Claim: Columbia University has cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

Fact: The Republic of Colombia has severed ties with Israel, not the Columbia University in New York, US. Reiterating his stance on the war in Gaza, the Republic’s president, Gustavo Petro, announced the decision to break diplomatic relations with Israel on 1 May 2024.

On 1 May 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user @OpenEyeReports posted (archive) the following, accompanied by the hashtag “#ColumbiaUniversity”:

“#Breaking : Columbia University cuts all diplomatic ties with Israel. #ColumbiaUniversity”


Columbia University protests

On 17 April 2024, students of the Columbia University set up a camp at the institute’s Manhattan campus to protest against Israel’s war in Palestine, demanding that the university divest from companies with ties to the Middle Eastern country.

Soon after, Columbia University called in the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which “arrested 108 students who were in the encampments”, according to a report (archive) by The Guardian. The publication quoted an email from the institute’s president, Nemat Shafik, commonly known as Minouche Shafik, in which she said security personnel were invited to clear the protest site as it “severely disrupts campus life, and creates a harassing and intimidating environment for many of our students”.

The protests at Columbia University inspired multiple other demonstrations across the US — as of 25 April, “60 schools [were] reporting on-campus protests”, USA Today wrote (archive) — and around the world, spilling over to campuses in the UK, France, Italy, and Australia, among other countries.

By 2 May, the total number of arrests across the US had risen to 2,200 after at least 200 protesters were detained at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), The Associated Press (AP) reported (archive). Arrests were made “on more than 30 campuses across at least 23 states”, with other schools facing similar protests but without any arrests, CNN said (archive).

Police made “more than 100 arrests” (archive) in a late-night raid on 1 May on Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall, which the protesting students took over and renamed (archive) “Hind’s Hall” to honour the six-year-old Palestinian girl, Hind Rajab, “killed by Israeli military in Gaza on 29 January [2024]”, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator (archive).

The university has also started to suspend students “to ensure safety on our campus”, AFP quoted (archive) its vice president of communications, Ben Chang, as saying.

What’s going on in Gaza?

On 7 October 2023, Hamas attacked (archive) a border area of Israel, sparking the ongoing war (archive) in Palestine. 

Over 35,800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 80,200 injured, as per a 24 May 2024 update (archive) by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At least 1,200 Israelis have been killed and upwards of 5,400 injured, while 125 Israeli hostages remain in captivity.

Ever since the 7 October attack, a flood of misleading, old, and out-of-context pictures, videos, and claims have surfaced in the media.

On 29 December 2023, South Africa invoked (archive) the Genocide Convention — officially the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide — against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), requesting the Court to indicate provisional measures over the war in the Gaza Strip.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reviewed recent news reports and found no mention of Columbia University cutting any sort of ties with Israel.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the term “cutting diplomatic ties” commonly refers to the severing of diplomatic relations between the governments of two countries.

On 1 May 2024, however, the Republic of Colombia announced it would sever diplomatic ties with Israel.

President Gustavo Petro — who “described Israel’s siege of Gaza as ‘genocide’” and Benjamin Netanyahu as “genocidal” — said the decision would be effective Thursday, 2 May, the AP reported (archive).

The publication added, “He previously suspended purchases of weapons from Israel and compared that country’s actions in Gaza to those of Nazi Germany.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz “quickly rebuked the Colombia leader’s comments,” The Guardian wrote (archive), and quoted him as saying, “History will remember that Gustavo Petro decided to side with the most despicable monsters known to mankind.”

Earlier, in March 2024, President Petro had threatened (archive) to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the country did not comply with a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Therefore, the claim that Columbia University has cut diplomatic ties with Israel is false; it is, in fact, the Republic of Colombia that has announced to sever diplomatic relations with Israel.


The X post by @OpenEyeReports has garnered over 3,000 views as of writing time.

Soch Fact Check found the claim circulating here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

Interestingly, the same claim was also made in a March 2024 Facebook post here.

Conclusion: The Republic of Colombia has severed diplomatic relations with Israel; Columbia University has not cut ties with Israel.

Background image in cover photo: columbia

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