Provost: (212) 854-2404

  • Gerald M. Rosberg, SEVP of the University: (212) 854-9967

  • Shailagh J. Murray, EVP for Public Affairs: (212) 854-3229

  • G. Michael Purdy, EVP for Research: (212) 854-1656

Alums may also include:

  • Amelia J. Alverson, EVP of University Development and Alumni Relations, (212) 851-7929

Email Addresses


Cut and paste the following email addresses:

Alums may also include:

For more information please contact us at admin@cu-monitor.com.


A Sample Letter


To: "Board of Trustees" <secretary@columbia.edu>, "Lee C. Bollinger, President" <bollinger@columbia.edu>, "Lee C. Bollinger, President" <officeofthepresident@columbia.edu>, "John H. Coatsworth, Provost" <provost@columbia.edu>, "Gerald M. Rosberg, SEVP of the University" <gerry.rosberg@columbia.edu>, "Shailagh J. Murray, EVP for Public Affairs" <sjm2245@columbia.edu>, "G. Michael Purdy, EVP for Research" <gmp63@columbia.edu>


Dear President Bollinger, Provost Coatsworth, Mr. Rosberg, Ms. Murray, Dr. Purdy and Board of Trustees,


I am writing to express my concern about the February 27th event hosted by the Center for Palestinian Studies (CPS) featuring Mr. Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch.


Mr. Shakir is a well-known anti-Israel activist [1] and is an active supporter of BDS, the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement whose stated goal, according to its founder Omar Barghouti, is the elimination of the State of Israel. Human Rights Watch organization is an equally problematic NGO known for its anti-Israel bias [2][3].


Coming on the heels of another blatantly anti-Semitic talk [4]--one of many recently hosted by CPS--this presentation confirms that the sequence of single view point anti-Israel events is nothing but thinly veiled propaganda and that CPS advances activism rather than scholarship. This is damaging to Columbia University's reputation and is a disservice to students.


Furthermore, at the time when anti-Semitism is on the rise these types of biased events exacerbate hostile anti-Semitic and anti-Israel environment for which Columbia is already known [5].


Columbia University administration cannot stay silent while one of its departments [6] relentlessly promotes one-sided anti-Israel and anti-Semitic narrative. To protect the reputation of the university and to provide safe environment for pro-Israel and Jewish students on campus Columbia University administration needs to condemn anti-Israel propaganda based on falsehoods and disassociate itself from anti-Semitic events as was done by Hebrew University [7].


I also call upon Columbia to bring a speaker with an objective and nuanced viewpoint based on real facts and evidence of the very complex Israeli-Arab conflict.


[1] https://canarymission.org/individual/Omar_Shakir

[2] https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/human_rights_watch_hrw_/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Human_Rights_Watch

[4] https://www.timesofisrael.com/hebrew-u-professor-claiming-arms-being-tested-on-kids-doesnt-represent-school/

[5] https://www.algemeiner.com/the-40-worst-colleges-for-jewish-students-2017/

[6] 11 professors from Columbia University--the most of any university except for Georgetown University-- are on the AMCHA Initiative's list of 200+ Anti-Israel Middle East Studies Professors: https://amchainitiative.org/amcha-publishes-list-of-over-200-anti-israel-middle-east-studies-professors/

[7] https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/02/18/hebrew-university-distances-itself-from-lecturer-who-said-palestinian-kids-face-death-machine-in-jerusalem/


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