Alleged Stink Bomb Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Columbia University

( – On Friday January 19, a pro-Palestinian protest led by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) took place at Columbia University. Both groups had previously been suspended from the campus for threatening rhetoric and intimidation which would bar them from holding events there. However, the protest took place but was marred by several protesters complaining of putrid smells during the protest and later of the lingering smell on their clothes as well as symptoms such as nausea and headaches which prompted some to see medical help.

The investigation is still ongoing so the exact nature of the “stink bomb” attack has yet to be ascertained. Some students claim to have been sprayed with a chemical weapon or to have seen people spraying it into the air during the protest but there are also reports that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has recovered video that shows two men, possibly disguised in traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, spraying an unknown substance on a light pole in the area before the protest. NYPD has not released the video, but the University says they have already identified the perpetrators and they have been banned from campus.

NYPD says the first reports of the alleged chemical attack took place on Saturday January 20, the day after the attack. Protesters who were affected by the noxious spray described symptoms of nausea, vomiting, burning sensation in the eyes, irritation in the nasal area, headaches and a terrible smell that does not wash off even after multiple showers. Some students were hospitalized right away, and others sought medical attention after symptoms continued to persist days later. Three students claim that the unknown spray was “skunk” which they say is an Israeli-developed chemical used for crowd control.

Some of the students claim that the two men who were spraying the substance are former or current Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and that they were shouting antisemitic remarks at Jewish protestors. Columbia University is working closely with the NYPD on the investigation but has released no further details amid calls for justice. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine made a post on social media site Threads condemning violence against protestors and asserting that the perpetrators should face serious consequences for their actions.

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