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Protests Against Israel’s Genocidal War On Gaza Spread Across US Campuses

Khadijah Ali

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Student protests over Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza have spread to many university campuses across the United States. From universities in the east to campuses on the west coast and many colleges in-between, there have been large protests against the US-backed and financed Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.

Protesters include both students and faculty members demanding the universities divest from any US companies that are supplying weapons or providing technical know-how to Israel’s war-machine in Gaza. They are also demanding divestment from Israeli companies and termination of exchange programs because of the genocidal war.

On April 18, students at Columbia University in New York set up a tent encampment in the main square. The university administration called the police to clear it. True to their brutal nature, the police attacked and arrested more than 100 students in the mistaken belief that they would be intimidated and the protest would end.

The police brutality backfired. Far from intimidating students at Columbia, it inspired others across the country to launch their own protests. It also motivated students and faculty at Columbia to regroup.

There is a new phenomenon at play. Students’ encampments are surrounded by faculty members to prevent the police from attacking them. That, however, has not prevented the police from indulging in their customary brutality against faculty as well. This was witnessed at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Professor Noelle McAfee, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Emory was handcuffed and dragged by the police. Videos of her arrest have gone viral on the Internet. Another Emory professor, Caroline Pohlin was slammed to the ground by the police despite her repeated mentioning that she is a faculty member.

To no avail. One policeman put his knee on Professor Pohlin’s neck while another handcuffed her. It was like the Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin strangling to death George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Mercifully, Professor Pohlin was not strangled to death.

Floyd’s plea, “I can’t breathe,” has become a rallying cry for the black community in America.

According to the New York Times, there have been 70 cases of black men being strangled to death by the white police after uttering, “I can’t breathe!”. After the Emory episode, the police might claim that they are equal opportunity stranglers, making no distinction between blacks and whites anymore!

While there is no formal coordination between students protesting at various campuses, there have emerged coalitions of student groups. They have organized protests at their respective campuses. Such protests have now spread to other countries as well, including Britain, Australia and Canada (the universities of Concordia and McGill in Montreal) and Paris University in France. Students at Sorbonne in Paris have also been involved.

There are many American campuses where protests have occurred. In addition to Columbia, The University of Southern California, Ohio State University, George Washington University, California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, New York University, Emory University, Princeton University and Harvard University. The latter’s president Claudine Gay was forced to resign amid allegations that she was not sufficiently harsh on pro-Palestinian students who were allegedly spreading anti-semitism. Only pro-Israeli sentiments are allowed on US campuses.

The University of Southern California canceled its main stage graduation ceremony set for May 10 after campus protests. The university had already canceled a commencement speech by the school’s valedictorian, Asna Tabassum because of her pro-Palestinian views. So much for free speech.

Other universities and colleges where protests have occurred include Tuft University, Emerson College, and MIT, all in Boston. Students at MIT have accused the university of receiving funds from Israel’s defence ministry for research into developing more lethal weapons.

Students at other universities such as North Western, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Pennsylvania, University of Florida, University of Texas, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Arizona State University also held protests against Israel’s war on Gaza. These protests are ongoing and do not appear likely to end anytime soon.

It is important to note that students participating in protests are not all Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims. They include students of all ethnic backgrounds including Latino as well as Jewish students. The latter reject zionism and condemn it as a racist ideology.

Columbia’s president, Nemat Minouche Shafik, faced serious rebuke from faculty members on April 26. She, however, retains her post because of the support of trustees, who have the power to hire or fire the president. Major donors to the university also exercise huge influence on investment decisions by the university.

Students at Columbia are demanding that the university end its investments in businesses linked to Israel, including tech giants Amazon and Google. The latter has a $1.2 billion cloud-computing contract with the zionist entity. Students are also demanding an end to investments in US defence industries profiting from Israel’s war, such as Lockheed Martin.

A report by the university senate’s executive committee, which represents faculty, found Shafik and her administration took “many actions and decisions that have harmed Columbia University,” including calling in police. Following the report, the senate passed a resolution that included a task force to monitor how the administration would make changes going forward.

Would Columbia pay heed to these legitimate concerns? Given its past record, it is highly unlikely. Not just universities but the entire US state machinery including the White House and Congress are under the control of the zionist lobby. Pro-Israel groups like the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have virtually every member of Congress in its pocket.

Others are blackmailed after trapping them in illicit sexual acts. Jeffrey Epstein was notorious for such deeds. He was not only involved in sex trafficking of minors but he had videos of major political figures indulging in illicit sex with minors that he could use for blackmailing purposes.

There were also allegations of his links with the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. He was most likely murdered in prison before he could spill the beans about major politicians and celebrities during his trial.

While welcome, would student protests lead to any meaningful change in the pro-Israeli policies of universities or the American regime? Most observers are skeptical but the students’ determination and dedication to truth and justice cannot be dismissed lightly. It is election year in the US. The country is already deeply divided. The students may yet tip the balance as they did five decades ago during protests against the war in Vietnam.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 3

Shawwal 22, 14452024-05-01

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