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March 3, 2016 4:45 pm

12-Foot-Tall ‘Pro-Israel’ Pinocchio Placed Opposite ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ Display at Columbia U Permanently Deflated by Student Government

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12-foot tall Pinocchio display at Columbia University

12-foot-tall Pinocchio display at Columbia University. Photo: SSI/Facebook.

A 12-foot-tall inflatable Pinocchio prominently featured in a pro-Israel installation at Columbia University has been permanently deflated, according to one of the students in the group that had erected it. The news came Thursday from Columbia’s Student Governing Board (SGB), nearly 48 hours after it held a special meeting to discuss Pinocchio’s fate.

“SGB decided not to approve it,” Rudy Rochman, a co-founder of the Columbia chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), told The Algemeiner. “We will put the rest of our display back up, without the Pinocchio.”

When The Algemeiner asked Rochman whether SGB had given a reason for the decision, he declined to comment.

The controversy began Tuesday early afternoon. Although SSI said it had obtained the proper permit for a “large installation” opposite an “Israeli Apartheid Week” display, as reported Tuesday by The Algemeiner, shortly after inflating the Pinocchio, leaders of the SGB insisted it be taken down. In video footage seen by The Algemeiner, a young woman, identified as SGB Chair Mariam Elnozahy, can be seen telling Rochman that his group needed to remove the Pinocchio.

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In the video, Elnohazy is wearing an “Apartheid Divest” sweatshirt, the logo of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel launched last month at Columbia.

Present also was SGB Vice Chair Karim Nader, a witness to the event informed The Algemeiner, who is also a member of Columbia’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and a supporter of the BDS campaign.

According to Rochman, after an extensive discussion, he agreed to take down the Pinocchio and attend a special meeting called by the SGB for Columbia staff and safety personnel on Tuesday, to discuss whether it would be permitted to be displayed the rest of this week.

Neither Elnohazy nor Nader replied to The Algemeiner’s requests on Tuesday for comment.

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  • Jonathan Burack

    As a proud alumni of the anti-Vietnam War movement of the late 1960s, I stand dumbfounded at the fact that the Jewish students of Columbia tolerated for a second the officious, anti-Semitic and totalitarian bullying of the student government and allowed their Pinocchio to be deflated. Tolerating officious bureaucrats, either student or administration, was inconceivable to us back then. We built our movement on OPPOSITION to such apparatchiks. Jews, you better get ready. You may not like this fight, as the saying goes, but this fight likes you. It will NOT let you alone.

  • Joy Bernstein

    Anyone know someone who could create these as stuffed toys to be handed out at different events? Would be good to gain traction and get the message out. Let Pinocchio become the message — create videos to go viral with the dolls etc. just a thought… #freepinocchio #LetMyPinocchioGo #Truth etc….

  • Nl
  • judorebbe

    Pinocchio is alive and well, and living in the White House, at the UN, and on college campuses across America.

  • A Sander

    So free speech and demonstration’s are OK as long as it is anti Israel which in my view is just another expression for anti-Semitism, but not if it is critical of Islam and the countries that practice some of its more vile extremist actions.

    • Mark Reed

      Well said. How sadly ironic it is that our universities, dedicated to the pursuit of truth and intellectually honest rigor, are in the forefront of the left’s determination to extinguish free expression.

  • Free speech at Columbia University was permanently deflated. The inflatable Pinocchio display was an honest way to expose the intellectually dishonest “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

  • they should put up a large poster of the Pinocchio. it’s a great symbol. shd be at every israel apartheid week. with an extra long nose.
    clearly the partisans of criticizing israel have a lot of trouble handling criticism. it’s a vulnerability to be exploited.

  • sifter

    The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.

    George Orwell

  • LesL

    Very simple.

    Advise Columbia’s alumni office that you will NOT HIRE NOR DO ANY BUSINESS WITH ANY COLUMBIA GRADS unless they publicly come out against BDS.

    alumni@columbia.edu

  • Sally

    Pinoccio needs to be displayed because the BDS and SJP people are lying about Israel being an apartheid State. The true apartheid states are every Islamic country that discriminates against or excludes non Moslems from living there. Those wanting to establish a Caliphate throughout the Middle East want to take over Israel so they will have an unbroken crescent of land. You just have to study the extreme decline of Jews and Christians in the Middle East to know who’s been pushing them out.

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