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NYC Mayor Adams Signals NYPD Intervention Against Anti-Israel Protests At Columbia

Mayor Adams Takes Firm Stance Against Anti-Israel Protests in NYC

Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic candidate for New York City mayor speaks during a debate with Republican candidate for New York City mayor Curtis Sliwa at the ABC 7 studios in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City exhibited a stern response towards anti-Israel demonstrators at the prestigious Columbia University during his recent address. He expressed his ire towards the ongoing displays of antisemitism around the campus and highlighted that they could be heading towards a scenario of swift, forced removal and possible arrests if such actions persisted.

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The demonstrators have established what is being referred to as the ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’. Their protest geared towards an end to the conflict in Gaza have seen them leading pro-Hamas chants. They are also reported to have celebrated the demise of Israeli soldiers, gone as far as burning flags, and engaged in a range of other activities widely condemned by not just Columbia University, but also city administration, most notably by Mayor Adams himself.

Media reports have detailed these actions as an alarming surge in anti-Semitic sentiments stemming from support for the conflict-ridden Gaza region. The protests are noted for chants favoring the terrorist group Hamas, as well as reprehensible calls to destroy Tel Aviv, Israel’s buzzing metropolis.

In the face of these disturbing acts, voices from across the aisles in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans alike, have labelled these demonstrations as blatantly anti-Semitic, unearthing uncomfortable truths about public sentiment and its dramatic shifts.

Mayor Adams fired back against these efforts on a popular media platform, stating, ‘We are a city of laws and order, not a breeding ground for chaos and division. Systemically orchestrated unrest, seeking to leverage the deep-seated issues currently plaguing the Middle East, will not gain ground here.’ He dismissed the dangerously increasing support for a terrorist organization that targets Jews, calling it horrifying and absolutely reprehensible.

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In voicing his stern opposition, he reiterated a message of zero tolerance towards hate in the city. He further gave emphasis towards a pending investigation by the NYPD into these violations.

Adams firmly asserts, ‘We will not shy away from taking appropriate legal action against those who choose to cross legal boundaries. Those breaking the law will face the consequences of their actions.’ He does, however, note with considerable emphasis the boundaries posed by the nature of Columbia University.

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Columbia University’s status as a private institution on private property, Adams notes, poses a unique challenge for law enforcement. The NYPD lacks authority to intervene directly on campus unless explicitly invited by senior university administrators. He thus urged the university’s higher administration to enhance their ongoing dialogue with the NYPD to ensure the safety of everyone within the campus environs.

The Mayor also drew attention to the NYPD’s heightened presence surrounding the university, strategically positioned for the protection of students and New Yorkers on public streets. Such officers stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice if called upon by the university officials, as was the case this past Thursday.

Commenting on the wider Middle East situation, Adams acknowledged the strong emotions it has evoked, ‘The conflict has left many of us in deep pain and anger. All New Yorkers are entitled to express their sorrow, but to transition that into harassment, threats or physical harm towards those they are at odds with, simply has no place here.’

He maintained that while public expression of sorrow is certainly a valid and protected sentiment, it must not serve as a pretext for causing harm or inciting fear among others. The collective sorrow of New York should not jeopardize the safety and peace of its citizens.

Presiding over the city with the largest Jewish community worldwide outside Israel, Adams recognized the distress these protests have inflicted on Jews both locally and globally. ‘As we commence Passover tomorrow evening, the anguish caused by these protests to Jews everywhere is certainly not lost on me.’ His remarks went beyond simple acknowledgement; they empathized with the suffering of a key community in his constituency.

While paying heed to the pain experienced by the Jewish community, Mayor Adams also did not dismiss the profound sadness of those demonstrating in response to the loss of innocent lives in Gaza. Their outcry, borne from the same spirit of empathy, was noted even as he reiterated the need for peaceful expression.

Turning his attention to the escalating violence in the Middle East, Adams detailed the recent attack by Hamas fighters on Israeli territory that began on October 7. The onslaught resulted in more than 1,300 fatalities, a host of hostages including Americans, making a severe dent in the region’s already fragile stability.

In response to this onslaught, Israel declared war on the militant group and launched a retaliatory campaign in Gaza. The continuing struggle and loss of life on both sides complicate the path to peaceful relations in this troubled region.

In closing, Adams underscored the complexity and deeply personal nature of the conflict in the Middle East and how it resonates in diverse ways among his constituents. However, he firmly reminded all that demonstrating empathy and pursuing justice need not translate into inciting unrest and disharmony in New York City.

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