“I Know, Because I Do” November 9, 2023November 8, 2023 But first — “I’m calling from Israeli intelligence. We have the order to bomb. You have two hours.” An extraordinary warning call to a Palestinian dentist starts the panicked evacuation of a Gazan neighbourhood. As gripping a story as they come. And now — Shai Davidai: I am an assistant professor at Columbia Business School. I am a father, a husband, an uncle, and a son. I am a forty-year-old man, and last week I found myself crying in front of a group of complete strangers. . . . I stood on Columbia University’s main campus and pleaded with my employer to protect me and help me protect the thousands of Jewish students whose lives and safety have been entrusted to us by worried parents all across the United States. I pleaded with my employer to help me protect the lives of thousands of Jewish students from pro-terror student organizations who openly laud Hamas—an internationally recognized terrorist organization. I pleaded with the presidents of colleges and universities all around the country to take a clear moral stance against rape and torture and the kidnapping of helpless civilians. I pleaded with colleges and universities to live up to their stated mission of humanism and enlightenment. I pleaded—and still plead—because the silence of college presidents all across the country is deafening. I am not tenured. I could be fired for this. But if my research into behavioral psychology has taught me anything, it’s that looking back on my life, I am more likely to regret not taking a stance. I can’t afford not to take a stance. Not when students’ lives are on the line. Not when my children’s lives are on the line. My children may be American citizens, but, through their mother and me, they are Israelis, too. And because they are Israelis, because they are Jews, I fear for them. I fear for my two-year-old daughter, who’s funny and brave and thinks everyone in the world is her friend. I fear for my seven-year-old son, who still asks me to sit next to his bed for a few minutes every night when I tuck him into bed. I fear, because there are student organizations on my own campus who see my beautiful children as legitimate targets. I fear, because the president of my university—my very own employer—refuses to speak up against such senseless violence and hatred. Let’s call this what it is. This is cowardice. I see my son’s and daughter’s faces in the faces of the hundreds of innocent children and teenagers who were murdered, tortured, raped, brutalized, and kidnapped on October 7th. For Hamas and its supporters, those children are acceptable targets. And right now, in colleges and universities all across the country, there are hundreds of pro-terror student organizations that are celebrating these vile crimes against humanity. This is what the President of Columbia is refusing to condemn. This is what the President of Harvard is refusing to condemn. This is what the Presidents of Yale and NYU and UC Berkeley and many other “enlightened” institutions throughout the country are refusing to condemn. They would never allow student organizations to celebrate the senseless loss of life in the horrific attacks of 9/11. They would never allow student organizations to celebrate the horrific murder of George Floyd. They would never allow student organizations to celebrate the mass shooting of more than 100 LGBTQ+ people in an Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016. And yet, when it comes to Jewish lives—when it comes to my own children’s lives—they could care less. Let me be as clear as I can: This is not about being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. This is about making a clear distinction between legitimate resistance and unspeakable crimes against humanity. This is about human decency. You can support the rights of millions of innocent Palestinians and still take a moral stance against heinous violence and brutality. I know, because I do. You can spend your adult life advocating for the establishment of a prosperous Palestinian state next to a prosperous Israeli state and still be willing to draw the line at rape. I know, because I do. You can be a lefty and a softy who can’t fathom why we can’t just end this senseless cycle of violence yet still shout at the top of your lungs that shooting babies in their cribs and burning their corpses is just plain evil. Plain plain evil. I know, because I am and I do. You can be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine and anti-terror. I know, because I am. Parents from all across the country have reached out to me in the past week asking if their kids are safe. Thousands of worried parents who have been losing sleep as they see their children’s campuses rampaged by extremist organizations that openly celebrate and encourage terrorism. Thousands of moms and dads who only want to make sure that their children are protected from harm. To all those parents, I reply: No. Your children are not safe. Because, as a professor, I can tell you that universities across the country would rather appease pro-terror campus coalitions than care for their Jewish students. Because, as a professor, I can tell you that the presidents of universities all across the U.S. are more concerned with getting bad press than with getting your children home safely. What sort of education is your child getting at a place that refuses to condemn terror-sympathizing organizations and allows them to roam freely on campus? What sort of education is your child getting at a place that gives a platform and a mix to organizations that celebrate the execution of infants in their cribs? The raping of teenagers? The kidnapping of toddlers? The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of universities throughout the country is now undeniable. But I know that if we all work together we can make a real difference. This is not about me. I’m not some leader. I’m just a dad. I’m just a dad who is scared and who is willing to put EVERYTHING on the line to protect his children. Many of you have reached out in the past days, and your messages have brought me immense light into a very dark time. I am so extremely inspired by the stories people have been sending me. People are telling me about the committees they’ve formed and the PTAs they’ve joined and the politicians they’ve called and TV and radio shows to which they have called-in, demanding that their voice be heard. . . . If you want to get in touch and let me know about all that you have, are, and will be doing at your job, school, alma mater, neighborhood, and so forth, please email me. [And] please help me spread this message. . . . I know it’s weird, but can I please ask you to email this to all your friends and post it on all your social media profiles? I really just want the message to get through. Thank you!☺️ As I suggested last week, Israeli and Palestinian civilians share a common enemy: Hamas. May every possible civilian life be spared, and all possible humanitarian aid be provided, as that enemy is defeated.