NEW REPORT: “Outside Agitators at Columbia University’s Encampments”

Faces covered in keffiyehs parroting chants of their leaders and the iconic Hamilton Hall “takeover” captured the nation’s attention during the antisemitic encampments at Columbia University (Columbia) in April 2024. During the months-long insurrection, the media and public officials were preoccupied with whether the encampments were led by students or outsiders.

Based on comprehensive research, Canary Mission has found that the “spontaneous” protests at Columbia were not merely student-driven. Rather, terror-supporting outsiders played a central role in leading the action and crafting the messaging.

University administrators, under the weak leadership of President Minouche Shafik, allowed the encampments to devolve into hotbeds of Jew-hatred and demonization of Israel.

As Canary Mission documented, long before October 7 Columbia faculty had created an environment of pervasive antisemitism.

On April 18, 2024, after the first encampment got out of control, Shafik finally asked the New York Police Department (NYPD) to break it up. Protesters promptly returned and set up a second encampment.

The protests reached an apex when a group of activists broke into a campus building, holding janitors hostage and boasting on Telegram, “COLUMBIA STUDENTS HAVE TAKEN HAMILTON BUILDING.”

Recent events further exhibited the type of antisemitic attitudes embedded in the campus culture. For example,

  • In May 2024, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a no-confidence resolution admonishing Shafik’s handling of the encampments, claiming that she “put students at risk by calling police to clear out an encampment in April and violated fundamental requirements of academic freedom.”  The professors’ blatant siding with the protesters further shows how dismissive they are of the antisemitic rhetoric at the encampments and the safety of Jewish students.
  • The administration’s contempt for Jewish students on campus was in full display in July 2024, when three deans of the university were put on leave after antisemitic text messages that they authored were exposed in the media.

Once again, Shafik was forced to call on the NYPD to evacuate the protesters. This time she said:

“We believe that while the group who broke into the building includes students, it is led by individuals who are not affiliated with the University. The individuals who have occupied Hamilton Hall have vandalized University property and are trespassing.”

Some tried to position the encampments as legitimate student protests and balked at the mere use of the term “outside agitators.” In reality, pro-terror activist groups like Within Our Lifetime (WOL) urged outsiders to support the encampments even if they were not allowed inside the university gates and played a pivotal role in organizing the protests and in their escalation.

Prominent anti-Israel activists made numerous and vocal appearances at the Columbia encampments. Among those instigating the crowds were WOL leaders Nerdeen Kiswani and Rohaan Gill.


Anti-Israel public figure Cornel West literally jumped a fence in order to spread his message of support. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made an appearance with her daughter, who was arrested for trespassing at the Columbia encampment and subsequently suspended from Barnard College (Columbia’s sister school). At the encampment, Omar made the outrageous statement, “People don’t care about the fact that all Jewish kids should be kept safe…we should not have to tolerate antisemitism or bigotry for all Jewish students, whether they are pro-genocide or anti-genocide.”

Other outside activists who participated in the encampments

Lisa Fithian, a professional agitator, was arguably the highest-profile personality directing the protests at Columbia. Fithian was captured on film leading the break-in to Hamilton Hall. Her participation warranted mentions in Politico and The New York Times

Lillian House – According to the Columbia Spectator, House was one of the protest leaders at the university from the start of the encampments. House was arrested several times across the United States. When asked by Fox News about the atrocities of October 7, she backed away from the camera and refused to discuss whether she thought the atrocities were a false narrative.

Nicquel Holmes, a recruitment assistant for The City University of New York (CUNY), was captured on video by Project Veritas outside the gate of Columbia. Using the name Luna, Holmes described her duties as an encampment “cop watcher” for WOL, which she said meant “[keeping] tabs on what [the police are] doing.” In the video, Holmes also asserts that Zionist Jews are responsible for 9/11. Her social media is filled with antisemitic and anti-Israel content, including a video of Louis Farrakhan talking about “the satanic Jews that control everything” and a song with the lyrics, “Israel’s a bitch.”

Chris Smalls, a labor organizer and anti-Israel activist, spoke at the encampment connecting the labor movement to the war in Gaza. On October 13, 2023, he posted on X, “The people united will never be defeated so yes it’s Free Palestine because we’re not Free until we’re all Free from the river to the Sea!”

Zaid Jaloudi, an activist from Hatem Bazian’s antisemitic organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), was filmed speaking in front of Columbia. His speech included antisemitic and anti-Israel tropes, including accusations of ethnic cleansing, genocide and white supremacy on Israel’s part.

Nora Fayad Rauhouse, who claims to be a “UX Designer and Founder with a passion for creating human experiences in both digital and beverage form,” protested outside of Columbia, shouting, “We are all Hamas!” Her posts on social media include, “Intifada is the only solution.”

Ahmed Zeineldine appeared at Columbia on April 19, 2024, leading the chant, “One solution, revolution!” and was recorded at the encampment on April 21 as well. He is reportedly an activist with The People’s Forum in New York City, a non-profit organization that endorses terrorism, promotes PFLP terrorists and advocates to overthrow the U.S. government.

Abir Eldada

Abir Eldada is a student pilot who expressed willingness to be a martyr and idolized the Hamas terrorist organization. She has spread anti-Semitism and promoted hatred of Israel, Zionists and the police.

Ala Jaarah

Ala Jaarah was arrested multiple times during anti-Israel encampment protests at the City University of New York in May 2024. She expressed support for Hamas terrorism, spread anti-Semitism, called for intifada and promoted hatred of Zionists and Israel.

Avery Reed

Avery Reed was reportedly arrested at an illegal anti-Israel encampment at Columbia University during Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists.

Darrion Hun

Darrion Hun spread hatred of Israel during Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists. Hun also participated in an illegal anti-Israel protest encampment at Columbia University in April 2024.

Shafira Khan

Shafira Khan expressed support for Hamas terrorism, called for intifada and spread hatred of Israel and America. She is a supporter of BDS Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

Daniel Joslyn

Daniel Joslyn promoted incitement, spread hatred of Israel online, and called for Israel’s destruction while leading chants at anti-Israel protests outside Columbia University.

EDITORS NOTE: This Canary Mission Report is republished with permission.  ©All rights reserved.

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