New York City –Two former IDF soldiers reportedly attacked a massive pro-Palestinian protest held by students and faculty at Columbia University on Friday Jan. 19, with a chemical weapon known as “Skunk.”
The individuals were wearing fake keffiyehs during the event called “Hands off Yemen and Gaza! No more tuition for the war machine.” This was organized by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapters at Columbia University outside the Low Library.
As a result of the attack, eight students have been hospitalized with burning eyes, headaches and chest pain. The administrators have reportedly failed to reach out to them.
Around 300 participants attended the protest under freezing temperatures. Following the attack, the students stated that they could not remove the stench of the spray from their clothes and bodies for two days, even after visiting Urgent Care.
The Columbia SJP has called for an investigation into the attack citing that the action is illegal and constitutes a hate crime.
“The people who did this were Columbia students who served in the IDF. This was premeditated and done with the aim to hurt students. Columbia needs to take immediate action. This behavior is unacceptable on a college campus,” a Columbia student said.
Skunk is a military-grade chemical and a “malodorant crowd-control weapon” utilized by the IDF. This was first used against Palestinian protests in the West Bank which leaves a foul and lingering smell on the victims, and carries the stench of a “rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer.”
Despite being marketed as a “non-lethal” form of crowd control, several human rights organization including Amnesty International, B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations have all said that it is a form of collective punishment with torturous and humiliating after-effects that “severely impact victims.”
A special soap to repel the stench is available but it’s only limited to police authorities.
Columbia University was one of the first institutions in the US to ban SJP and JVP, the two organizations that played a poignant role in organizing protests against the Israeli regime’s onslaught on Gaza which has now kil-led more 25,000 people.
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