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Arrest of Ilhan Omar’s daughter at Columbia protest called ‘political reprisal’ by fellow squad member

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New York City, April 19, 2024 – A wave of controversy has erupted following the arrest of Isra Hirsi, daughter of prominent congresswoman Ilhan Omar, during heated anti-Israel protests at Columbia University. The demonstrations, which began on Wednesday, quickly escalated into an overnight encampment, with fiery calls for an intifada and denouncements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The arrest of Hirsi, an organizer with the campus group Apartheid Divest, has drawn sharp criticism from Rep. Jamaal Bowman. The New York Democrat alleged the arrest was a “political reprisal” against Omar for her forceful questioning of Columbia’s leadership over their stance on free speech the previous day.

“The day after @IlhanMN questioned Columbia leadership’s commitment to free academic expression, the school suspended her daughter?” Bowman stated on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter). “It’s clear what is happening here. Our educational institutions should not be in the business of political reprisals.”

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The Dramatic Scenes on Campus

The seeds of the protest were sown on Wednesday morning when dozens of pro-Palestinian activists descended on Columbia’s main lawn. Their presence quickly swelled into an encampment dubbed the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” by Hirsi and her fellow demonstrators.

As night fell, the scene intensified with rallying cries reverberating across the prestigious Ivy League campus. Footage circulated on social media captured chants calling for the death of Netanyahu and a new Palestinian intifada – reflecting escalating tensions in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the New York Police Department, Hirsi was among over 100 protesters issued summonses for trespassing during the demonstrations. Eyewitness reports describe her being placed in flexible handcuffs or zip ties before her arrest.

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A Defiant Stance

Despite her arrest, Hirsi displayed an unwavering defiance upon her release from police custody Thursday evening. Emerging from Manhattan’s 1 Police Plaza headquarters, she smilingly waved to supporters, resolute in her commitment to the protest’s cause.

“Those of us in Gaza Solidarity Encampment will not be intimidated,” Hirsi asserted on X. “We will stand resolute until our demands are met.”

Among the protester’s stated demands are Columbia’s divestment from companies deemed complicit in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, full transparency surrounding the university’s investments, and amnesty for all students disciplined during the demonstrations.

Hirsi also revealed that she had been suspended from the prestigious Barnard College – one of Columbia’s four undergraduate schools – for “standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing genocide.”

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A Fiery Congressional Hearing

The controversy gained national prominence the previous day when Omar grilled Columbia administrators during a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. The Minnesota lawmaker raised concerns over an alleged “attack” involving a “toxic chemical substance” during the campus protests.

However, court documents indicate the substance in question was merely a novelty flatulence spray marketed as “Liquid A–” and “Wet Farts” – decidedly less menacing than Omar’s depiction suggested.

As the dust settles on this tumultuous series of events, all eyes remain fixed on the escalating situation in New York City. With protests showing no signs of abating and allegations of political retaliation swirling, it seems this charged intersection of student activism and geopolitical tensions is far from resolved.



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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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