The Students for Justice in Palestine Conference, being held at Columbia University in New York, was wrapping up its final day in the city October 16th; a slew of students and college alumni from across the United States of America were attending workshops which discussed legal activism, student rights, divestment initiatives and Israeli Apartheid Week on US campuses.
Students registered for a number of workshops they found most applicable to their Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization as well as what interested them re: Israel-Palestine. I was heading to see a friend of mine, Adam Akkad, speak alongside Jewish-American activist Anna Baltzer on how to implement an effective divestment campaign on University campuses. During the fairly long trek towards Columbia University I took notice of a group of mature individuals converging in public view in what looked like a small protest in front of Columbia’s main entrance. I was drawn towards the?crowd?out of sheer energetic curiosity; Israeli flags soon engulfed my field of vision. Pro-Israel protesters had camped out in front one of Columbia University’s gates – the entrance-way which led to the main campus lawn. There was security present; two security officers who may or may not have been stationed at the University as per their usual routine and an NYPD officer who had parked his vehicle on the side of the nearest street.