WATCH: Former Obama Press Secretary's Wife HORRIFIED By Surge Of Anti-Semitism At President's Alma Mater

By Maria Angelino | Friday, 19 April 2024 12:00 PM
Views 1.9K
Image Credit : Photo by John Smith for USA Today

Claire Shipman, co-chair of Columbia University’s Board of Trustees, expressed her dismay at the "shocking" rise of anti-Semitism on the university's Manhattan campus during a congressional panel on Wednesday.

Shipman, whose husband Jay Carney served as press secretary under former president Barack Obama, a Columbia alumnus, addressed the issue during a House Education Committee hearing.

The hearing, which also featured testimony from Columbia president Minouche Shafik and other school leaders, saw Shipman respond to a lawmaker's query about the "pro-terrorist expressions on campus on a significant scale."

"It's shocking," Shipman said. "I think it says that we have lost our way in terms of what we expect from each other in a learning community and in our society. I think we have to … commit to speech that isn't laced with hate and isn't just meant to provoke."

 WATCH: ROBERT DE NIRO CAMPAIGNING FOR BIDENbell_image

Carney, having accepted a position in the Obama administration in 2008, is likely well-acquainted with the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric that has been a persistent issue on the Columbia campus. During Obama's 2008 campaign, his friendship with one of Columbia’s most prominent anti-Semitic professors became a central topic of discussion.

 IRAN INCHES CLOSER TO NUCLEAR ARSENAL: UN REPORT EXPOSES ALARMING STOCKPILEbell_image

Despite Obama's professed support for Israel, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that he was a "friend and frequent dinner companion" of Rashid Khalidi, an anti-Israel scholar who has been part of Columbia's history department since 2003. Obama praised Khalidi at a farewell party before the professor joined Columbia, acknowledging that Khalidi provided "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases."

 WATCH MAHER TO DEMS: IT'S NOT THAT I'VE GOTTEN OLD, YOUR IDEAS GOT STUPIDbell_image

In response to the Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel by Hamas, Khalidi argued that the attack needed "context," blaming Israel's "settler colonialism" and "apartheid" regime on Democracy Now!.

 WHAT A STAND-UP GUY: POPE FRANCIS APOLOGIZES FOR USING THIS 'VULGAR TERM' IN CLOSED-DOOR MEETINGbell_image

"The context is not just occupation," he said. "The context is settler colonialism and apartheid. You cannot commit daily violence against Palestinians—one Palestinian has died every day this year, in fact, slightly more—in the occupied West Bank. You cannot expect that not to lead to a reaction. The reaction will be violent."

 2024'S ELECTION GAME-CHANGER: WILL NEW BIRD FLU VACCINE HYPE WIN OVER VOTERS AGAIN?bell_image

Khalidi, who in the 1970s frequently represented the Palestine Liberation Organization, a U.S.-designated terror group, to the press, has faced criticism for anti-Semitic statements during his tenure at Columbia. In 2017, he suggested that supporters of the Jewish state would "infest" the Trump administration, using language reminiscent of anti-Semitic propaganda that depicted Jews as "vermin."

 TEXAS NEWSPAPER GIVES SCATHING CRITIQUE OF GOV. ABBOTT'S EDUCATION FUNDINGbell_image

"These people infest the Trump transition team," he said. "These people infest—are going to infest our government, as of January 20. And they are hand-in-glove with a similar group of people in the Israeli government and in Israeli political life, who think that whatever they think can be imposed on reality."

 MASSACHUSSETTS ARMY VETERAN DETAILS NEAR-DEATH ENCOUNTER WITH GRIZZLY BEARbell_image

Obama's ties to Khalidi were not his only connection to controversial figures at Columbia. In 1998, Obama attended a speech by the late Columbia professor Edward Said, who called for a campaign "against Israeli apartheid." Two years later, Said was photographed throwing a stone towards Israel Defense Force soldiers outside a guardhouse. Columbia responded by issuing a letter defending the professor.

X