College Campuses And The Israel-Hamas War

The Israel-Hamas War in the Gaza Strip in the past seven months has led to the deaths of more than 34,000 Palestinians, including approximately two thirds being women and children.

It has become the biggest controversy on college campuses in many decades, and has led to massive demonstrations and occupations of many campuses by protesters, and by outside agitators not connected to the universities.

The ugly situation has many tones of antisemitism, endangering Jewish students, advocating violence, and calling for destruction of Israel.

Freedom of speech and the right to protest are basic constitutional rights, but it does not include the right to interfere with normal operation of educational institutions.

One can disagree with the strategy and tactics of the Israeli government, and yet also understand that a nation has the right to exist and to defend itself after the horrific massacre of about 1,200 people on October 7, 2023 by the extremist Hamas terrorist group.

One can also condemn right wing MAGA Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, Ohio Senator J D Vance, and other extremists, who want to employ military force to end the protests.

It is also disturbing that college students often have little knowledge and information, as they rely on social media, rather than established news sources, for their view of the world.

Colleges are supposed to be places for debates, education, empathy, and understanding, not for occupation and calls for genocide against an entire nation and people. To allow a small percentage of students and outside agitators to shut down a campus and threaten those who are opposed to their tactics is reprehensible.

These disturbances on college campuses are undermining the future of universities in the public mind, as extremism, violence, and occupation by many students and outsiders endanger public support for higher education.

It is also making more likely that many commencement ceremonies around the nation will be canceled, and this for students, who in many cases, did not have a high school graduation ceremony due to the COVID 19 Pandemic in the Spring of 2020.

Many of these demonstrators are destroying their education, as many will be suspended or expelled, will face possible criminal charges, and many corporations will be unwilling to hire people involved in civil disobedience without any conclusion.

Young people have a right to their beliefs, but not to stop the operations of universities, as many of these individuals will regret long term their youthful emotions that will not be good for their long term futures.

Every effort must be utilized to end the Israel-Hamas War and to free the remaining hostages, and Joe Biden has a major challenge ahead of him to convince Benjamin Netanyahu to change his strategy that has endangered the international community’s view of the conflict.

This issue could affect the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August, bringing back memories of the disastrous Chicago Democratic convention in 1968, that led to the defeat of Hubert Humphrey and the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

26 comments on “College Campuses And The Israel-Hamas War

  1. Princess Leia April 29, 2024 4:17 pm

    MSNBC has mentioned on their programming that, while there have been scattered reports of actual antisemitic incidents at or near the encampments, many were not perpetrated by students but by interlopers. Many of the student protesters across the country are Jewish.

  2. Southern Liberal April 29, 2024 5:00 pm

    The students are gaining support of human rights groups who are calling for universities to end the crackdown of the protests. The groups include Gen-Z for Change, Working Families Party, IfNotNow Movement, Young Democrats of America Black Caucus, Movement for Black Lives, Sunrise Movement, MPower Change, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestine Legal, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

  3. Former Republican April 29, 2024 5:05 pm

    Summer break is going to buy Biden a few months to deal with this. Hopefully not too many dumb dumbs have decided that they’re never going to vote for him because he didn’t fix things fast enough.

  4. Rational Lefty April 29, 2024 8:08 pm

    I’ve noticed that MSNBC is split in their coverage of the protesters. The progressive anchors seem to be siding more with the protesters than the other anchors are.

  5. Rational Lefty April 29, 2024 8:20 pm

    Progressive media, such as Huffington Post, Common Dreams, Vox, Daily Kos, etc., also are very supportive of the protesters.

    Democratic politicians are split, with some more in line with Bernie.

  6. Former Republican April 29, 2024 10:10 pm

    I think their real strategy is just to get out of class for the day.

  7. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2024 8:37 am

    The situation at Columbia University has escalated. Protesters have broken into and are now occupying an administrative building.

  8. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2024 12:13 pm

    A few months ago, CNN interviewed some young voters from Georgia. They said they weren’t planning to vote for Biden because of the war and some other issues. They plan to either vote for a third party or stay home. When they were asked if their actions would help Trump get elected, they had this “I don’t care” attitude.

  9. Former Republican April 30, 2024 12:13 pm

    Well, they had better care. If Trump gets back in, we won’t be living in a democracy anymore.

  10. Former Republican April 30, 2024 3:58 pm

    The protesters are parroting what they’ve heard members of the Squad say about Israel. The Squad has frequently labeled Israel as an apartheid state. I’m curious as to where they picked that up from.

  11. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2024 4:15 pm

    Left-wing internet media sources such as Common Dreams and Democracy Now talk that way in their news coverage about the Middle East.

  12. Rustbelt Democrat April 30, 2024 8:58 pm

    Sounds like police are getting ready to take action at Columbia University.

  13. Princess Leia April 30, 2024 9:15 pm

    Sounds like it’s going to get ugly. At some of the other protests, people were pepper sprayed, etc.

  14. Rational Lefty April 30, 2024 9:20 pm

    At Brown University, the administration has decided to take a vote on divestment.

    NYPD is telling the administration at Columbia that if anyone gets hurt tonight, the blame will be on them.

  15. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2024 9:27 pm

    Good for Brown University for de-escalating the situation.

  16. Former Republican May 1, 2024 10:22 am

    At UCLA last night, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups violently clashed with each other.

  17. Rational Lefty May 1, 2024 12:17 pm

    In addition to that, this helps explain things too.

    Some questions and answers from the article:

    Tell me about where exactly the divisions are. Who specifically is breaking away from Joe Biden and maybe even other moderate Democrats?

    The most obvious people doing this in Congress are members of the Squad. These are the four female Democrats who get elected in 2018, a few more Democrats are elected in 2020 and 2022, but a very small beachhead of left-wing Democratic politicians inside the House. Not really inside the Senate. You actually see a division in the first few days of the war between what those Democrats are demanding, and they’re calling pretty early for a full ceasefire. Not continuing conflict until Israel wipes out Hamas, which they say is their goal, but a ceasefire, contradictory to the Netanyahu policy.

    You see other Democrats like [Sen.] Bernie Sanders — who’s really influential, the John the Baptist of the Squad, really coming before them and helping them get elected — he doesn’t even do that. But you see, within days after that, Sanders and a few other Democrats, some of whom surprised people like Dick Durbin, saying, “All right, no, I don’t think we should, as Democrats, as a country, be supporting whatever this government does,” as they see footage coming in from Gaza, as they see reports of children in hospitals being starved, civilian casualties.

    There are incidents, for example, like reporting that a hospital was blown up by Israeli missiles that is then contested. [Rep.] Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat — Detroit and Dearborn, really — Democrat, advances that and is censured by the House for it.

    She sticks to her guns, she gets censured, and she gains [support], not to everything she said, but on the quest for a ceasefire, they’re adding people day by day. I mean, you have a few dozen House Democrats who’ve called for a ceasefire. That is a minority. But I think the significance here is, one, that’s a lot of Democrats criticizing Israel in wartime. That is rare. The second part is, according to polling, they’re with the base. I covered some protests where people were pretty explicit about this. They would cite polling. There was one protest at the Democratic National Committee where there are people shining lights on the building that just show the poll numbers. When you ask people if they want a ceasefire without Israel’s conditions, like 80 percent of Democrats say yes. Ipsos/Reuters’ poll is the most recent that backs that up.

    For a lot of these [pro-Israel elected] Democrats, it’s clear that their constituents in the Democratic base are not as interested in reflexive Israel support as they are. But it is important to discredit their opponents and say these people are crazy, these people are antisemitic, these people are dangerous. This is where the division, I think, gets a lot nastier. While this is happening, with fewer protests, they’re getting a lot of blowback from Arab Americans who think that what Biden is doing — and they knew he was pro-Israel when he won the Arab American vote in 2020 — what he’s doing is offensive to them, is murderous.

    You see the term “Genocide Joe” being thrown around to attack Biden. That’s what you’re seeing eating away at Democratic support is both some stuff from far-left activists, many of whom are Jewish themselves, and then some from Arab American Democrats who say, “I can’t possibly support a president”— not that they’ll support Trump — “I can’t possibly go out and support a president who, if he’s reelected, is just going to do whatever Netanyahu says.”

    And these few dozen Democrats who are supportive of a ceasefire, who do want to see a real shift in this war and are pushing for it in Congress, are they facing repercussions from the moderates or the staunchly pro-Israel factions?

    The large groups I’ve been talking about — AIPAC, which is the Israel lobby in America; Democratic Majority for Israel, which is founded more recently and works in primaries to defeat left-wing Democrats, especially if they’re Israel critics — both those groups are very clear early on that they are going to continue working to beat Democrats who are critics of Israel. And … really within days, but it becomes a little more clear at the end of October, there is an effort to find a candidate who can beat Tlaib. There’s an effort to support one candidate who could beat Ilhan Omar. There’s an effort to beat Jamaal Bowman in New York, and Cori Bush in Missouri. So three or four of the most prominent Israel critics in the Congress: “How do we beat them?” And they’re not hiding this. It’s not like a trap they’re going to spring later. They’re saying pretty clearly, “We want candidates to run against these people.” In a couple of cases, they have them.

    How much of this is a generational divide within the party? Is it just young versus old, or is there something more going on here?

    Well, young and old explain much of it for basic reasons. If you are born after 1973, and that’s most Americans, you don’t know Israel as a tiny democracy in the Middle East that needs American protection. You know it as a powerful country with wealth comparable to a Western European country, with a strong military that never loses. Maybe [it] can get ambushed and surprised, but it doesn’t lose wars. So you ask, “Okay, why is my government supporting this?” And there’s been a search for reasons among a lot of pro-Israel Democrats: What could have done this to our younger voters? How did our young voters grow up and become Israel critics?

    There’s a lot of blame put on colleges. Okay. Colleges are very liberal and colleges are progressive. A few people are taught to be anti-colonial. That’s some of it. I think, in the intelligentsia of the left, everything that they say about this is true, that yes, there are people who have transposed their anti-colonial, anti-settler thinking and said “I’m against the Zionist state” for this reason. But this is across the education gap.

    Post-Iraq, there is a lot of skepticism. Why is America spending all this money, not just on foreign aid, but foreign aid in the Middle East in particular? Where is this going? What is the point of doing all this? And what is the point in doing it when we’re not as vulnerable as we were in the 1970s to OPEC and to oil shocks? For a lot of Americans the answer is, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t care. Why is either party so reflexively supportive of this? That’s kind of the question asked by, I’d say, Democrats across educational lines under 40. Also just younger voters generally who are very, very skeptical of this.

    And in the Democratic Party, we have young, we have old, and then we have really old, namely Joe Biden, who himself is older than Israel. Where exactly is he now, considering the state of affairs in his party?

    He doesn’t comment from day to day on critics inside the party. He’s not been baited into criticizing the left the way that AIPAC is. What Biden wants, and what he says when he’s interrupted by a Jewish Voice for Peace activist at a fundraiser, is he wants a humanitarian pause, which is, we pause the conflict. We release hostages. When the hostages are released and tensions decline, maybe we can deescalate the conflict. At no point does he say “whatever Netanyahu wants.”

    There is American pressure on ending hostilities as soon as possible, but it’s in the context of support for Israel, and sympathy for Israel, and sympathy for the people killed on October 7 by Hamas. It sounds like a very subtle difference. I think in some ways it is. But to activists and younger Democrats, it’s so clear to them morally that anything but demanding an immediate ceasefire and liberation for Palestinians is effectively genocide, that this is unacceptable.

    This is what he’s struggling to navigate. He just doesn’t have a party base that agrees that “We should take pains to protect Israel as we try to end the war.” Their position is, why? Why do they get this treatment? Why are we treating them any differently than another country that has some sort of internal population that doesn’t have full democratic rights? Or in the case of Gaza, the ability to leave the Gaza Strip freely? Why are we doing that? And that’s not something Biden can answer. That’s something that explains why he starts angering so much of the base.

  18. Princess Leia May 1, 2024 1:10 pm

    Thank you for that, Rational Lefty. That was definitely worth reading.

  19. Rustbelt Democrat May 1, 2024 6:47 pm

    Sounds like it’s more than just social media influencing the protesters.

  20. Former Republican May 1, 2024 6:51 pm

    It’s not just students protesting. Some professors have protested and been arrested as well.

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