Holocaust survivor Irving Roth spoke of his experience as a Slovakian Jew during World War II, urging students to support Israel at a Columbia University College Republicans event on Tuesday.
CUCR partnered with Christians United for Israel to bring Roth to campus. The event was attended by approximately 20 individuals, a noticeably smaller audience than the group has had at recent events featuring Anthony Scaramucci and Mike Cernovich.
Roth discussed how his peaceful childhood in then-Czechoslovakia quickly changed with the rise of fascism in Germany in the years leading up to the war.
“I grew up in an inclusive society,” Roth said, “but soon the leadership of Slovakia was based on the same ideology as the German, [as] fascism.”
Roth said he sees parallels between the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust and the current treatment of Israelis by Palestinians.
“All [Palestinians] want is the destruction of the Jewish state and the Jewish people with it,” Roth said.
Roth called for students to be active in ensuring that anti-Israel rhetoric is not preached by professors.
“Your job is to hold your professors accountable for what they say; if they’re preaching hatred and propaganda you’ve got to stand up,” Roth said.
CUFI’s objective lies in working within American schools to facilitate this advocacy for Israel, according to CUFI member Samuel Laurie, who was present at the event.
“We hope to bring people together to have positive dialogue and understand the issues more,” Laurie said.
Compared to the far-right Republican speakers CUCR has hosted over the past year, Roth advocated for a moderate political compass. In particular, he spoke of the dangers of radical thought and extremist rhetoric within the context of the Holocaust.
When Laurie was asked by Spectator how Roth and CUFI fit within the context of CUCR’s controversial speakers, he said he saw no relationship between the provocative speech of others and Roth’s anti-Palestinian rhetoric.
“I don’t think there’s any connection really to that,” Laurie said. “Whoever they choose to have speak is their decision; we’re just here to support our ally Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East.”
CUCR will host another guest speaker, Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, on February 27.