Less than a month ago, Gaza-based terror group Hamas massacred more than 1,000 Israeli civilians — and raped and kidnapped hundreds more — in the largest single-day killing of Jewish people since the Holocaust.
I, like many others, expected the vast majority of Americans to come to Israel’s defense, particularly in light of America’s own history with Islamic extremist terrorism. Instead, I watched aghast as thousands of college students participated in marches, chanted slogans and signed letters glorifying Hamas terrorists as freedom fighters.
Pro-Palestinian students argue Israelites are colonizers that have systematically abused people in the Palestine region since the country’s formation in 1948. They believe Hamas’ actions are justified as an attempt by Palestinians to decolonize their land.
The following compilation, while not exhaustive, is meant to illustrate the depth and breadth of this emerging antisemitism on college campuses. As believers and members of a post-Holocaust America, we cannot let such cancerous beliefs take root in America’s academic institutions.
Student groups at several colleges drafted and signed statements articulating the pro-Palestinian — and largely pro-Hamas — argument, including:
- Columbia Palestine Solidarity at Columbia University
- LezLions, a lesbian group at Columbia University, which disinvited all Zionists from its movie night and further writes, “Did you know that only white Jews are allowed to live in ‘Israel’? So if you had/have a cousin that shared your Jewish grandma and grandpa, but their other parent was Black, that cousin wouldn’t be able to go to Israel with you.”
The lesbian club at Columbia, “LionLez,” says “Zionists aren’t invited” to their upcoming movie night, says “only white Jews are allowed to live in Israel” and says “white Jewish people are today and always have been the oppressors of all brown people.” pic.twitter.com/clnXTDBqpJ
— Blake Flayton (@blakeflayton) October 24, 2023
- Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at George Mason University
- SJP at George Washington University, which appears to justify Hamas’ slaughter of Israeli civilians by writing, “We reject the distinction between ‘civilian’ and ‘militant.’ Every Palestinian is a civilian even if they hold arms. A settler is an aggressor, a soldier, and an occupier even if they are lounging on our occupied beaches.”
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) October 10, 2023
- The Harvard Palestinian Committee at Harvard University
- Ryna Workman, president of the Student Bar Association at NYU, holds Israel responsible for the war and condemns the violence of “apartheid…settler colonialism…military occupation…and the violence of obfuscating genocide as a ‘complex issue,’” in an all-student email.
- Some Stanford students demand, among other things, 24/7 trauma counseling, lawyers and all-expense paid trips to Gaza for Palestinian students and people supporting Palestinian students in their statement decrying the supposed “genocide” of Palestinians.
- SJP at Swarthmore College gave Hamas, which it calls “martyrs,” carte-blanch permission to “resist the Zionist regime by any means necessary” in a statement briefly circulated as a Google Doc, and calls criticism of Hamas’ “resistance.”
- Bears for Palestine at UC Berkley
- SJP at the University of Virginia describes the October 7th massacre as “an unprecedented feat for the 21st century” in which “resistance fighters” — as opposed to terrorists — “broke through the illegitimate border fence, took occupation soldiers hostage” — as opposed to women and children — “and seized control of several Israeli settlements that are illegal under international law.”
This one might be the worst I’ve seen so far. Students for Justice in Palestine at @UVA says Hamas brutality makes them “hopeful for the future of Palestine.”
The indiscriminate murder of Jews is “a step towards a free Palestine,” they say. pic.twitter.com/KKCT1cnWxa
— Zach Kessel (@zach_kessel) October 10, 2023
- At least one Resident Advisor at Wellesley University wrote an email to her residents proclaiming her hall’s belief that “there should be no space, no consideration and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.”
Even the student government at Brandeis University, which was founded by Jewish Americans after the Holocaust, voted down a resolution condemning Hamas 6-10 with five abstentions.
These statements betray a widespread, woeful misunderstanding of history.
Israel was formed by the United Nations — the body charged with establishing and upholding international law — as part of a two-state solution allowing Jewish people devastated by the Holocaust to return to their ancestral land. The goal of a Jewish and Arab country peacefully co-existing failed when Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia attempted to destroy Israel in the 1948 Israeli-Arab war.
An internationally-sanctioned country faced with persistent, repeated attacks by states and groups bent on its destruction — like Israel — is well within its rights to defend itself. Nor does its history justify violence from groups like Hamas.
But, unaware of or purposefully skewing the region’s history, pro-Palestinian groups are hosting rallies to praise Hamas’ incursion at colleges including:
- Columbia University
- The Cooper Union, whose protesters besieged the campus library while Jewish students were studying. The event was so threatening that librarians reportedly offered to let Jewish students hide in the attic.
Jewish students at Cooper Union are in the library as protestors pound on the door.
Listen with sound on. pic.twitter.com/pwYRo5KA9X
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 25, 2023
- George Mason University
- George Washington University, where SJP students projected anti-Israel slogans on the library wall, including “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea,” a phrase commonly used to advocate for the destruction of Israel.
- University of Chicago
- University of North Carolina, which advertised its event with a graphic featuring a motorized paraglider, referencing the machines Hamas terrorists used to gun down civilians at the Israeli music festival on October 7th.
- University of Massachusetts Amherst, where 57 students were arrested for occupying the school’s administration building as part of an anti-Israel protest.
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Wisconsin Madison, where students engaged in a call and response saying, “We will liberate the land by any means necessary!”
Students also supported Palestine by ripping down or defacing posters of kidnapped Israeli civilians at colleges including:
I’m about to make Ms. Epstein famous. Saad Truth clip coming. https://t.co/k9JI1Ifhpl
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) October 23, 2023
— CIJA (@CIJAinfo) October 25, 2023
NYU President of SBA Ryna Workman was caught on camera defacing posters of kids still kidnapped by Hamas.
She is non-binary and goes by they/them
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) October 26, 2023
Tearing down posters of Israeli hostages isn’t “activism.” It’s support for terrorism.
📹 (from earlier this week): antisemites at @UCSB showing complete disregard for innocent civilian lives. pic.twitter.com/Dq558vAWG8
— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) October 20, 2023
It’s unclear whether these students truly believe they’re meaningfully supporting Palestinians civilians with vandalism and crafting catchy protest chants. It’s also unclear whether they comprehend the fear and pain they’re causing their Jewish American classmates, many of whom have nothing to do with the war other than suggesting Hamas shouldn’t murder Jewish people.
Regardless, the rallies and poster-ripping illustrate a gleeful revelry in violence and shocking trivialization of war that should be wholly unacceptable on college campuses.
Instead, its being modeled by teachers and authorities at colleges, including:
- Cornell University, where video shows associate professor of history Russell Rickford describing Hamas’ invasion and subsequent massacre as “energizing” and “exhilarating.”
— Sam Aberman (@samaberman) October 15, 2023
- City University of New York, where 75 full-time faculty members signed a letter explaining why Hamas’ attacks were less bad than Israel’s counterstrikes and “the violence of Israeli settler colonialism.”
- Columbia University, where tenured professor of Arab politics and intellectual history Joseph Massad wrote, “No less awesome were the scenes witnessed by millions of jubilant Arabs who spent the day watching the news, of Palestinian fighters from Gaza breaking through Israel’s prison fence or gliding over it by air,” in an article for the Electronic Intifada.
- Harvard University, which reportedly established a task force to help people facing backlash after signing or supporting antisemitic statements.
- McMaster University, where associate professor of social work Ameil Joseph vehemently and repeatedly tweeted in favor of “decolonization.”
- Stanford University, where an adjunct lecturer was reportedly suspended for telling Jewish and Israeli students to stand in the corner during a lecture, saying, “This is what Israel does to Palestinians.”
- St.Lawrence University, where global studies professor John Collins told professors that teach decolonization in their classroom to support decolonization in Palestine.
- University of Washington Seattle, where a peace-keeper preventing rallies from getting out of hand assured pro-Palestinian protesters that the peace-keepers were just doing their jobs and that, “We don’t want Israel to exist. We don’t want any Zionist counter protesters to exist.”
"We don't want Israel to exist. We don't want these Zionist counter protesters to exist." -one of the so-called "peace keepers" at the UW-Seattle pro-Hamas, anti-Semite rally. 📸@kattressa pic.twitter.com/PPw83I3qSe
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) October 25, 2023
- Yale University, where professor of American and religious studies Zareena Grewal tweeted, “Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard.”
An additional 1,700 sociologists, including professors at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and Berkely, among others, signed a letter claiming they had a duty to “stand by principles of critical inquiry and learning,” stand up against “genocide” and “contextualize this past week’s violence in the context of 75 years of settler colonial occupation and European empire.”
NEW: 1,700 sociology professors sign a letter accusing Israel of "genocide" and arguing that Hamas terror must be "contextualize[d]" as a response to "75 years of settler colonial occupation and European empire."
Our professors are seething with hatred against the West. pic.twitter.com/4lxaftaepz
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 23, 2023
Colleges and universities are meant to be institutions of growth, learning and the free exchange of ideas. Teachers at such institutions should never use their platforms to trumpet their opinions, too often based in flawed academic theory and transparent identity politics, as the only sensible or moral viewpoint.
If this is too much to ask in our fallen, sinful world, I would hope college educators would:
- Know how to correctly use “genocide” in a sentence.
- Understand the difference between a baby and a colonial settler.
- Not feel energized by mass murder.
In the meantime, families and students should pray for discernment and wisdom when examining arguments and ideas concerning Israel. Proverbs tells us that those without guidance lose their way (Proverbs 11:14 ESV), but the Lord graciously provides both wisdom (Proverbs 2:6) and instruction (Psalm 32:8).
His teaching won’t ever fail us.
Photo from Shutterstock.