Columbia University Professor Shai Davidai has become well known in recent months for standing up and speaking against the pro-Palestinian protests at his university. Davidai participated in the Arutz Sheva Jerusalem Conference in New York on Sunday.

"Ever since I started speaking out, I didn't see it as a fight," Prof. Davidai says. "I was just in pain, and I was speaking out from pain. I was talking about my own pain and people say, ‘No you weren't.’ I tapped into a collective pain. So, I was speaking about my pain and I did not realize how many of us were experiencing the exact same pain.”

He knows that he, “has many things to say about that. I've learned about American media that they always knew it was happening, but only after it's happening, and they never know that it's happening before, because honestly no one knew it was happening. Very few people who are writing books about it or writing articles about it, knew it was happening. Most of us, including myself, were caught completely off guard and the American media, you know this started on campus at Columbia on October 12th, they started talking about it in April. When I went on media in April and they asked me where this is coming from, how surprising is this, I said, ‘No, it's not surprising. You haven't been listening. I've been telling you since October. The Israeli media knew very well what's happening and was on top of it. But if you're a non-Jew somewhere in the Midwest, you wouldn't know about it, because the media wasn't telling you.”

Prof. Davidai tells that, “At Columbia's campus, it began on October 8th, when they started writing a letter, referring to October 7th as yesterday's event, calling it an historic event. On October 8th we had a Professor Joseph Massad, who wrote about his jubilation and how awesome it was. So, it really started while the massacre was going on. I think this is something that people don't understand. They are not against war, they are not for peace; they are for Hamas and they started to celebrate and excuse Hamas while Hamas was still killing civilians in Israel. You know everyone likes to talk about context. They want to talk about the context and everything. Well before we talk about the context, let's talk about the facts and that's something that they don't want to talk about because the facts are on our side. But, it really did start with the first protest we had at Columbia on October 12th, before a single IDF soldier had even stepped foot in Gaza.”

Prof. Davidai explains that he, “Puts this in the category of hate, and the hate is hate for Israel and hate for Jews as a community and they're polite. I call them polite protesters. You'll come and they'll sit one-on-one with you. They'll be completely polite with you. You come with a minyan, with nine other visibly Jewish people, and all of a sudden they hate you. So, I have no problem with people's politics, with people’s ideologies, from the left from the right, as long as they come out of love, out of trying to build a better world. But this is not what's happening. What's happening on campuses is out of hate and out of destruction. They want to destroy something. They even define themselves not as something positive, but as something negative. They define themselves as anti-Zionist, meaning that their only reason of existence is to object to us existing.”

Prof. Davidai describes points of actual imminent fear: "There was one night in mid-April where things got so out of hand on campus, it was a Saturday night and I stayed up all night, because we were trying to figure out how to help the students evacuate their dorms. They were afraid to leave their dorms. They wanted to go home. Their parents were asking them to come home. They were worried about evacuating their dorms and being attacked. Another student at Columbia, who's from Belgium, and his parents begged him to come home and he asked me what should he do, because his grandmother in Belgium was pushed out of University by the Nazis and they never let her back on and he was afraid that if I leave now maybe I don't have a place to come back to. It was a real fear and there is still a fear. I don't confuse things and I tell people, ‘don't mistake the silence for lack of violence, because they are violent.’ Their goal is violence. Sometimes we use nonviolent means to achieve that goal.”

He has understood that, “What we found after October 7th is that the Jewish people in the Diaspora cannot exist without a Jewish State and we've also found out that a Jewish State cannot exist without a Diaspora if we think about the amount of money and support that came in volunteers and support. So I think the state of Israel has a responsibility to embrace and hug every Jewish person in the Diaspora, regardless of her religious belief, regardless of her politics, just because they are Jewish and give especially the young people the resources they need to keep fighting, because they are fighting. They are fighting for our hostages and they are fighting for our right to defend ourselves. Just like they can't exist without the state, the state cannot exist without the Diaspora. So, I just hope that that tight connection remains tight even after the war ends, and hopefully all the hostages come home alive.”

Prof. Davidai explains that, “The next big problem which has always been a problem on US campuses is the professors. The media likes to focus on the students, because it's sexier, because it's flashier, but we have professors that openly support Hamas at Columbia and Berkeley and NYU and Rutgers and the US society, not Jewish people, the society as a whole needs to figure out what do we do about professors that support terrorism and hate in the United States. Until we figure that out we're just going to keep replaying this again and again.”

Prof. Davidai concludes with an encouraging message, “I have to tell you as someone who is on the ground, the Jewish students and the Jewish community are strong. They are resilient. All they need is us the older generation to come and tell them, ‘Whatever you need, we have your back,’ because they are incredible.”