Thursday 25 April 2024 - 09:37

How’s Pro-Palestinian Protest Tsunami Sweeping the US Universities?

Story Code : 1131008
How’s Pro-Palestinian Protest Tsunami Sweeping the US Universities?
Expansion of these demonstrations has drawn reaction from the security forces and police who have launched a campaign of detention of the protesting students.

Over the past few days, dozens of protesters have been arrested at New York and Yale Universities. More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters who staged a sit-in in Columbia University's campus were arrested last week.

A footage published during the protest rally on Monday in Columbia University showed a group of students chanting the slogan "Iran, you made us proud", explicitly supporting Iran's last week missile and drone attack on the Israeli regime in retaliation for the Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus April 1. 

Demonstrations are not limited to university students, and school students also held large rallies in support of Palestine. Pro-Palestinian students are calling on their schools to condemn Israel's genocide in Gaza and stop receiving funding from companies that sell weapons to Israel.

Demonstrators blocked roads around Yale University's campus in New Haven, demanding the return of the funding from the weapons supporting Israeli regime. 

According to the student-run Yale Daily News, police arrested more than 45 protesters. Also, the Palestine Solidarity Committee consisting of undergraduate students of Harvard University has announced that the management of this university has suspended their group. In the letter, which was published by the Student Organization, Harvard University committee wrote that the group's demonstration violated university policy. 

The organization announced in a statement that the university management suspended them due to technical issues. 

"Harvard has shown us time and time again that Palestine remains an exception for free speech," the group wrote in a statement.

In New York, hundreds of demonstrators continued their sit-in defying repeated warnings from the University of New York to vacate the square where they had gathered as soon as possible, until police began violently dismantling the protesters' tents. The demonstrators then clashed with police officers and chanted: "We will not stop, we will not rest. Disclose." 

The continuation of the tense situation in the American academic environment has caused the officials of some universities, especially Columbia, to decide to arrange online classes. 

On Monday, the tensions spread to downtown Manhattan, where the New York University campus is located, and to the Yale campus in New Haven. In Columbia University, a coalition of sitting-in students has been organized, including members of three associations: Columbia University Anti-Apartheid (CUAD), Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace. 

The protestors have called on university authorities to cut off ties to companies benefiting from the Israeli war on Gaza. 

CUAD has also made additional demands, including greater financial transparency regarding Columbia University's investors and severing academic ties and collaboration with Israeli universities and academic programs. The group also demanded a complete ceasefire in Gaza.

However, the protests were not limited to students, and a number of Columbia University professors gathered in official clothes in front of a library in New York and criticized the recent treatment of the university and the police with pro-Palestinian students. Protests against this university's relations with Israel intensified last week after the university's head hearing in the Congress over antisemitism charges. 

The House Judiciary Committee, led by the Republicans, held a meeting in the midst of increasing protests in universities against the actions of the Israeli regime to address this issue and establish new laws for freedom of expression, something having intensified in recent weeks. 

Some other worrisome measures against the protesting students and professors included publishing names and images of them on the trucks carrying digital billboards around Harvard and Colombia Universities. 

The university authorities threatened to reveal information on protestors' living places and families as instruments of pressures. 

Stanford University has also not survived such measures either, and the university officials haved taken some actions against protesting students and professors. Recently, a professor who referred to the Israeli massacre in Gaza and called the Israel "colonial" was suspended. 

Government officials, police, and university officials accuse the protesters of anti-Semitism to justify their repressive measures. Students participating in anti-war rallies in Gaza have repeatedly stated: "Anti-Semitism is never good. This is absolutely not what we stand for and that is why so many Jewish comrades are here with us today." Protesters add that their criticism and protest is directed at the Israeli government and its supporters. 

A Jewish professor of Northwest University has warned about risks to the pro-Palestinian students from death to expulsion from work to ban on their education. 

At the end, it should be said that publication of documents on violent actions to restrict freedom of expression by the American universities indicates a change in the US youths' worldview concerning the Palestinian cause and decline of the official narrative that for long years has tried to present the Palestinian realities in a reversed way in line with the Israeli interests. Actually, the heavy price the students and some university professors in the US are paying for freedom of expression in support of Palestine has shattered the freethinking gesture by the country and invalidated the rhetoric and lecture of the US officials about freedom of expression.