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Israeli-born Columbia professor who called out rampant antisemitism on campus being investigated in ‘clear act of retaliation’

Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School
Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School

An Israeli-born Columbia University professor who gained notoriety for ripping the school’s failure to address rampant antisemitism on campus revealed this week he’s under investigation by the embattled Ivy — a probe he said is a “clear act of retaliation and an attempt to silence me.”

Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School, wrote Friday to his nearly 35,000 “X” followers that the university opened a probe into his “advocacy for the Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff at the university.”

“To say that civil rights are being violated does not begin to capture what Jews and Israelis are forced to endure on campus right now,” he wrote.

Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School, wrote Friday to his nearly 35,000 “X” followers that the university opened a probe into his “advocacy for the Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff at the university.” Stefano Giovannini
Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School, wrote Friday to his nearly 35,000 “X” followers that the university opened a probe into his “advocacy for the Jewish and Israeli students, faculty, and staff at the university.” Stefano Giovannini

Davidai — who considers himself “the most vocal faculty member in the United States and maybe the world” against antisemitism — declined to share details of the investigation, launched last month by Columbia’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office.

“I abhor Islamophobia – and prejudice of any kind,” he told The Post, adding that he supports the rights of Palestinians.

“My problem is with Hamas and support for Hamas. I guess the university somehow thinks that supporting terrorism a protected class. That could be the only explanation for this investigation.”

Aside from his livelihood, Davidai — who has worked at Columbia for five years — claimed what’s at stake is “professors’ ability to call out bad behavior by universities.”

“If they go after me, I can’t even imagine all of the other [faculty] who have done much less and are being silenced by their institution,” he said, adding that other colleagues confided that “it might not be worth it to go public” against their school’s policies.

The beleaguered Ivy is under investigation by Congress and the US Department of Education, and is facing two lawsuits, brought by close to 20 Jewish students, for violations of their civil rights.

“Columbia is an especially bad example of antisemitism on campus that the administration has refused to act on for years,” said Gerard Filitti, a lawyer with The Lawfare Project, a pro-Jewish human and civil rights organization.

Davidai’s investigation was launched last month by Columbia’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office. TNS
Davidai’s investigation was launched last month by Columbia’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office. TNS
Davidai worked at Columbia for five years. Stefano Giovannini
Davidai worked at Columbia for five years. Stefano Giovannini

Filitti blasted the “double standard” at the school that he said existed “long before Oct 7, when students and faculty have complained about antisemitism on campus and feeling unsafe, intimidated, harassed and bullied by pro-Hamas and pro-Palestinian protestors on campus, including professors.”

“We do not comment on personnel matters. As a general matter, if the university receives a formal complaint, it will review and consider the complaint under established processes,” a Columbia spokesman said.

Davidai’s lawyer, Mark W. Lerner, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres, told The Post: “Despite unrelenting pro-Hamas and anti-Semitic demonstrations placing Jewish students at risk, both prior to and since October 7, 2023, Columbia‘s baseless investigation of professor Davidai for demanding that Columbia enforce its policies to protect those students is a flagrant act of discriminatory and unlawful retaliation aimed at silencing him. It will not succeed.”