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Israeli Columbia student refutes protesters' claims about Jewish state: 'How can you call me a Nazi?'

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A Jewish Columbia University student who hails from Israel and served as a national medic and IDF servicemember called out anti-Israel protesters whose chaos has metastasized nationally in an interview with Fox News’ Guy Benson .

The 20-year-old medical student, who is referred as “Ethan,” offered commentary on the protests and refuted the anti-Zionist sentiments and Holocaust-denying rhetoric of many of those causing mayhem on campus in an interview Wednesday on “The Guy Benson Show” on Fox News Radio.

Ethan said it had been his dream to attend Columbia, citing his family’s apparent working-class status and New York City’s renown as the hub of American medicine and expertise, saying much of what protesters claim is flawed, dangerous or untrue.

“I wanted to break limits. I wanted to go and receive the best education I could, and again, and unfortunately now it’s kind of questionable, but I started my medical career as a volunteer at Tel Aviv Medical Center in the pediatric E.R.,” Ethan told “The Guy Benson Show.”


He recounted working as a medic for Magen David Adom — “The Red Shield of David” — which is Israel’s national EMT service, and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, telling host Guy Benson his area of service was related to that, in the form of being a medical unit commander.

Ethan said that unlike the protesters’ claims that Israel is a nefarious force, that in his role as an EMT he has treated at least one anti-Israel terrorist, and that most Israelis want to live peacefully alongside ethnic Palestinians.


“I can tell you from firsthand — compared to those people who protest right now outside — that I lived there, I treated people there rescuing and actively putting my life in danger… to save people that are from a country that’s considered to be an enemy country,” he said, adding that Israelis writ large believe, as their American allies do, in freedom of speech, even if it is countervailing.

“I didn’t care, and if you will speak with the Israelis or Jewish people, no one cares. It’s like, people want peace. I don’t know anyone who comes and says, ‘I resist to Palestine. I resist to Palestinian people,’ and… I haven’t heard people say, ‘Don’t protest for Palestine.'”

He recounted once treating a female terrorist who was wounded while trying to stab soldiers, saying that he had a gun in one hand and a defibrillator in the other as he performed resuscitation on the terrorist.

“If she wasn’t a threat at the moment — yes, Israel and the IDF operate under international laws. We have democratic, very advanced courts and legal systems, and we need to follow the protocols.”


“Generally… to compare the IDF to Hamas is ridiculous — and that’s why we are here,” Ethan said.

He said one of his friend’s fathers remains in Hamas captivity since the Oct. 7 invasion.

“Since then, we saw a very concerning trend in Columbia University especially, when people support Hamas, and, you know, some of them even justify what happened… ” he said.

“But I must say, at the same time I heard a lot of people from the other side condemn those actions, so I do have hope that there is a place for a healthy dialog, but since Oct. 7, my dream started to crumble down and started to [go] from being the thing that I’m the most proud of to be something that I’m not ashamed of, but, like, I don’t want to be on campus.”


Ethan added that he has been speechless when hearing of comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, also expressing that the term “antisemitic” has been a public “taboo” until the radicalism of the countervailing protesters grew into the current firestorm.

He added that there is a difference between being anti-Zionist, or against the state of Israel, and antisemitic, or against the Jewish faith.

“So being anti-Zionist is legit, but if you support Israel… If you support Israel or if you [do] not condemn Israel, you can be part of this camp. You can be part of the side. But if you’re a Jewish [person] that doesn’t stand loudly against the state of Israel, you can’t be part of us. Like, you need actively to call for the destruction of Israel… and then you’re in,” he said of the protests.

He and Benson pointed to the prevalence of the term intifada, an Arabic term for “uprising” that refers to rioting or protesting in Palestinian territories, such as the First Intifada of 1987, which erupted near Jabalia, Gaza, after an Israeli truck struck another vehicle that led to the deaths of four Palestinians.

Ethan said protesters’ claims of the Jewish people or Israelis being a malevolent force are misguided, pointing to his own family history.

He said his grandmother survived the Holocaust, and that he has Arab friends in Israel. Many of his mother’s employees are Muslim and he celebrates Ramadan with them despite being Jewish, Ethan said. One of his grandmothers is also from Libya.

“We speak, and we have so much in common, which makes it even more frustrating that no one is willing to listen to find the common denominator,” he said.


Benson played a clip of a reporter speaking with anti-Israel protesters near NYU this week. 

“I’m smiling because I’m scared,” Ethan told Benson following the clip, as the host called the exchanges a disturbing indictment of their ignorance.

Ethan added that he is openly gay, which leads further confounding feelings when he witnesses anti-Israel protests by other LGBTQ youth.

“When I try to speak with the LGBTQ+ community, I try to explain that they probably can’t be gay in Gaza, it’s like, they probably would be executed,” he said.

Ethan noted Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that “celebrates pride” while others criminalize homosexuality.

“The only response I received was, ‘Shut up, you Nazi,’ and I was like, ‘How can you call me a Nazi when I’m Jewish?'” 

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