WATCH: We Revealed Columbia’s Anti-Semitism Problem 20 Years Ago

Exactly 20 years ago, we exposed the catastrophe at Columbia

In 2004, the David Project (our former organization) produced a short documentary, Columbia Unbecoming, exposing the growing tide of Jew-hatred at Columbia University. At that time, the main problem was bigoted Arab professors harassing and intimidating Jewish students; meaning, in theory, it was still controllable.

We interviewed then-current and former Columbia students, as well as a Hillel rabbi — all of whom had experienced or were familiar with hateful, anti-Jewish behavior. The film made local and national news, including The New York Times, and stoked appropriate controversy.

We meant to ring the alarm bells in the Jewish community. We met with the top leaders of Jewish establishment organizations as well as Columbia board members and donors.

With hardly an exception, none of them wanted to fight for the students. They ducked, kvetched, and told us that they were willing only to have behind-the-scenes discussions with administrators.

They may have done as they promised, but their efforts obviously did nothing. When dealing with people like college administrators — very often cowards who respond instantly to humiliation and ridicule — the Jewish establishment’s MO is usually to respect such cowards’ undue dignity and speak to them gently and privately — never to fight and stand up in public as proud Jews who tolerate intimidation from no one. Their strategy failed then, and, 20 years later, it has failed now.

Furthermore, some of the same problematic characters in our film are still powerful foes. Shamelessly anti-Semitic professors like Joseph Massad and George SalibaColumbia Unbecoming’s main off-screen antagonists — still work at Columbia and have never received any serious official sanctions for their abuse of Jewish students, let alone their professorships.

Even more damning, though, is that Massad and Saliba’s thousands upon thousands of intellectual children are now the ones besieging Jews at Columbia. Student organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine seem to run the campus, immune — with the administration’s help — to even the NYPD’s motions to desist.

Watch and spread the film and be sure to learn one lesson: the Jewish establishment must change if Jewish college students are to be safe.

Columbia Unbecoming (2004)
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