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Anti-Israel Faculty Target University Presidents With New Tactic in Bid to Oust Them Over Campus Protest Response

The remains of a pro-Hamas encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles. Photo: Reuters Connect

Anti-Israel faculty have been increasingly using a new tactic to push to terminate university presidents who punished students and requested police help in ending an ongoing paroxysm of pro-Hamas demonstrations that began erupting on college campuses across the US last month.

Votes of no confidence in the presidents’ leadership have happened or are forthcoming at Barnard College, Emory University, the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Cal Poly), and potentially other schools — a measure that all but guarantees a new leader will be installed at those schools.

On Tuesday, Barnard College President Laura Rosenbury lost a no-confidence vote handily, with 77 percent of participating faculty voting against her in an apparent act of retribution prompted by her suspending over 50 anti-Israel protesters and evicting them from campus. The action was, according to The Columbia Spectator, the first no-confidence vote against a president in the college’s history. The move came after the Barnard chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) unanimously recommended the vote, citing the college’s decision to suspend students involved in the demonstrations.

At Emory, meanwhile, 90 percent of faculty members in Oxford College, an undergraduate division of the university, voted “no confidence” in President Gregory Fenves this week, according to The Emory Wheel. The vote came after Fenves took similar measures to end unauthorized demonstrations on campus and clear an encampment where the protesters had planted themselves.

Pro-Hamas demonstrations at Emory saw numerous clashes between law enforcement and students and faculty. In one instance, economics professor Caroline Fohlin was arrested for attempting to prevent the detention of a protester. Officers restrained her, bringing her to the ground, while she said repeatedly, “I’m a professor!” In another incident, students pelted objects at officers while using their bodies to press them against a building.

The faculty at Emory’s College of Arts and Sciences are currently holding their own no-confidence vote, the results of which will reportedly be unveiled on Friday afternoon.

In Texas, over 600 members of the UT Austin faculty have signed a letter proclaiming they “no longer have confidence” in President Jay Hartzell, who invited local police to quell unauthorized anti-Israel demonstrations which resulted in students commandeering a section of campus and refusing to leave. The UT Austin chapter of the AAUP spearheaded the effort.

“We, faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin, no longer have confidence in President Jay Hartzell,” the letter said, describing the restoration of order during final exams as a violation of trust. “We demand that criminal charges against students and others be dropped. We demand that the students not face disciplinary action at the university for their activities on April 24.”

Other school presidents have faced similar backlash for seeking to restore order on campus. At Cal Poly last week, 193 of 203 faculty attendees voted no confidence in President Tom Jackson Jr. Then on Monday, over 300 faculty members signed a letter demanding that Jackson and his chief of staff, Mark Johnson, resign, lambasting them for calling the police on student protesters when they occupied a campus building.

The wave of no-confidence votes, which may grow in the days ahead, came amid an explosion of anti-Israel demonstrations at universities amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Indeed, for the past two weeks college students have been amassing in the hundreds at a growing number of schools, taking over sections of campuses by setting up “Gaza Solidarity Encampments” and refusing to leave unless administrators condemn and boycott Israel. Footage of the protests has shown demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization; calling for the destruction of Israel; and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus. In many cases, activists have also lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

The protests initially erupted across the US but have since spread to university campuses around the world, primarily in the West.

Scrutiny of faculty participation in the pro-Hamas demonstrations and efforts to change university leadership is necessary but has been lacking in public discourse about the protests, according to experts who have spoken with The Algemeiner since the disruptions began.

On several campuses — including George Washington University in Washington, DC, New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, and the University of Southern California, among others — faculty have colluded with or joined students in calling for the destruction of Israel and celebrating Hamas’ violence against the Jewish state as a form of “resistance.”

At Northeastern University in Boston, professors formed a human barrier around a student encampment to stop its dismantling by officers. At Columbia University in New York, faculty at the school, as well its affiliate Barnard College, staged a walkout in support of the demonstrations and demanded the abeyance of disciplinary sanctions against anti-Zionist students — dozens of whom cheered Hamas and threatened more massacres of Jews similar to Oct. 7 — who have violated school rules.

The power of faculty — an overwhelming majority of whom identify as leftist — to govern the university and set the tone of its culture has been a key source of radicalism and anti-American ideas that have wielded significant influence in the academy, according to campus antisemitism expert Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who founded the AMCHA Initiative watchdog group.

“It’s the faculty. Faculty are behind the vote of no confidence at Barnard College and also at [Cal Poly],” Rossman-Benjamin told The Algemeiner this week. “Faculty run the university, and they are out of control. They have tenure, and university presidents do not. So, it’s not that administrators are capitulating to students. They are capitulating to the faculty, because they know that if they run afoul of the faculty, they are history”

Breaking the faculty’s hold on American higher education, she argued, can only come with the abolition of tenure and a wholesale reformation of higher education.

“This situation is not sustainable, and we have to focus specifically on the faculty. Take away their shared governance. Take away their tenure,” she said. “You have to get rid of tenure because it has protected faculty whose goal is to upend and undermine the university itself. It’s not just about social justice — their aim for decades has been to destroy the university as we know it and to use the university as a tool for revolutionizing society. If you can’t recognize how illegitimate that is, then the universities are lost. We will lose if we do not have the will to take them on.”

Asaf Romirowsky, an expert on the Middle East and executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told The Algemeiner that since the 1960s, far-left “scholar activists” have gradually seized control of the higher education system, tailoring admissions processes and the curricula to foster ideological radicalism and conformity, which students then carry with them into careers in government, law, corporate America, and education.

“This is 1984,” he explained, alluding to George Orwell’s classic novel about a dystopian state. “As we can see, these rallies are not peaceful as their supporters have insisted. They are violent, verbally and physically. People are ending up in the hospital with injuries. This is analogous to Nazi Germany, and that should be a wake-up call to the American people. If these are the institutions that should be the vanguard of American democracy and Western values and this is what they are producing, we should be seriously questioning the functionality of higher education as a whole.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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‘Looming Disaster’: Hamas Releases Video of Operatives Shooting at Israeli Community From West Bank

Palestinian fighters from the armed wing of Hamas take part in a military parade to mark the anniversary of the 2014 war with Israel, near the border in the central Gaza Strip, July 19, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Hamas has begun releasing videos of its operatives opening fire from the West Bank into Israeli villages, raising fears the Palestinian terror group will eventually try to stage a significant attack in the territory.

On Wednesday, Hamas terrorists in the West Bank city of Tulkarm opened fire into the Israeli village of Bat Hefer, which is in Israel proper. They staged the attack from the top of a hill. This is not the first time it has occurred. Last month, terrorists in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — fired into the Israeli community as well.

NEW: Hamas terrorists in the West Bank opened fire on houses in the Israeli town of Bat Hefer at 7am as children were preparing to go to school

— Eitan Fischberger (@EFischberger) May 29, 2024

Yoav Zitun, a military correspondent for Ynet News, reported that Hamas is paying people in the West Bank between 500 and 1000 shekels who take a video of themselves shooting into Israeli communities and distribute the footage.

Seth Frantzman, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis, responded to the report on X/Twitter, writing it “reminds me of the Great Return March antics of Hamas that paved the way to Oct. 7.”

For the march, Hamas mobilized more than 40,000 people to try and breach the fence between Gaza and Israel to attack its citizens. Rioters lit fires, threw stones at the Israel Defense Forces, and attempted to plant a bomb on the fence and breach it. Hamas paid people between $200 and $500 if they were injured and $3,000 if they were killed.

Terrorist attacks from the West Bank against Israeli targets have been on an upswing. Last month, terrorists shot from within the West Bank into the Israeli kibbutz Ma’ale Gilboa.

Beyond shooting attacks, a terrorist killed two Israeli soldiers in Nablus in a ramming attack this week.

The terror incidents in the West Bank began to increase more than a year ago, but they have continued to occur since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

Frantzman called the situation a “looming disaster.”

“The rising attacks in the West Bank using the masses of stolen weapons will eventually become more sophisticated and can lead to an Oct. 7-type event because Israel has ignored security in the West Bank as it did at the other borders and allowed terror groups to exponentially grow over the last years,” he wrote.

The concern has been made more acute by the fact that the Palestinian Authority, which controls the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, is increasingly weak. In certain cities, such as Jenin, terrorist groups have effectively made the PA police obsolete and now have a significant ability to operate.

This is compounded by the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to take punitive measures against the PA, which could make it more likely to collapse and create a vacuum for terrorists to assert greater control.

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Jury Finds Donald Trump Guilty on All 34 Counts at Hush Money Trial

Former US President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Criminal Court, May 30, 2024, in New York. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool via REUTERS

Donald Trump became the first US president to be convicted of a crime on Thursday when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

After deliberations over two days, the 12-member jury announced it had found Trump guilty on all 34 counts he faced. Unanimity was required for any verdict.

Trump watched the jurors dispassionately as they were polled to confirm the guilty verdict.

Justice Juan Merchan set sentencing for July 11, days before the July 15 start of the Republican National Convention expected to formally nominate Trump for president.

Merchan thanked the jurors for their service. “Nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to do. The choice is yours,” Merchan said.

The verdict plunges the United States into unexplored territory ahead of the Nov. 5 presidential election, when Trump, the Republican candidate, will try to win the White House back from Democratic President Joe Biden.

Trump, 77, has denied wrongdoing and was expected to appeal.

“This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who is corrupt,” Trump told reporters afterwards.

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people,” Trump said, adding: “I am a very innocent man.”

He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, though others convicted of that crime often receive shorter sentences, fines, or probation. Incarceration would not prevent him from campaigning, or taking office if he were to win.

Trump will not be jailed ahead of sentencing.

Opinion polls show Trump and Biden, 81, locked in a tight race, and Reuters/Ipsos polling has found that a guilty verdict could cost Trump some support from independent and Republican voters.

A source familiar with the Trump campaign’s inner workings said the verdict was expected to prompt him to intensify deliberations on picking a woman as his vice presidential running mate.

Biden’s campaign said the verdict showed that no one was above the law, but noted that Trump still would be able to run for president.

“There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” the campaign said in a statement.

The jury notified the court they had reached a verdict at 4:20 pm (2020 GMT) and read out all 34 guilty counts shortly after 5 pm.

Trump‘s fellow Republicans quickly condemned the verdict. “Today is a shameful day in American history,” House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business documents after sitting through a five-week trial that featured explicit testimony from porn star Stormy Daniels about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006 while he was married to his current wife Melania. Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Trump‘s then-fixer Michael Cohen testified that Trump approved a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election, when he faced multiple accusations of sexual misbehavior.

Cohen testified he handled the payment, and that Trump approved a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal work. Trump‘s lawyers hammered Cohen’s credibility, highlighting his criminal record and imprisonment and his history of lying.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche asked Merchan to throw out the guilty verdict, arguing that it was based on the unreliable testimony of Cohen. Merchan denied his request.

Trump‘s near-certain appeal of his historic conviction on criminal charges in New York is likely to focus on porn star Daniels’ salacious testimony about their alleged sexual encounter as well as the novel legal theory prosecutors used in the case, but he faces long odds, legal experts said.

Falsifying business documents is normally a misdemeanor in New York, but prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office elevated it to a felony on grounds that Trump was concealing an illegal campaign contribution.

Trump complained that he could not get a fair trial in his heavily Democratic hometown.

The case was widely regarded as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions Trump faces. Jurors heard testimony of sex and lies that have been public since 2018, although the charges themselves rested on ledger accounts and other records of Cohen’s reimbursement.

It was known as the “zombie case” because Bragg brought it back to life after his predecessor opted not to bring charges.

This case was also likely to be the only one to go to trial before the election, as the others are delayed by procedural challenges.

If elected, Trump could shut down the two federal cases that accuse him of illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election loss and mishandling classified documents after leaving office in 2021. He would not have the power to stop a separate election-subversion case taking place in Georgia.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all the cases, and has portrayed his various legal troubles as an effort by Biden’s Democratic allies to hurt him politically.

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Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Welcomes Anti-Israel Campus Protesters to ‘Resistance Front’

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, applauded the anti-Israel protesters who have thrown university campuses across the US into chaos over the past several weeks, declaring them part of a new “branch of the Resistance Front” against the Jewish state.

“Dear university students in the United States of America, this message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you,” Khamenei wrote in an open letter published on Thursday. “As the page of history is turning, you are standing on the right side of it.”

Rehashing antisemitic conspiracies of Jewish control, he derided “the global Zionist elite” for speaking against the campus demonstrations.

“The global Zionist elite — who owns most US and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery — has labeled this courageous, humane resistance movement as ‘terrorism,’” Khamenei wrote. “You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure — a government which openly supports the usurper and brutal Zionist regime.”

Khamenei also praised students in other countries who have launched anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, noting the leading role that faculty have played in fostering and supporting the unrest.

“Besides you students from dozens of American universities, there have also been uprisings in others countries among academics and the general public,” he wrote. “The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development. This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you. I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance.”

Khamenei’s letter came amid an outpouring of praise for the anti-Zionist students by Islamist terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

“While we support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them, we also appreciate and value the movement of Western demonstrators and sit-in students from Western universities, who through their sit-ins and protests expressed their rejection of the genocide taking place in Gaza,” al-Qaeda leadership wrote in a recent communique

Hamas and Hezbollah, both backed by Iran, have also cheered the protests.

“Today’s students are the leaders of the future, and their suppression today means an expensive electoral bill that the Biden administration will pay sooner or later,” Hamas official Izzat Al-Risheq said in a statement last month.

Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, also praised the protesters during an interview with Al-Manar TV earlier this month.

“We appreciate and value this very much. Perhaps in the future, there will be cooperation among the youth of the world — in America, France, Britain, Germany, and all the activists,” he said. “The [campus protests] are important, especially because they will have an impact on US elections. They will have an impact on the American position.”

Earlier this month, when some universities suspended students who had occupied sections of campus and refused to leave unless school officials agreed to condemn and boycott Israel, the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a terrorist organization that has repeatedly violated freedom of the seas by attacking international shipping vessels passing through the Red Sea, offered to admit the disciplined students as transfers to Sanaa University, an institution it administers.

Some anti-Zionist student groups have reciprocated the admiration.

Last week, Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) endorsed Hamas, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace Islamic extremism and antisemitism.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has re-formed under multiple names since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, was central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The anti-Zionist student movement’s support for terrorism and anti-American ideologies has been expressed before.

Footage of the protests which erupted on college campuses at the end of spring semester showed demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas and calling for the destruction of Israel. In many cases, they lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas at Columbia University, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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