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20 Apr, 2024 16:38

US lawmaker’s daughter suspended for pro-Palestine protest

Isra Hirsi has said she was suspended after police raided a demonstration at Columbia University
US lawmaker’s daughter suspended for pro-Palestine protest

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar’s daughter has been suspended from Columbia University for taking part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration on campus. The protest camp was raided by police on Thursday.

Demonstrators set up around 50 tents in front of the New York university on Wednesday, demanding that college officials cut ties with Israel-linked companies and publicly call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The following day, university President Nemat Shafik summoned the New York Police Department to clear the camp, explaining in a letter to faculty that the protesters had “violated a long list of rules and policies.”

Columbia University said that all of the arrested students had been suspended. At least three students were suspended, but not arrested. Among them was Isra Hirsi, Omar’s daughter.

“I’m an organizer with CU Apartheid Divest,” Hirsi wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday. “In my 3 years at Barnard College I have never been reprimanded or received any disciplinary warnings. I just received notice that i am 1 of 3 students suspended for standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a genocide.”

“Those of us in Gaza Solidarity Encampment will not be intimidated. We will stand resolute until our demands are met,” she continued. “Our demands include divestment from companies complicit in genocide, transparency of Columbia’s investments and FULL amnesty for all students facing repression.”

Hirsi is a sociology student at Barnard College, a private women’s liberal arts college run by Columbia University. CU Apartheid Divest is part of the wider BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which calls for the financial isolation of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. 

As suspension notices were handed out to Hirsi and her fellow Barnard students, Omar questioned Shafik at a congressional hearing on Thursday. Omar, who did not mention that her daughter was taking part in the protests, accused Shafik of throttling the free speech rights of pro-Palestinian students, while pro-Israeli lawmakers accused the president of failing to tackle an alleged rise in anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

Omar, a Somalian refugee living in the US since 1995, is an ardent critic of Israel. Since Israel declared war on Hamas last October, she has repeatedly condemned the Jewish state’s “unconscionable brutality” toward the civilian population of Gaza, and lobbied President Joe Biden to press Israel toward a ceasefire. In 2019, Omar was accused by Jewish groups of anti-Semitism for suggesting that US support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” and for accusing Jewish Americans of harboring a “dual loyalty” to Israel.





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