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Anti-Israel Protests Are Growing; Here’s What You Need to Know

The University of California, Berkeley, campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Student protests against Israel expanded greatly in February, with university administrations largely unwilling and unable to enforce regulations regarding what has euphemistically become known as “expressive activity.”

Some of the worst events include:

At the University of California at Berkeley, hundreds of masked pro-Hamas protestors shouting “intifada, intifada” attacked a theater where an Israeli speaker was to appear, smashing a window and forcing the Jewish students inside to be evacuated through tunnels.
At Columbia University, pro-Hamas students held an unauthorized protest on the main quad in which they dyed snow red and chanted “There is no safe place, Death to the Zionist state,” and “We don’t want two states. We want all of it.”
A pro-Hamas sit-in at Stanford University ended after 120 days, when university administrators agreed to formally hear protestors’ demands. The protestors stated they would resume their sit-in if the demands were not met.
Protestors at Stanford disrupted a Family Weekend welcome session hosted by the university and provost.
Brown University students undertook an “indefinite” hunger strike in support of divestment that lasted eight days. Harvard students undertook a 12 hour hunger strike in sympathy. Students at McGill University and Dartmouth College students also announced hunger strikes.
A talk by a Jewish Studies faculty member at San Jose State University advocating a “two state solution” was disrupted by pro-Hamas protestors who rejected the presence of a “Zionist.” After a violent confrontation the faculty member was escorted from the building by police.
At the University of Leeds, the Chabad rabbi who returned from reserve military service in Israel was driven into hiding by threats from Muslim students which came after a campaign orchestrated by Muslim Green Party members, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and the Muslim Council of Britain.

Walkouts and demonstrations were also held at Georgetown University, Stony Brook University, the University of Toronto, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, Tufts University, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, McGill University, Condordia University, and other schools.

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions continue to be proposed in student governments:

The University of California at Davis student government voted in favor of a divestment resolution that prohibits any of the organization’s $20 million budget being invested in Israel.
A divestment and boycott referendum at Pomona College was also approved by the student body. The referendum had been criticized by the president as potentially antisemitic, a comment that was angrily rejected by organizers.
The Cornell University student government rejected a BDS resolution. In the aftermath a rally was held at which speakers condemned the student government and praised the “armed resistance in Palestine” as well as the Houthis.
The UCLA student government passed a BDS resolution, which alleged that Israel is engaged in “apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.” The vote came shortly after the graduate student association passed a similar resolution.
After a public hearing that was disrupted by BDS activists, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees agreed to review its investments in Israel.

The impact of campus protests were seen in the vandalizing of the University of Wisconsin Hillel building, unspecified threats emailed to the Brown University-RISD Hillel, identical active shooter threats emailed to a variety of individuals at Cornell University, Princeton University, and Dartmouth College, and assaults against Jewish students at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Strasbourg.

Figures collected by Hillel International indicate that more than 1,000 antisemitic incidents have occurred on campuses since October, include 44 assaults.

Faculty remain at the forefront of campus anti-Israel activities. The participation of faculty, staff, librarians, graduate students, and others indicates the depth to which anti-Israel ideology has penetrated the entire academic enterprise and compromises pedagogy now and in the future.

Among the worrying incidents:

The American Association of University Professors signed a call issued by labor unions including the United Auto Workers demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
The Harvard Faculty for Justice in Palestine reposted a student produced image showing a hand with a Star of David and a dollar sign lynching Muhammad Ali and Gamal Abdul Nasser. The classically antisemitic image, drawn from a 1960s era black power pamphlet, set off a firestorm of criticism.
Harvard’s Kennedy School hosted the antisemitic UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese. Among other things Albanese accused Israel of “weaponizing” antisemitism and stated that Hamas had not displayed “aggression” against the Jews.

Reports also continue regarding informal boycotts of Israeli academics by international publications and foreign institutions. These appear strongest in the humanities and social sciences, but have spread to medicine and other scientific disciplines.

Investigations of colleges and universities by the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act expanded in February. Investigations were launched into the treatment of Jewish students at Yale University, Ohio State University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and others, as well as several local school districts.

Congress continues to be involved in addressing campus antisemitism. Congressional subpoenas have been issued to several universities including Harvard and Columbia, for documents related to their responses to anti-Israel and antisemitic protests. The situation has largely devolved along predictable party lines.

Focus also remains on anti-Israel bias in K-12 education. The American Federation of Teachers, a strong Biden ally, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire but avoided the condemnations of Israel used by other school unions.

Publicity has led schools to organize mendacious programs to proclaim “balance,” such as in a New York City high school where an anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace activist was invited to give a talk to balance a Palestinian activist’s “story of forced displacement, exile and resistance.” New York City public school teachers were also documented discussing means to bypass rules in order to teach about the “genocide in Gaza.”

The pedagogical impact of blatantly antisemitic curriculum in K-12 education was illustrated in Hayward, CA. The city had invested heavily in an organization “to train teachers to confront white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression and remove those barriers to learning,” and which indoctrinated grade schoolers with concepts such as “resistance” and “Palestine.”

Similarly, the role of university Middle East studies in cementing anti-Israel attitudes was highlighted in an analysis of the curriculum produced by the Brown University Center for Middle Eastern Studies, which is dominated by anti-Israel activists. The curriculum describes Israel as an imperialist project, Jews as alien outsiders, and Israel as a violent illegitimate entity that routinely commits war crimes. According to its creators, the curriculum is used in hundreds, if not thousands, of schools.

As a result of surging harassment and intimidation, Jewish students continue to transfer out of school districts, such as Oakland, CA.

Non-academic protests in February continued to target transportation links and city centers, with the goal of disrupting daily life. These included the Golden Gate Bridge, New York City bridges and tunnels, the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River connecting Tennessee and Arkansas, major roads and intersections in and around Washington D.C., the Pennsylvania capitol, and central London on Saturdays. In Brussels, pro-Hamas protestors also disrupted the Flemish Parliament.

Protests also targeted institutions allegedly connected with Jews and Israel:

In Toronto protestors targeted Mt. Sinai Hospital, founded by the local Jewish community, raising Palestinian flags and shouting “intifada, intifada.” Political authorities including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the incident.
In New York City, protestors inside the Museum of Modern Art and Brooklyn Museum unfurled banners demanding a “ceasefire,” and accused Jewish members of the boards of trustees of complicity in “genocide, apartheid” and “settler colonialism.” No arrests were made.
Protestors also targeted the Jewish Museum, where anti-Zionist cultural workers disrupted a talk about the October 7 massacres and claimed an exhibition was “imperial propaganda” and a means to “manufacture consent for genocide.”

Individual members of Congress and Parliament have been targeted:

The Brooklyn office of Representative Dan Goldman (D-NY) was vandalized for a second time.
Protestors swarmed a fundraiser for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and a police officer was struck by a demonstrator.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was heckled by pro-Hamas protestors at a talk in Ireland who accused him of being a “Zionist” and a “genocide denier.”

The protests are the most obvious manifestations of rocketing antisemitism and hate crimes in Britain, France, and the US, as are the escalating numbers of violent assaults, such as the stabbing of a Jewish individual in Paris, the beating of a Jewish individual in New York City, an assault against a Jewish student at Columbia University, an attack on a megachurch in Houston where a woman armed with a rifle with the words “Free Palestine” on the barrel began shooting and was quickly killed by police, and the kidnapping and torture of a Jewish individual in Melbourne, allegedly orchestrated by an anti-Israel activist.

A poll conducted by the AJC reports that 46% of American Jews have changed their behavior since October 7 as a result of fear of antisemitism. Jewish schools also report that their security costs have almost doubled since October.

Jewish and Israeli cultural and sports figures continue to be targeted and canceled over their origins or perceived support for Israel:

Singer Matisyahu’s performances in Tucson and Santa Fe were canceled for security concerns and staff shortages, after staff members at the venue refused to work for his show. Local BDS and pro-Hamas groups took credit. A performance in Berkeley was protested by those who accused the singer of supporting “genocide.”
A Cambridge (MA) performance by Israeli singer Ishay Ribo sponsored by the Harvard Chabad was boycotted and protested by the staff and Hamas supporters. The performance proceeded.
An International Women’s Day event in Toronto rescinded an invitation to cyclist Leah Goldstein to be the keynote speaker after activists complained about her service in the Israeli military in the 1980s. The entire event was later canceled.
Calls continue to eject Israel from the Eurovision song contest. The sponsoring organization has thus far rejected the demands. The Israeli song submitted to the contest which references October 7 was rejected by competition organizers as “too political” prompting Israeli threats to withdraw from the competition.
A number of private Manhattan art galleries were vandalized with pro-Hamas graffiti including “Stop selling to Zionists. Stop working with Zionists.”
Hundreds of artists have signed an open letter demanding that Israel’s national pavilion be banned from the Venice Biennale.
The Berlin Film Festival’s social Instagram account displayed a series of messages accusing Israel of genocide. Organizers claimed the account was “hacked.” The winners of the festival expressed support for “Palestine” and others made anti-Israel speeches.
An Australian WhatsApp group of hundreds of Jewish creatives was breached and messages were released leading to several participants being threatened, doxxed, and removed from bands, theater groups, and other venues. The move was defended as ‘”whistleblowing” since Jewish creatives had expressed concern regarding pro-Hamas journalists and organized letter-writing campaigns.

The author is a contributor to SPME, where a different version of this article appeared.

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on

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