You Have to Read the NYPD’s Mic Drop Response to a Columbia Student Group’s Anti-Israel Letter

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

A student group at Columbia Law School reportedly sent an email last week that declared no Jewish person is “safe” or “free” until Palestine is free.

The law students also condemned university leadership and the New York City Police Department for their response to the ‘occupation’ of Hamilton Hall on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus. The NYPD, for its part, did not take the accusations lightly.

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by Bari Weiss and Nellie Bowles of The Free Press to discuss the insane anti-Israel letter and the NYPD’s mic drop response.

The Anti-Israel Email

According to screenshots posted by National Review Buckley Fellow Zach Kessel on X, the “Organizing Committee” of the Columbia Law School chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (CLS-NLG) sent an email to an undisclosed list of recipients last Friday bemoaning Israel’s response to the October 7 terror attacks and what they consider the university’s “bankroll” of the “death and destruction” in Gaza.

The very lengthy diatribe began by calling out Columbia President Minouche Shafik for “bringing the NYPD onto campus to forcibly disperse and brutalize our classmates protesting genocide” – including her decision to recruit the police after a group of agitators barricaded themselves inside Hamilton Hall late last month. 

Megyn pulled a few “highlights” from the missive:

“Our team of legal observers tried to enter campus repeatedly… As night fell, we remained stuck outside, facing a wall of riot police, unable to bear witness to the violence that was about to unfold. We felt a deep dread knowing that without any witnesses, the police could do whatever they pleased. This moment eerily echoed the telecommunications blackouts Israel has imposed on Gaza… 

The police unleashed violence upon the unarmed students… One was thrown down a staircase and knocked unconscious. At least one cop fired his gun inside… All protesters… were arrested. In prison, some had their hijabs ripped off by cops. Many were denied water… Some have been hospitalized.”

“These are not honest brokers,” Megyn said. “They are complaining about the cops going into Hilton Hall and reclaiming the hall that belongs to Columbia University – not the nutcases who are there.”

The NYPD Responds

The Megyn Kelly Show reached out to the NYPD for comment on the allegations made in the CLS-NLG’s email. The department issued the following statement in response:

Let’s discuss the facts: The allegations outlined by this Columbia Law student group are scurrilous, deceitful, and have absolutely no basis in reality. The writers are in league with the unruly mob that broke into Columbia’s historic Hamilton Hall, shattering glass with hammers and barricading entrances with vending machines, large garbage cans, and hefty furniture. The protesters illegally locked themselves inside, securing the doors with clamps and heavy-duty bike locks and chains. They disabled interior surveillance cameras so that their criminality could not be documented. And when Columbia’s administrators finally asked the NYPD to regain control of the campus they had lost, our police officers did so swiftly, professionally, and effectively. And they did so, fully aware of the severe, potential risks posed to their own safety by those inside.

Every police officer on the scene that night had a working body-worn camera, and everything was recorded. Also recorded – by a demonstrator filming the resistance efforts outside before police breached Hamilton Hall – was a protester dramatically rolling himself down the wide front steps. His flop of a performance was worth, at minimum, a yellow card from a professional soccer referee or, at most, a gold statue from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At the end of the night, no injuries had been seen or reported during or after the removal of the trespassers. It was just another of the student group’s demonstrably false claims.

The men and women of the NYPD take their public-safety role in society very seriously. We safeguard hundreds of peaceful protests and rallies each year in New York City. We have more experience protecting and facilitating First Amendment rights than any other municipal police department in the nation. What we learned a long time ago is that reversing the roles between offender and victim is a tactic often employed by professional demonstrators and their sympathizers (the same method exploited by sex offenders and perpetrators of domestic violence). It is an insidious form of psychological manipulation – “gaslighting” – usually displayed through hyperbolic statements like those detailed in this group’s email. 

Simply put: On the night of April 30, the charges brought against those who refused to leave Columbia ranged from burglary to criminal mischief to trespassing. And one plain fact remains: Those arrested at Hamilton Hall were not victims. And despite their urgent imploring to the contrary, they never will be.

– NYPD statement to The Megyn Kelly Show

“Boom, NYPD, that’s the way it’s done,” Megyn said. “These people are off their rocker. These are not well people.”

A ‘Bone Chilling’ Premise

To that point, the letter went on to criticize the “trope” of the “outside agitator,” calling it “beyond tired.” And the group took aim at Jews who do not support the ‘cause’:

“On the safety of Jews, from the Jewish members of CLS-NLG: We have repeated to the point of exhaustion that the protection of Jewish students and faculty is a dangerous, flimsy pretext for Colombia’s violence… Any Jews speaking out against genocide, Israel, or the U.S. war machine… is not safe… 

To Jewish students, faculty, and trustees blocking divestment and urging the violent crackdowns on campus: you threaten everyone’s safety. Yet you continue to claim to speak for all Jews. Keep our names out your mouths… 

No Jew is safe until everyone is safe, and no Jew is free until Palestine is free.” 

Weiss, who is Jewish, called the entire letter “bone chilling” but said that last part is particularly hard to believe. “They are basically saying that unless you cut off an absolutely essential part of your religious, ethnic peoplehood identity, you yourself are a threat to humanity and to peace,” she said. “Haven’t we heard that before?”

In her view, the message harkens back to another dark moment in history for the Jewish people. “The very same bargain that was put to Jews in other times and places,” she explained. “Back then, there was no state of Israel, so it was, ‘Hey, you want to remain a Jew and safe in the Soviet Union? No problem. We’re communist society. You have to renounce God and religiosity.'”

The terms may be different today, but Weiss believes the message is the same. “Now it is, ‘You want to be safe and be a Jew in progressive, twenty-first century America? No problem. You just have to denounce the State of Israel,'” she said. “It’s the exact same bargain again.”

Ultimately, she was concerned about where this all leads. “The historical echo of this is just so scary to hear in 2024 because it is just a predicate to violence,” Weiss concluded. “They are justifying the revolutionary violence by saying that [they way] to stop this thing that we have declared a genocide, which is actually a just war that was started by Hamas… is by essentially a modern, forcible conversion of Jews out of Zionism.” 

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 788 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.