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More Universities Cave to Pro-Hamas Agitators as Demonstrations Continue

Illustrative Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

The University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) has agreed to make major concessions to anti-Israel protesters on campus in exchange for the termination of their anti-Zionist demonstrations on campus, continuing a gradual normalization of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel — a trend that risks purging Jews and Zionists from the American academy.

Details of the settlement were disclosed by the university on Friday. It includes shuttering UC Riverside School of Business “global programs” in Israel — as well as the US, Brazil, Jordan, Egypt, Vietnam, China, and Cuba — appointing potentially anti-Zionist students to a task force on the university’s endowment, and exploring the possibility of banning Sabra Hummus, which is co-owned by the Israeli food manufacturer Strauss Group, from campus.

“This is par for the course of UC Riverside, illustrating that it is on board with antisemitism at an institutional level,” Ian Oxnevad, a research fellow at the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and author of  The Company They Keep: Organizational and Economic Dynamics of the BDS Movement, told The Algemeiner on Monday. “Boycotting an Israeli brand due to student demands recalls the Nazi youth’s demanding boycotts of Jewish businesses in the 1930s. We saw then what we’re seeing now: antisemitism becoming a social grace in academia.”

UC Riverside’s apparent capitulation followed a precedent set by Northwestern University last week, when the school agreed to establish a new scholarship for Palestinian students and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists students and faculty may wield an outsized voice.

Brown University also yielded to anti-Israel protesters, agreeing to hold a vote on divesting from companies linked to Israel.

The policy announcements are both substantive and performative, said Alex Joffe, an anthropologist and editor of the BDS Monitor for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

“It is a careful bit of theater,” he explained. “The plan states the task force will investigate removing Riverside’s endowment from the management of the UC system’s investment office. It is unclear whether or not the statewide system would or even could legally allow Riverside to make its own divestment decisions, or ‘divest,’ meaning to sell shares in weapons manufacturers held as individual stocks or as part of larger funds.”

Joffe also suggested that the number of study abroad programs the university has closed is indicative of strategic restructuring that may not, in the bigger picture, be related to BDS.

“Israel programs have been targeted for years and in some cases pressures have been so great that students have been ostracized for expressing interests, but since programs in Jordan, Vietnam, and Oxford are also being closed, the reality is that the Business School is undertaking a broader rethinking,” he continued. “But the school’s commitment to review the status of Sabra Hummus shows not only how petty the demands of pro-Hamas students are, but the ways in in which universities are capitulating on matters small and large in order to restore calm.”

Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington has also agreed to divest from companies linked to Israel, according to a “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Evergreen State College and the Evergreen Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” which the school posted on its website. The school has also agreed to issue a statement dictated by the protesters. The statement, a portion of which includes pro-Hamas propaganda, will “be reviewed by negotiators and a faculty representative before it is release.”

“The cries of ‘intifada revolution,’ ‘death to America,’ ‘death to Israel,’ and the celebration of ‘resistance’ — and the displays of thuggish tactics, taking over public areas, harassing Jews, and others — demonstrates that the BDS movement was simply the thin edge of a broader anti-American and anti-Israel movement that cares less about the Palestinians than it does about revolution,” Joffe explained.

Formally launched in 2005, the BDS campaign opposes Zionism — a movement supporting the Jewish people’s right to self-determination — and rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. It seeks to isolate the country comprehensively with economic, political, and cultural boycotts. Official propaganda issued for the campaign’s academic boycott delineates specific restrictions that adherents should abide by — for instance, denying letters of recommendation to students who seek to study in Israel — and says that it aims to ensure that “projects with all Israeli academic institutions should come to an end.”

Student involvement in promoting the BDS movement and anti-Zionism amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza has been widely covered by major news outlets across the world. However, the role of university faculty in leading the push against Israel has received little attention, experts have told The Algemeiner.

Last week, campus antisemitism expert Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who founded the AMCHA Initiative watchdog group, explained that far more focus must shift to the faculty, who have provided material and intellectual support to the student protesters and, in many cases, are the individuals responsible for steering them into antisemitic movements fueled by anti-Zionism.

“So much of this has to do with faculty — it’s the missing piece for understanding all of what’s happening, but particularly administrative responses to it,” Rossman-Benjamin said. “The protesters were students who were protected, supported, and, in many cases, colluded with by faculty. Almost all of these encampments, especially the most vicious and antisemitic, have faculty groups that either have their back and are running interference with the university administrations or are actively conspiring and participating in what’s happening on campus, giving it academic legitimacy, inciting it, and encouraging the adoption of more antisemitism and aggression.”

Rossman-Benjamin added that when a university president concedes to the demands of a student mob, they do so at the insistence of faculty, who can prematurely end their employment by issuing votes of no confidence, a measure that all but guarantees a president will be removed from office. This tactic has gained traction at a growing number of universities since the eruption of anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses last month.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law?

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“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.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”?

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

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 reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been 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 group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, 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!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Guitarist Eric Clapton Says ‘Israel Is Running the World,’ Criticizes US Hearings on Campus Antisemitism

Eric Clapton during his guest appearance on the YouTube channel “The Real Music Observer” on May 22, 2024. Photo: YouTube screenshot

British singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Clapton promoted the antisemitic conspiracy theory that Israel runs the world during an interview last week on the YouTube channel “The Real Music Observer.”

The Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 79, referenced recent US congressional hearings where lawmakers grilled presidents of elite universities about surging antisemitism and rampant anti-Israel demonstrations on their campuses.

“I was so enthused about what was going on at Columbia [University] and everywhere. And then I saw, what I couldn’t believe, because it freaked me out, were the Senate hearings, which were like the Nuremberg trials, you know?” Clapton said during his guest appearance on “The Real Music Observer,” hosted by David Spuria. “The Senate committee would be asking pointed questions to presidents of universities, saying, ‘I just want to hear yes or no. Don’t talk to me about context. Yes or no, are you promoting antisemitism in your college? Yes or no.’ And I thought, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition? And it is! It’s AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], it’s the lobby. Israel is running the show. Israel is running the world.”

The hearings that Clapton referenced were held by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, not a Senate panel.

In November, a little more than a month after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Clapton released an instrumental song called “Voice of a Child.” The song’s music video features photos from pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel rallies around the world as well as images of destruction in the Gaza Strip. The music video completely overlooks the Oct. 7 massacre that sparked the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Clapton has recently been performing with a guitar that he painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag. Talking about the guitar while appearing on “The Real Music Observer,” he said, “We’re doing a thing now on this tour that I wrote originally as a tribute to Jeff Beck [who died in 2023]. I performed it at a tribute concert and then I didn’t play it anymore. But for this tour I’m doing it under a different guise. It’s the same tune, but I devoted it to the situation in Gaza. It’s called ‘Blue Dust’ because that’s what’s probably going to be left there. And I play a guitar that’s painted like the Palestinian flag.”

Clapton is a close friend of former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who has openly expressed antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments, and has performed in garments that resemble a Nazi SS officer uniform. Clapton has defended Waters in the past, claiming that people “misinterpret” the latter’s position on Israel, and said last week that it takes “guts” to share political opinions like his.

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