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Twitter users react to Afghan TV host held at gunpoint during news segment

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By Jenny Goldsberry

An Afghan TV host was held at gunpoint during his program on Sunday. His show, ironically titled “Peace Studio,” revealed two Taliban fighters in the background with rifles in their hands posing in a threatening position behind the television host.

First, the host assured his audience that all was well. He recommended all Afghans “cooperate with [the Taliban] and should not be afraid.”

Next the segment featured an interview with a Taliban fighter. According to BBC journalist Kian Sharifi, the fighter “presumably outranks the rest of the lot in the studio.”

Executive Director of the United Nations Watch Hillel Neuer lamented the loss of the freedom of the press. “Freedom of the press today in Afghanistan means you are free to read out the Taliban script while over your shoulder stand crazed-looking Jihadis with guns,” Neuer tweeted.

Then Macdonald-Laurier Institute senior fellow Mariam Memarsadeghi compared the segment to an Orewellian novel. “This is Afghanistan’s new state TV,” she tweeted. “Deranged-looking Taliban gunmen standing behind the anchor. ‘Peace Studio’ sign above them. Beyond Orwellian. Not just propaganda, it’s terror. Meanwhile Biden admin is (still) politely asking Taliban to show good behavior. Unconscionable.”

Currently the Taliban has complete control of the capital city Kabul. Even at the U.S.-controlled airport, the Taliban runs checkpoints just outside its gates.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Columbia alumni are also anti-Israel, threaten to withhold $77 million in donations

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2,000 people claiming to be Columbia University alumni have signed a letter pledging to “withhold all financial, programmatic, and academic support” from the institution until it meets the demands of anti-Israel protesters. The result is $77 million in donations is at risk.

National Review reports that the letter, addressed to Columbia president Minouche Shafik and the school’s trustees, expresses support for the protesters who oppose the university’s “continued collaboration with the Israeli government’s ongoing genocidal violence against Palestinians.”

“The movement for Palestinian liberation, on campus and globally, is often led by Jewish people of many nations,” the letter says. “Weaponizing claims about antisemitism to silence student speech is based on faulty logic, harms Jewish students, and distracts from true antisemitism, including the attempts by a craven American right to tokenize, exploit, and appropriate Jewish trauma and resilience.”

There does not appear to be a process to verify that people who sign the letters are, in fact, Columbia alumni. It allows people to sign anonymously.

The letter condemns the “administration’s brutal repression of student speech and assembly,” specifically president Shafik’s decision to call in the New York Police Department Strategic Response Group on protesters. Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters were arrested at Columbia and at the City College of New York on April 30, including some who barricaded themselves inside a campus admissions building.

Signatories of the letter are pledging to withhold donations until the university meets 13 demands, including: that it divests from companies that “fund or profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation of Palestine”; calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war; removes Shafik as president; bans the NYPD from campus; and drops charges against student activists, reverses disciplinary measures against them, and finances the healthcare for students who were “brutalized” by the police.

The website where the letter is shared claims that the signatories have previously provided over $67 million in financial contributions to Columbia, and that over $77 million in donations are now at risk.

The letter also claims that the university “failed to hold accountable the former Israeli soldiers who carried out a chemical attack on protesting students in January 2024.” That seems to be a reference to an incident involving anti-Israel protesters who told the student-run Columbia Spectator that during a demonstration earlier this year they were sprayed with “skunk,” a chemical developed by the Israeli Defense Forces.

While this letter is from supporters of the anti-Israel protesters, Columbia has also received pushback from opponents who say the school is allowing protesters to break the law, disrupt the educational environment, and harass Jewish students, adds National Review.

On Monday, 13 federal judges sent a letter to Columbia leaders saying they will no longer hire the school’s students as clerks due to their behavior and the school’s mismanagement of anti-Israel protests, writing that “Columbia has disqualified itself from educating the future leaders of our country.”

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a Columbia alumnus, said in April that he would withhold donations from the university due to the anti-Israel protests.

“I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country,” Kraft said in a statement. “I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”

 

 

 

 

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