Columbia Students Claimed They Were Sprayed With an Israeli Chemical Weapon. It Was Actually Fart Spray Purchased on Amazon, New Lawsuit Says

Chemical weapons are typically associated with Middle Eastern warzones, not Ivy League colleges. So when one of them was allegedly deployed at Columbia University, it ignited a media frenzy.

Pro-Palestinian protesters told the Columbia Spectator they had been sprayed with “skunk,” a crowd-control chemical developed by the Israeli Defense Forces, at a rally in January. Mainstream media amplified the allegations, and Columbia suspended a student involved in the “attack”—who had previously served in IDF—within days.

The narrative was a progressive fever dream: At one of the best universities in the country, an Israeli student had deployed chemical weapons against peaceful student protesters for challenging the alleged depredations of the Jewish state.

Columbia president Minouche Shafik repeated this claim at a meeting of the university’s senate. “Demonstrators,” she said, “were sprayed with a toxic chemical.”

It now appears that the “toxic chemical” was a harmless fart spray purchased on Amazon for $26.11.

According to a lawsuit filed against Columbia on Tuesday, the suspended student had in fact dispersed “Liquid Ass”—a “gag gift for adults and kids,” per its product description—at an unsanctioned pro-Palestinian rally. He sprayed the substance in the air, not at any particular individual, in what the lawsuit describes as a “harmless expression of speech.” The result was a swift suspension for which the student is now suing, alleging that the university “rushed to silence Plaintiff and brand him as a criminal” through “biased misconduct proceedings.”

Columbia claimed in January that the incident was “possibly [a] hate crime.” Tuesday’s lawsuit undercut that claim and the media narrative built around it less than 24 hours before Shafik was set to testify before Congress about Columbia’s response to anti-Semitism, which surged at Columbia after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

The university has seen a raft of protests—many of them held in violation of university rules—where students promoted the attacks and chanted slogans like “Intifada” and “glory to our martyrs.” One unsanctioned event, “Resistance 101,” featured speakers from Israeli-designated terror groups and praise for plane hijackings, which Khaled Barakat, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, described as an “important tactic” of the “Palestinian resistance.”

Four students were suspended over the event, video of which was removed from YouTube for violating the platform’s anti-terrorism rules. One student, Aidan Parisi, refused to leave campus, barricading himself in his dorm and pledging to resist the suspension “just as the Palestinians have resisted occupation.”

His punishment was irregular: For the most part Columbia has not disciplined students who’ve held unsanctioned protests, including one in November that disrupted law school classes for nearly three hours. Administrators refused to shut down the protest because, as one of them put it, doing so could make pro-Palestinian students feel “unsafe.”

The lawsuit alleges that Columbia failed to protect the plaintiff from anti-Semitic harassment as he underwent a rigged disciplinary process that presumed him “guilty from the start” because of his affiliation with Israel. Non-Israeli students at the rally “were not disciplined in any manner,” the complaint states, even though the university hadn’t approved the event.

Columbia declined to comment.

This is the second time this year Columbia has been sued for anti-Semitic discrimination. In February the StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice filed a lawsuit against Columbia and Barnard alleging that Jewish students had been “assaulted, spit on, threatened, and treated unequally,” in part due to the schools’ failure to enforce their own policies.

Similar complaints have been filed against Middlebury, MIT, and Harvard University, both in federal court and with the U.S Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The lawfare comes as a congressional committee is holding hearings on anti-Semitism and pressing schools to provide documentation of their response to it—an effort that helped end the careers of two former Ivy League presidents, Claudine Gay of Harvard and Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, who resigned following their poor performance at the first of those hearings.

At the hearing with Shafik, Democratic lawmakers grilled Columbia’s president about the alleged “chemical attack.”

“It appears to have been an odorous substance that was sprayed on demonstrators,” Shafik said in response to a question from Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.). “The individuals involved have been suspended from Columbia.”

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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