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What Matters Now to two Jewish student leaders at Columbia: ‘Intifada’ on campus

Eden Yadegar, president of Students Supporting Israel, and Elisha H. Baker, a Columbia Political Review editor, describe the antisemitism that led to this week’s ‘hostile takeover’

Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

Police cleared 30 to 40 people from inside Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night after protesters against Israel occupied the administration building in New York earlier in the day. Hundreds of New York Police Department officers acted after the school’s president said there was no other way to ensure safety and restore order on campus and sought help from the police.

The confrontation occurred more than 12 hours after the demonstrators took over Hamilton Hall shortly after midnight Tuesday, spreading their reach from an anti-Israel tent encampment elsewhere on the grounds that’s was there for nearly two weeks.

This week we speak with two Jewish student leaders from Columbia University, Eden Yadegar, the president of Columbia’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel, and Elisha H. Baker, a senior editor at the Columbia Political Review.

We speak about the pro-Palestinian encampment that has sparked a wave of copycat protests throughout campuses in the United States. But we also set the scene on the Columbia campus that led up to these protests and hear about an atmosphere in which latent antisemitism was released from its cage after the October 7 Hamas onslaught on southern Israel in which terrorists massacred 1,200 people and took 253 hostage.

We also hear about how Yadegar, after speaking at a congressional roundtable about on-campus antisemitism organized by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce alongside students from eight other universities, returned to campus to face derision.

So this week, we ask Columbia University students Eden Yadegar and Elisha H. Baker, what matters now?

What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

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