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Clashes on Ivy League campus as tensions flare following Hamas terrorist attack in Israel

Student groups on campuses across the country have engaged on the issue, taking strong stances regarding the Palestinian people and Hamas that have caused backlash.

Protests supporting both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples keep tensions high on Columbia University's campus, where an Israeli student was attacked Wednesday with a stick outside the school’s main library.

At least 2,300 people have died since Hamas launched thousands of rockets on Israel over the weekend, pushing Israel to declare it was at war with the terrorist group and issue warnings to residents in Gaza ahead of operations in the territory to root out the group.

Hundreds of students turned out on Columbia’s main campus Thursday, many draped in or carrying Israeli flags or adorned with the Palestinian keffiyeh (headscarf) in demonstrations of support of reach side. 

The protests remained peaceful, but they followed Wednesday’s attack, which occurred at around 6:10 p.m. after 19-year-old Maxwell Friedman, who identifies as female, got into an argument with a 24-year-old who is named only as I.A. over flyers he had posted with names and pictures of Israeli hostages. 


Friedman had been ripping down the posters after initially offering to help the group, telling them she was Jewish. She also allegedly assaulted I.A. with a stick, according to the school’s paper the Columbia Daily Spectator.

Friedman was arrested and charged with assault. 

Joseph Massad, a Columbia professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history, earlier this week wrote an article published on The Electronic Intifada that highlighted Hamas’s attack as "astounding" as he called Israel "cruel colonizers." 


"The sight of the Palestinian resistance fighters storming Israeli checkpoints separating Gaza from Israel was astounding, not only to the Israelis but especially to the Palestinian and Arab peoples who came out across the region to march in support of the Palestinians in their battle against their cruel colonizers," Massad wrote.

"But as the ongoing war between the Israeli colonial army and the indigenous Palestinian resistance has only just begun, the days to come will surely be crucial in determining if this is the start of the Palestinian War of Liberation or yet another battle in the interminable struggle between the colonizer and the colonized," he concluded in his article. 

The protests are just some of many that have occurred on college campus across the country as students remain divided on the issue, with many turning out to defend the Palestinian people or condemn Hamas’s attack – all against the backdrop of controversial statements from student groups at NYU Law School, Harvard University and others. 

PRO-PALESTINIAN ACTIVISTS WERE TOLD NOT TO ENGAGE WITH ro-Palestinian activists were told not to engage with media during demonstration, but some defied the order

Dozens of student groups signed onto statements that held Israel "entirely responsible" for the terrorist attack and subsequent violence in the region. 

Harvard president Claudine Gray released a video in response to the letter, stressing that the university "rejects terrorism," including the "barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas" as well as "hate" against "any group of people based on their faith." 

At least five groups withdrew their support of the statement as of Wednesday. 

The NYU Law School Student Bar Association president, who issued the statement on behalf of student groups, ended up losing her job offer to an international law firm. The NYU statement declared "unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination." 

The law firm Winston & Strawn LLP called the remarks "inflammatory" and "profoundly in conflict" with the firm’s values as it announced its withdrawal of an offer for the student president. 

Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Pritchett, Joshua Q. Nelson and Greg Wehner contributed to this report. 

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