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The Image Of Columbia University President Giving a Nazi Salute Is Altered

Ahmed Sabry Ahmed Sabry
27th April 2024
The Image Of Columbia University President Giving a Nazi Salute Is Altered
Nemat Shafik did not give a Nazi salute (X)

The Claim

Columbia University President Accidentally Gives Nazi Salute When Being Sworn In For Congressional Testimony.

Emerging story

Recently, social media users have been circulating an image claiming to depict the President of Columbia University, Nemat Shafik, inadvertently making a Nazi salute while being sworn in during Congressional testimony.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating video and found the claim to be fake. 

Misbar's team found that the image has been an altered and a modified version of a screenshot captured from a video from the congressional hearing on PBS Newshour’s YouTube channel.

A supporting image within the article body

Although Shafik's right hand has been digitally modified, her left hand's position and her belongings in the image correspond to that in the video. Furthermore, the individuals seated in the background retain their original positions, despite alterations to their facial features.

A person raising her hand

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Columbia University's President, Nemat Shafik

Nemat Shafik, an academic and economic policy expert born in Egypt, assumed the presidency of Columbia University in July 2023. In less than a year, she has faced the challenge of following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Lee C. Bollinger, who held the position for the longest tenure among Ivy League presidents at the time of his departure, as reported by Columbia.

Shafik's family fled Egypt during the political and economic unrest of the 1960s, and she grew up in the American South, according to Columbia's records. With a distinguished career, Shafik became the youngest-ever vice president at the World Bank at the age of 36. She has held prominent roles in various institutions, including the UK's Department for International Development, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of England. After serving in these capacities, she returned to academia in 2017 as a member of the faculty at the London School of Economics.

Shafik's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in economics and politics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, a master's degree in economics from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in economics from Oxford University.

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Scrutiny Mounts Over Shafik's Handling of Campus Protests at Columbia

Shafik is currently facing scrutiny for her management of protests on the Columbia campus related to the war in Gaza.

At Columbia University, there is widespread anger among students, faculty, and left-leaning politicians regarding Shafik's decision to allow the New York Police Department to intervene and disperse student protests on campus. These protests were advocating for the university to sever its economic and academic connections with Israel. Critics argue that the crackdown on these protests, which led to over 100 arrests, was a breach of academic freedom. Concurrently, other students, religious organizations, and conservative politicians assert that the administration has not adequately addressed instances of antisemitism within Columbia's campus and at protests outside its premises.

Escalating Pro-Palestinian Protests Prompt National Guard Contemplation

The wave of pro-Palestinian protests sweeping through American universities has expanded to additional campuses, prompting suggestions from a prominent Republican leader, House Speaker Mike Johnson, that the National Guard could be deployed.

Johnson's remarks are likely to resonate strongly in a nation where the memory of the 1970 incident, where National Guardsmen fatally shot unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War, remains vivid in public consciousness. Protests erupted most recently at the University of Southern California and in Texas, where a tense standoff unfolded between students and police clad in riot gear, resulting in the detention of over 20 individuals.

These events mark the latest clash between law enforcement and students demonstrating against Israel's military campaign in Gaza. The movement originated at Columbia University in New York City, where university authorities called in law enforcement to disperse an occupation, leading to numerous arrests the previous week.

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