Hochul silent as pressure grows for National Guard to break up Columbia’s anti-Israel throng

Democrat New York Gov. Kathy Hochul refused to send in the National Guard on Monday to quell anti-Israel protests at Columbia University – despite mounting pressure from lawmakers and experts saying she has the legal justification, if not the obligation, to do so.

The NYPD also has yet to take action on campus as tensions continued to rise on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday, despite in-person classes being canceled Monday due to concerns about Jewish students’ safety.

“The fact that they had to go to remote learning today, because they can’t keep their students safe is disgraceful,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital in an interview. “There should certainly be NYPD on campus, the governor should be offering National Guard and shutting down these horrific antisemitism events.”

Malliotakis also added her voice to the rising chorus calling for the resignation of Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik. Malliotakis said that Shafik had permitted antisemitism to “fester on campus for months.” Shafik, who was called to testify before Congress to address the school’s inaction on antisemitism after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, said on Monday she was hoping the school “will try to bring this crisis to a resolution” in the coming days.

Shafik’s didn’t respond to Fox News Digital when asked if the NYPD or National Guard would be requested to de-escalate the protest and disperse the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”


split images showing protest camp scenes from Columbia University

Students at Columbia University returned to the campus’ lawn area on Friday morning to continue their anti-Israel protest and say they will “hold this line” until their demands are met. (FNTV)

If requested by the governor – or the Biden administration – the use of the National Guard would be a justified measure to restore “public order,” said Ilya Shapiro, the director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute.

“And the justification would be Title VI, which ensures equal educational opportunity,” Shapiro told Fox News Digital. “And the argument is that Jewish students are being denied that, and that Columbia is failing of its obligation to enforce it.”

Title VI, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “provides that no person” in the U.S. “shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” 

“Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock. It’s time for Biden to call out the National Guard at our universities to protect Jewish Americans.” – Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas

Shapiro, a legal scholar who in 2022 stepped down from his brief tenure as executive director at Georgetown University’s Center for the Constitution due to a free speech dispute, noted that not all speech is protected under the First Amendment, including speech that incites violence or death threats, which places many of the anti-Israel agitators at odds with the law.

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment on Columbia University’s campus

The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

“Similarly, beating somebody up, harassing them, false imprisonment, vandalism – you don’t get defenses for that,” he said.

Other lawmakers took to X on Monday urging the National Guard to disperse protesters lobbing antisemitic chants and supporting Islamist terrorist group Hamas as “freedom fighters.” 


“Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said on X Monday. “It’s time for Biden to call out the National Guard at our universities to protect Jewish Americans.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who in 2020 wrote a New York Times op-ed advocating for the use of the military to quell riots that occurred during that summer’s nationwide social justice protests, said on X that if Mayor Eric Adams “won’t send the NYPD and Kathy Hochul won’t send the National Guard, Joe Biden has a duty to take charge and break up these mobs.”

Anti-Israel agitators at a camp-in on Columbia University's campus

The university announced that all classes would be held virtually today in response to the ongoing demonstrations on campus. (Peter Gerber)

The throngs occupying Columbia University grounds hurled violent threats against Jewish students beginning last week. Those at Columbia set up encampments, waved Palestine flags, and refused to leave. 

“We are Hamas,” some agitators chanted, while others called for the expulsion of Zionists. 

“The First Amendment protects the right to protest, but students also have a right to learn in an environment free from harassment or violence,” Hochul said in a statement Monday. “At Columbia or on any campus, threatening Jewish students with violence or glorifying the terror of October 7 is antisemitism.”

Still, she refused to call on authorities to break up the encampment. Hochul’s office did not respond when asked by Fox News Digital if the National Guard would be requested.

Meanwhile, Shafik said that she was “deeply saddened” by certain actions of agitators, who have formed an “encampment” on the campus and have riled students and faculty with anti-Jewish slogans and chants.

“I know that there is much debate about whether or not we should use the police on campus, and I am happy to engage in those discussions. But I do know that better adherence to our rules and effective enforcement mechanisms would obviate the need for relying on anyone else to keep our community safe,” she said. “We should be able to do this ourselves.”


sign reading "Gaza solidarity encampment" on Columbia University grounds

Anti-Israel agitators construct an encampment  on Columbia University’s campus in New York City on Monday, April 22, 2024.   (Peter Gerber)

The statement comes after the Orthodox rabbi at Columbia University and Barnard College sent a message encouraging Jewish students to leave campus and go home after protesters were caught on camera espousing full-on support for terrorism and supporting violence toward Jewish students.

Rabbi Elie Buechler sent a message to hundreds of students recommending they leave “as soon as possible” until the situation improves, noting that “what we are witnessing in and around campus is terrible and tragic.”


Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement he condemns “this hate speech in the strongest of terms.” 

“Supporting a terrorist organization that aims to kill Jews is sickening and despicable. As I have repeatedly said, hate has no place in our city, and I have instructed the NYPD to investigate any violation of law that is reported. Rest assured, the NYPD will not hesitate to arrest anyone who is found to be breaking the law,” Adams said. “We will not be a city of lawlessness, and those professional agitators seeking to seize the ongoing conflict in the Middle East to sow chaos and division in our city will not succeed.”

By Monday afternoon, NYPD remained on standby surrounding the campus. Police officials told reporters that Columbia University does not want NYPD on campus, but said they will enter the property if violence occurs.

“As a general matter, Columbia University, and this goes back many years, does not want NYPD on campus. That is their decision,” Michael Gerber, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, told reporters.

Fox News’ Daniel Wallace contributed to this report.