Jamaal Bowman Said That Columbia Protest Was ‘Peaceful’

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said on Thursday that the encampment protest in Columbia University was “completely peaceful” contrary to what is being portrayed on social media.

The lawmaker made the claims during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Alex Wagner Tonight,” saying, “We want the protests to be peaceful. We do not want violent protests. I visited the Columbia encampment last week, and they were completely peaceful. There was a space for mental health supports, there was a library, there was food, there was coffee, there was water, and they were crystal clear on their demands. They are protesting the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

He then suggested that law enforcement were the ones that introduced disorder to the demonstrations.

In his words: “Some of the images that we saw from UCLA and other places made it look like a bunch of disorder. But the majority of these protests are peaceful. When you send in hundreds of military-dressed law enforcement officers into a college, that brings the disorder and that brings the chaos.”

He then brought up reports that a police officer mistakenly fired a gun in Columbia as officers were trying to remove protesters who had taken over a school hall.

Having pointed to the gunshot, Bowman said that that was the only time a gun has been fired at any demonstration since the anti-Israel protests began on campuses across the United States.

“And so, we need educators and professors to do their jobs and create spaces for critical dialogue, critical discussion. And we can’t lose sight [of] what they’re protesting, U.S. dollars going to a country that is bombing and killing and starving children. That is what’s unacceptable,” he continued.

Bowman, in that same appearance, claimed that the “so-called pro-Israel students” at Columbia told him that the media has overblown reports of antisemitism on the campus.

“I also met with so-called pro-Israel students when I was there just to hear about the antisemitism that they have experienced, and they told me, it has been minimal, it has been overblown by the media,” he stated.

According to the Democrat lawmaker, the students told him that they have felt uncomfortable but that they do not feel like their safety has been threatened.