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Jewish NYU students speak out against anti-Israel agitators on campus: ‘At a loss for words’


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A large demonstration by anti-Israel agitators at New York University (NYU) was met with condemnation by Jewish students and onlookers passing through the area on Monday, with many in the crowd verbally expressing displeasure at the rowdy scene.

"I don't think they know what they're protesting for," Jewish NYU student Natalie told Fox News Digital.

"I think there are a lot of educated people — educated to their own set, but I think there are a lot of people who actually have no idea what they're doing. They want to be a part of something bigger. Gang mentality. Call it what you want. It's not real," she added.

Passersby accused the demonstrators of being "clout chasers" and "TikTok wannabes" uninformed about the current situation in Israel and Gaza. Anti-Israel activists repeatedly tried to disrupt interviews between Jews and reporters. Still, they refused to go on camera themselves to communicate their message.


Fox News Digital approached roughly 30 protesters who either espoused anti-Israel messages, carried Palestinian flags or held up other signs critical of the Jewish state. All of them declined the opportunity when asked to speak. 

They stood and chanted in an enclosed area that later spilled into the street in front of the NYU Stern School of Business.

One group with face coverings and "Free Palestine" shirts held up signs and yelled, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." They also banged pieces of metal together to encourage the audience to clap along.

"Settlers, settlers go back home. Palestine is our home," a large group of protesters chanted with megaphones. Many wore masks.

A woman later led the protesters in a chant of "there is only one solution, intifada revolution."

One person in the crowd, who asked to remain anonymous, said he believed the recent anti-Israel demonstrations, while permissible, are a form of "self-gratification." He took issue with a picture of Yacoub Qadri, an Islamic Jihad terrorist, that the protesters displayed.

"These are leftists. They're usually in support of terrorism," he said.


The man said many New Yorkers he has spoken to feel similarly about the demonstrations.

"Look, killing kids is bad. But is this going to change anything? No, stop! Shut up," he said.

Many of the anti-Israel protesters at the campus turned violent later that night, hurling bottles at police officers sent to disperse a large, unruly crowd, officials said.

New York City Police Department sources confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that law enforcement arrested 133 demonstrators using zip ties and flex cuffs to remove the protesters from campus. They were taken on a bus to police headquarters and charged with trespassing, the sources added.

An NYU spokesperson said the school was "deeply disturbed" by the event and suggested that many protesters were not affiliated with the school.

"This breach was in violation of directions from Campus Safety Officers and multiple university rules," the spokesperson added.

Guy, an NYU sophomore, told Fox News Digital he is a proud Jew and doesn't want what happened at Columbia University to spread to his campus.

"I want Jews to feel safe," Guy said.

He also suggested that the anti-Israel protesters chose April 22 specifically to hold their event because they knew most Jews would be gone celebrating Passover, allowing them to appear as the majority.


Guy said his Jewish family members, friends and classmates all favor a two-state solution for Israel and Gaza, but also believe in the protection and development of Israel (Zionism).

"For some reason, there's this misunderstanding from [anti-Israel protesters] that believes that all Jews don't believe in Arab rights and don't believe in these things, and it's because they've decided to Americanize the issue of the Middle East conflict," he said. 

"They've decided to make it out like Jews, White Arabs, darker Black. That's what they've decided to do. And so, they're like, Whitey bad, Whitey would never want to have, you know, peace. But that's just not so."

Guy and Natalie both said they wanted Jewish voices to be heard and to create a stronger dialogue among people on all sides of the issue.

"I just want to foster a better environment for people to learn and a place, an institution of education, where you're supposed to be confident, you're supposed to come to class ready to learn and you're supposed to come with a clear mind and open heart. This does not foster that. No one is doing a good job in stopping — no one is doing a good job in controlling this," Natalie said. "I don't even know what to say at this point. I'm at a loss for words."


She admitted that, unlike some of her peers, she may have a false sense of security from serving in the Israeli army. Natalie still walks around, feeling like she is still in uniform and carrying her gun. But all that remains is the Star of David necklace she wears in public.

"This is my protection," she said, holding up the pendant. "I'm proud of who I am, and I will always be thankful. I'll always have time to protest loud and proud."

Natalie said the Oct. 7 terror attacks personally her. She witnessed the aftermath when protesters tore down hostage posters that she recognized as pictures of people she and her family knew.

"There's been a lot of antisemitic rhetoric on campus. There's been a lot of hate. There's been a lot of people that don't feel comfortable walking around with their kippahs on. And to me, that's extremely, extremely sad," she said.

"I don't know if you could tell, but I am a little triggered right now. You know, it's hard. Listen — it's not only here. It's at Columbia, and it's at many different campuses all across America — across the world, for that matter. At the end of the day, Jews need to feel united and safe. And they don't feel safe right now," Natalie said.

NYU did not return Fox News Digital's request for comment. 

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo and Michael Dorgan contributed to this report. 

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