Originally, the crowd of 300 was going to have invited pro-Israel students and alumni who wanted to hear Danon speak, but the university would not allow this.
According to The Algemeiner, Columbia University forced SSI to slash the number of invited student, faculty, and alumni attendees down to 20, including the ambassador’s security detail. They also forced SSI to submit the list of attendees for pre-approval. This left only 10 spots open.
The reason is that anti-Israel protesters planned an event on Facebook called “Racists Not Welcome” by the groups Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Columbia University Apartheid Divest to disrupt Danon’s speech. According to event’s Facebook page, they planned to protest Danon for various reasons, among those that he “cheers the murder of activists delivering aid to Gaza,” and that he “is a cheerleader for Trump and the Republican right.”
The aggressive feelings by anti-Israel students toward those who support Israel has created an atmosphere on campus that SSI Columbia chapter President Rudy Rochman described as feeling like a “war zone.” According to him, this is typical for anyone who supports Israel at the Columbia University campus.
“You can survive here if you stick to yourself and don’t express your opinions. If you stand up for Israel, you are viciously shamed, targeted and slandered by these terrorist sympathizers who call Hamas a ‘liberation organization.’ This is the life we activists live here on campus,” said Rochman.
When the time for Danon’s speech came, the anti-Israel protesters made good on their plan as footage captured from various people shows. Protesters planted themselves in the audience, or barged into the room only to erupt in chants such as “racists not welcome,” and “one, two, three, four, occupation no more.”
In response, Amb. Danon stated, "As Israel’s ambassador to the UN, I never shy away from speaking the truth and standing up for my country. Threats of violence and protests do not deter the brave students who stand on the front lines against the forces of BDS on campuses across the US, and those forces will not stop me from speaking in any place, and at any time, on behalf of the world’s only Jewish state."
A Columbia University spokesman has stated that the “small number” of students that disrupted the event would be dealt with “under the Rules of University Conduct.”
These people don't recognize Israel's Right to exist. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and that is not going to change. pic.twitter.com/1967N2shqK— Ambassador Danon (@dannydanon) February 14, 2017