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Pro-Palestinian protests spread across US campuses amid police brutality

Crescent International

Students at US campuses are protesting in ever-larger numbers against Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

Protests have spread to most universities despite the police’s customary brutality.

At Columbia University in New York, the administration called the police to disrupt a peaceful sit-in by hundreds of students.

The April 18 assault resulted in more than 100 student arrests.

The university administration thought the police show of force will scare the students away.

Instead, it had the opposite effect.

Students at other universities were appalled at the police brutality at Columbia and launched their own protests.

There are currently ongoing protests at more than 30 universities from the east coast to the west.

These include the University of Southern California, Ohio State University, George Washington University, Brown University, California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, New York University, Emory University, Princeton University, Harvard University, North Western University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida, University of Texas, and Arizona State University.

While there have been widespread protests in the US since the Israeli assault on Gaza that has resulted in more than 34,000 people killed including at least 14,000 children, the student protests are more focused.

They are demanding the universities divest from American companies supplying weapons to Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

American companies like Lockheed Martin have been singled out for supplying lethal weapons to Israel.

Tech giants Amazon and Google have also invested heavily in Israel.

Google has a $1.2 billion cloud-computing contract with the zionist regime.

The students want the universities to divest from American tech giants.

Additionally, they want the universities to divest from Israeli companies and stop all academic exchange programs with the zionist state.

In almost all universities, faculty staff have also joined students whose protests have taken different forms.

At some campuses, such as Columbia, Princeton and Emory, students and faculty set up tents in the university’s main square (aka quadrangle).

At other campuses, students have occupied various buildings.

Far from respecting people’s First Amendment rights to free speech, university administrations have unleashed the police against them.

At Emory University in Atlanta, GA, the police not only attacked students but also faculty members.

Professor Noelle McAfee, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Emory was arrested and handcuffed and dragged by the police.

Videos of her arrest have gone viral on the Internet.

The police slammed another female professor at Emory, Caroline Pohlin to the ground even while she repeatedly told them she was a faculty member.

She was subjected to George Floyd-type strangulation under the knee of policeman Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

While the Emory professor was not strangled to death, it showed that the police have not given up their brutal ways despite Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of Floyd.

It needs pointing out that students participating in these protests are not all Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims.

Students of all ethnic backgrounds including Latino students as well as Jewish students who reject zionism and condemn it as a racist ideology, are part of the protest movement.

Will they succeed in changing their university or US policy toward Israel?

It is highly unlikely given the stranglehold of the pro-Israel lobby on America’s political system.

Given the election year, the chances of students making an impact is quite real.

Their demands cannot be easily dismissed.

Further, students are highly motivated. They will press their demands until they get some results.

It is turning out to be an interesting year in the US.

The country is already deeply polarized with Donald Trump supporters seething with anger.

Most Americans are also fed up of Joe Biden’s policies.

It will be interesting to see how the student protests pan out.

One thing, however, is certain: the pro-Israel lobby has lost its stranglehold on the narrative in America.

The Palestinian point of view is finally being heard.

That is certainly a welcome development.

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