Pro-Israel Professor Denied Entry At Columbia University
Assistant Professor Shai Davidai is denied access to the campus grounds during his pro-Israeili rally at Columbia University on April 22, 2024 in New York City. In response to recent campus unrest and anxieties regarding Jewish student safety, Columbia University President Minouche Shafik announced a shift to online learning for Monday. She further urged faculty and staff to prioritize remote work.
(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

A pro-Israel professor at Columbia University declared on Monday that he was denied entry while making his way to lead a sit-in at the campus site where anti-Israel demonstrators have set up camp.

Shai Davidai, an assistant professor in the Management Division of Columbia Business School, can be seen in one video posted to social media telling onlookers outside a gate that the university had deactivated his ID card.

In another, Davidai confronted Columbia University COO Cas Holloway, who responded by telling Davidai that he would be allowed to hold his own demonstration on the Math Lawn, which is separate from the lawn where pro-Palestinian protesters have set up their so-called “Liberation Zone.”

“Earlier today, [Columbia University] refused to let me onto campus. Why? Because they cannot protect my safety as a Jewish professor. This is 1938,” Davidai said in a post to X.

The Daily Wire reached out to Columbia University seeking comment.

Last week, students began to erect tents on a central campus lawn at Columbia and insisted they would not leave until the university meets their demands, including divestiture from companies that have ties to Israel, according to The New York Times. Police arrested more than 100 students for refusing to leave and the participants also face suspensions, but the protest activity has persisted for nearly a week.

Holloway announced “enhanced safety measures” on Sunday that included an increase in police patrols, private security, and tighter ID checks at campus security to address the “gathering of large crowds on campus and around the Morningside perimeter are causing considerable disruption and distress.”

After a campus rabbi urged Jewish students to go home due to the “extreme antisemitism and anarchy” that the university and New York Police Department could not contain, Columbia shifted to remote learning on Monday before the Passover holiday was set to begin at sundown.

“To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Columbia University Minouche Shafik said in a statement. “Faculty and staff who can work remotely should do so; essential personnel should report to work according to university policy. Our preference is that students who do not live on campus will not come to campus.”

Over the weekend, Davidai shared to X a message that he sent to university leadership stating that he planned to go to campus on Monday and sit “peacefully right in the center of the illegal encampment that you have allowed the pro-Hamas mob to establish in the middle of campus.”


The message, which was included in a screen grab, said several Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff would join him. Davidai said he was requesting a police escort of at least 10 officers. New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov responded to the post by tagging the New York City Police Department and saying that she is “requesting escort for this group and will make an official request.”

On Monday, before the confrontation on campus, Davidai posted a response he received from Holloway saying that his event could be held on the Math Lawn and that public safety officers would be present for Davidai and his students.

Davidai said the response was “nothing more than a continuation of six months of gaslighting and degrading the Jewish community of” Columbia University and encouraged people to bring Israeli and American flags in an effort to create a “safe space for Jewish and Zionist students on campus and standing up against terrorism.”

The National Review obtained a different message that Holloway emailed to Davidai earlier in the morning on Monday that said the professor was “not permitted to enter the West Lawn” while citing “the obvious risk to the safety of students and other members of our community.”

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