Crackdowns on Pro-Palestine Occupations on Major Campuses Bringing Gaza Conflict a Bit Closer to Home

Many US papers are giving front-page, above the fold treatment to university administrators going wild and calling in the cops on peaceful campus protests, first at Columbia, followed by Yale and NYU. Harvard, in a profile in courage, closed its campus to prevent a spectacle. Demonstrations are taking hold at other campuses, including MIT, Emerson, and Tufts.

This is an overly dynamic situation, so I am not sure it makes sense to engage in detailed coverage. However, some things seem noteworthy.

First, in typical US hothouse fashion, the press is treating protests as if they were a bigger deal than the ongoing genocide in Gaza. I am not the only one to notice this. From Parapraxis (hat tip  guurst; bear with the author’s leisurely set-up):

I am employed as a non-tenure-track professor in a university department dedicated to teaching and research about Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness. One day, I arrived at work to find security cameras installed in my department’s hallway. I read in an email that these cameras had been installed after an antisemitic poster was discovered affixed to a colleague’s office door. I was never shown this poster. Like the cameras, I learned of it only belatedly. Despite the fact that the poster apparently constituted so great a danger to the members of my department as to warrant increased security, nobody bothered to inform me about it. By the time I was aware that there was a threat in which I was ostensibly implicated, the decision had already been made—by whom, exactly, I don’t know—about which measures were necessary to protect me from it. My knowledge, consent, and perspective were irrelevant to the process…

The prolepsis of the decision did more than protect me—if, indeed, it really did that. It interpellated my coworkers and myself as people in need of protection…. I was unwittingly transformed, literally overnight, into the type of person to whom something might happen.

My employer has a campus—three, actually—meaning that it has a physical plant. I navigate one of these campuses as my workplace, but it almost never figures for me as “the campus.” In fact, the first time since beginning the job when I felt myself caught up in an affective relation, not to the particular institution where I work, but rather to “the campus” was when I looked up into that security camera and felt myself being “watched” by it. Only then did I think, a couple of months into my temporary contract, that I was not just at my workplace. Now I was on “the campus.”

This incident with the poster and the camera occurred, of course, some weeks after the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and the onset of Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza. Against so horrific a backdrop, and relative to the intimidation and retaliation to which those who speak out against the war (including—indeed, especially—in the academy) have been subjected, my story sounds banal. And it is. In its very ordinariness, however, the anecdote is quite representative: first, of how decisions get made at contemporary institutions of higher education (generally speaking, without the input of those whom they impact); and second, of the logic of a peculiarly American phenomenon I call campus panic….

The months since October 7 have aggravated the most extreme campus panic I have witnessed. To judge by the American mass media, the campus is the most urgent scene of political struggle in the world. What is happening “on campus” often seems of greater concern than what is happening in Gaza, where every single university campus has been razed by the IDF. When all the Palestinian dead have been counted, it seems likely that these months will be recorded as having inflamed a campus panic no less intense than the one that accompanied the Vietnam War.


Second, many otherwise fine stories, like Columbia in crisis, again by the Columbia Journalism Review, and Columbia University protests and the lessons of “Gym Crow” by Judd at Popular Information, start off with the 1968 protests at Columbia as a point of departure. And again, consistent with the Parapraxis account and being old enough to remember the Vietnam War, I find the comparison to be overdone. Yes, there are some telling similarities, like the role of right-wing pressure in getting campus administrators to call out the cops, the device of dwelling on the earlier uprising seems to obscure more than it reveals. The Vietnam War, unlike Gaza, tore the US apart. Today’s campus students are, with only the comparatively small contingent of Palestinian students, acting to protest US support of slaughter in Gaza. In 1968, for many, the stake were more personal. The risk of young men having to serve was real.

Similarly, conservatives then supported the military and were typically proud of their or any family member’s service. Draft dodging and demonization of armed forces leaders was close to unconscionable. It took years of the major television networks and the two authoritative magazines, Time and Newsweek, showing what the war looked like, and intimating that the US was not succeeding, that shifted mass opinion.

And even the initial 1968 protests were more disruptive. The first wave at Columbia occupied some campus buildings, presumably disrputing operations. Today’s were encampments, as in outdoors. So they were more analogous to Occupy Wall Street, where the ongoing rebellion was an offense to authority even if it caused harm. But worse, the ones at Columbia and other schools now are by elites in training, and not presumed loser riff-raff.

So the aggressiveness of the crackdown looks like very insecure leadership. For instance, why escalate to calling in the NYPD immediately, as opposed to campus police, when the city’s cops reported everyone cooperated with the arrests?

This takes us to the third issues, that it isn’t just the students who oppose the stifling of protest, but also faculty. From the Popular Information article:

[President] Shafik’s actions were blasted in a statement issued on Friday by the Columbia and Barnard College chapters of the American Association of University Professors:

The American Association of University Professors has defined two central pillars of higher education in America: academic freedom and shared governance…In the last three days, Columbia University President Shafik and her administration have seriously violated both. We are shocked at her failure to mount any defense of the free inquiry central to the educational mission of a university in a democratic society and at her willingness to appease legislators seeking to interfere in university affairs. She has demonstrated flagrant disregard of shared governance in her acceptance of partisan charges that anti-war demonstrators are violent and antisemitic and in her unilateral and wildly disproportionate punishment of peacefully protesting students.

Shafik also drew a rebuke from the Columbia student council. In a statement, the council said that “students possess the inherent right to engage in peaceful protest without fear of retribution or harm” and called for “the preservation of freedom of speech and expression among students.”

Popular Information also points out how the Biden Administration is, natch, whipping up fear about possible dangers to Jews while ignoring that Muslims have been on the receiving end. Recall that ex-IDF soldiers who attacked pro-Palestinian protestors at Columbia in January went unpunished. Again from Popular Information:

On Sunday, the White House released a statement in response to the protests at Columbia, denouncing “calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students”:

While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous — they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America.

What incidents prompted this statement? A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But some media outlets are interpreting it as a response to this video, in which two unidentified men promise more terrorist attacks against Israel. According to the individual who posted the video, the incident did not occur on Columbia’s campus. There is no evidence that Columbia students were involved.

An NBC reporter, Antonia Hylton, who was on Columbia’s campus with protesters, reported no instances of “violence or aggression” among students.

Now we’ll turn to Rajiv Sethi, who as a professor at Barnard, has, for better or worse, a front row seat on the turmoil.

By Rajiv Sethi, professor of economics at Barnard College. Originally published at his website

My campus is in turmoil, and it’s hard to think or write about anything else. Dozens of students have been suspended, arrested, and barred from the premises. Others have been advised to leave for their own safety. Most entrances are closed altogether, and the few that remain open are guarded to prevent entry of non-affiliates. Calls for the resignation of leaders are coming from multiple quarters—some concerned about excessively punitive measures and others about inadequate enforcement and protection.

There are several reports on social media of harassment, intimidation, and the glorification of violence. Such reports often conflate what is happening outside the gates—involving people who may not be affiliates and who are on ground over which the university has no jurisdiction—with the protests on the South Lawn. Based on what I have seen personally, the latter protests have been peaceful, prayerful, and even joyful at times.1

I did see one sign directed at President Shafik that I felt was offensive and ill-advised. And there is one phrase—recently deemed anti-Semitic by an act of Congress—that has been repeated loudly and frequently within the gates. This post is about the meaning of that phrase, and about meanings and messages in general.

While on stage at a political convention in July 2015, Martin O’Malley said the following:

Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.

Taken literally, these words are entirely unobjectionable, even laudable. But O’Malley apologized for them within hours, saying: “That was a mistake on my part and I meant no disrespect.”

Why was the apology deemed necessary? O’Malley was running for the Democratic presidential nomination at the time, and to many of the voters he was courting, the words “all lives matter” had come to mean something else entirely—an expression of indifference to racial inequality at best, and perhaps even a racist dog whistle.

As phrases come to be endowed with new meanings, some people respond by carefully avoiding them, while others are motivated to adopt them with relish. This further entrenches the new meaning and reinforces the process of selective abandonment and adoption. Thus “Democrat Party” can come to be intended and perceived as an epithet, and the seemingly harmless chant “Let’s Go Brandon!” a vulgarity.

This process is decentralized and largely uncoordinated, and there is little that legislation can do to enforce the attachment of meanings to messages. Of course, this hasn’t prevented our elected officials from trying. On April 16, by a vote of 377-44, the House passed Resolution 883:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the slogan, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is antisemitic and its use must be condemned.

One day later, Columbia President Minouche Shafik was asked by Congresswoman Lisa McClain whether she agreed that such statements were indeed anti-Semitic. President Shafik answered as follows:

I hear them as such, some people don’t.

The problem with this response is that it suggests that listeners are free to assign meanings to expressions, regardless of the identities and intentions of speakers. But meanings are created jointly by speakers and listeners, and the same message can carry different meanings depending on what is known about the parties engaged in communication.

People have often appropriated and de-fanged racist, misogynistic, and homophopic insults aimed at the groups to which they belong. Even the most vile and vicious slur in the American language carries a different connotation when used by Randall Kennedy in conversation. The meanings of messages cannot be established independently of the indentities of those who use them. They cannot be established by listeners alone.

Thus the attempt by the House of Representatives to define the meaning of a phrase is likely to be futile. The meaning will evolve over time based on the process of selective avoidance and adoption. And this meaning is vigorously contested at present.

Consider, for instance, the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism. This document states clearly that “denying the right of Jews in the State of Israel to exist and flourish, collectively and individually, as Jews, in accordance with the principle of equality” is anti-Semitic. However, it also proclaims:

It is not antisemitic to support arrangements that accord full equality to all inhabitants “between the river and the sea,” whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in whatever form.

President Shafik could have referenced the above in pushing back against the idea that meanings can be assigned by elected representatives or college administrators. I understand the pressure she was under, and it is difficult to give thoughtful responses under such circumstances. But it is important that moving forward, the use of this phrase alone not be used as a basis for disciplinary action.

One organization that I have come to admire over the past few years is the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which has been admirably consistent in defending freedom of speech on and off campus. On this phrase in particular, FIRE’s position is the following:

If students at a peaceful protest chant anti-Israel slogans like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” that speech, taken alone, is protected political expression. Even if some understand the phrase to call for the destruction of Israel, it is still—absent more—protected as political speech, advocating in general terms for violence elsewhere at an unspecified time against a broadly defined target… But context is determinative: Were the same statement to be directed at a specific Jewish student by a student or group moving threateningly towards him, during a protest that has turned violent and unstable, it may arguably constitute a true threat.

This is the right position to take and I hope that Barnard and Columbia will adopt it. The keynote by Killer Mike at the 2023 FIRE Gala explains in the clearest possible terms the value of this perspective, and it will join the Reith lecture by Chimamanda Adichie and the Stanford Memo by Jenny Martinez (along with the Kalven Report and the Chicago Principles) as a classic in the pantheon of free speech advocacy.

Among the people who have addressed the students on the South lawn are Madmood Mamdani and Norman Finkelstein; I caught the tail end of the latter’s speech but couldn’t hear much because amplification was limited and he tends to speak quite softly. I do hope that the students who invited him will read his latest book, which is as fierce a critique of identity politics as one is likely to find anywhere.

Norman Finkelstein addresses student protestors at Columbia on April 19th, 2024

I received a response to this post from Seth Weissman, whom I first met when he was a graduate student at Columbia many years ago. I remember Seth fondly, and have enormous respect for him. His message is posted (with permission) below:

Rajiv, as usual, a very thoughtful take. That said, you are missing something. I say this as someone who knows and respects you as fair-minded and as an Orthodox Jew who is:

  1. Deeply supportive of Israel’s obligation to defend its citizens, while also highly critical of Israel’s lack of adequate concern for Palestinian civilians in the current conflict.
  2. Highly critical of Netanyahu’s nationalistic agenda and history of implicit cooperation with Hamas in obstructing progress towards peace and legitimate Palestinian national aspirations.

So what are you missing? I’m all for “from the river to the sea, Palestinians will be free.” That could mean in a binational state alongside Jews living freely, or in two states, one Palestinian (West Bank, Gaza, and the Arab sections of Jerusalem such as Abu Dis) and the other a Jewish home where Arab citizens are accorded full rights, which is the current (albeit imperfectly realized) concept of Israel. This is in accordance with the Jerusalem Declaration.

But the chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” explicitly and willfully denies Jewish self expression. In a context where some of the protestors (not all, and I am making no claim as to what percentage) have expressed solidarity with Hamas, it can be taken no other way. And while the majority of the protestors would denounce Hamas (I hope), they are standing shoulder to shoulder with those who empathize with Hamas.

FYI, I have the scars from confronting nationalism and Islamophobia on the Jewish side. If I could pay the price for denouncing Jewish nationalists on my “side,” I can expect the protestors at Columbia and Barnard to do the same—criticize Israel without providing political support for terror and anti-Semitism.


After posting this I came across a credible report of significant harassment and intimidation within the Columbia gates. All classes at Barnard and Columbia are remote today, which I imagine is a prelude to clearing out of the encampment.

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  1. Belle

    This isn’t even as violent as some celebrations of college championships! When Joe Paterno was dismissed, students did more violence than the protesters did at all these schools combined!

  2. Alice X

    The Columbia president called in the cops (against the vote of the University council) because the students had been suspended and thus were trespassing. The students had not then actually been suspended, but they were arrested. Then they were suspended because they had been arrested. A perfectly circular logic.

    These people are protesting a Genocide. I hope their numbers multiply by 10, 100, 1,000…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Were the students automagically suspended by virtue of protesting? Otherwise, how could they have any idea how many participants had been suspended v. were newbies?

      1. Alice X

        I’m going on the statements of Columbia faculty member Joseph Slaughter on today’s Democracy Now. In reviewing the transcript he did say that: there were a number of exceptions from Barnard, apparently, but the vast majority of those students were in fact not suspended until 24 hours after the arrests.

        Pro-Palestinian Campus Encampments Spread Nationwide Amid Mass Arrests at Columbia, NYU & Yale

        …JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Professor Slaughter, this whole issue of within 24 hours students receiving notices of suspensions? What kind of due process occurred here?

        JOSEPH SLAUGHTER: That’s a great question, and I think it’s something that’s extremely important for people to understand. In the letter that President Shafik sent the NYPD, the chief of police, asking them for their intervention, she claimed that the students were being suspended for violations of the university policies and that, therefore, they were trespassing on Columbia property. The students, the 108 students who were arrested, were charged with trespassing. However, in fact, the vast majority of those students — there were a number of exceptions from Barnard, apparently, but the vast majority of those students were in fact not suspended until 24 hours after the arrests. The suspension notices that the students received now cite the arrests themselves as part of the cause for suspension. In other words, the logic was circular. They called in the New York Police Department on the premise that the students were trespassing, when they hadn’t yet been suspended. And they are now suspended on the premise that they had violated trespassing — New York trespassing laws, and therefore needed to be suspended and were guilty. In my opinion, the NYPD were called in under false pretenses by the president of the university.

        1. Rajiv Sethi

          As Alice said, the notices of suspension went out a day after the arrests and cited the arrests as cause.

          But the letter to the NYPD requesting intervention said that “All University students participating in the encampment have been informed they are suspended. At this time, the participants in the encampment are not authorized to be on University property and are trespassing.”

          If this claim in the letter was false it will be a problem for the administration.

        2. CA

          “The suspension notices that the students received now cite the arrests themselves as part of the cause for suspension. In other words, the logic was circular. They called in the New York Police Department on the premise that the students were trespassing, when they hadn’t yet been suspended…”

          Importantly explained.

        3. juno mas

          I’ve commented previously on the Columbia “suspensions”… but here goes again. Columbia University uses federal funds so both the US Civil Rights Act of 1965 and FERPA (Family Education Privacy Act) are in play. Both provide clear ‘due process’ considerations that protect enrolled students.

          The FERPA violations include: no written notification to the students of the campus standards that they were violating; no opportunity for mediation; no opportunity for a disciplinary hearing and the ability for the student to insert a written statement of disagreement (that must be permanently applied to the record); then Columbia disclosed this FERPA protected disciplinary “suspension” to the NYPD.

          The Columbia president has the same shortcomings as the former Harvard president—incompetence.

    1. Alice X

      She had the same right to be there as the rest, and to be safe, which she was. They were protesting a genocide, she apparently wasn’t. Facts can be inconvenient.

      1. ArvidMartensen

        I can only agree with Johnstone. This looks like a security operation to drown out the horrors of Gaza.

        If the media is full of the ‘wars’ on campuses, then the minds of the populace are riveted by what is going to happen next. So this leaves no brainspace for things that are happening, like, thousands of miles away, to people that are not ‘our’ people.

  3. Feral Finster

    Note how the current rules of polite educated discourse focus entirely on the complainant’s subjective state of mind (“I felt unsafe!”) and not on whether that the accused did is in fact offensive, judged by how another would view it.

    Not only that, but once a member of an approved victim class makes an accusation, the burden of proof falls to the accused to prove they didn’t do anything wrong, in other words, to prove a negative. This is a game that the accused can rarely win, which is why Zionists play this game with such enthusiasm.

    That said, those who rule over us care nothing for our clever word games, our cute memes, our tightly reasoned arguments or close readings of texts. They know full well that they are hypocrites. They know full well that they are murderers.

    They do not care, any more than the schoolyard bully cares about your witty repartee, as long as he still can smash your face in.

  4. Emma

    I suggest this former student go read Elon Pappe and then get back to me about why settler colonialists who committed the Nakba and numerous other acts of aggression against a civilian population to steal land and impose apartheid and worse on the natives, deserve “self expression”.

    I would also point the high number of Jewish anti-Zionists and say that lumping in the Zionist state of Israel and Jewish safety is inherently anti-semitic and racist. This person has no right to speak for other Jews who feel very differently about the state of Israel and enforce his beliefs on them. We would never accept such a framing for white supremacist speaking for all white Protestants and we should not accept this framing for Zionists to speak for all Jews.

    In addition, the Palestinians have an absolute right to armed resistance under international law. Currently, that’s in the armed Palestinian resistance including Hamas. Whether their actions are strategically justified or not is a question for the Palestinian people, not outsiders to comment.

    1. Feral Finster

      All true, but the only thing that matters is enforcement. Laws and rights are meaningless if you cannot enforce them. Logical inconsistencies mean nothing to those who can simply use brute force to get their way.

      “A WOLF, meeting with a lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea, which should justify to the lamb himself, his right to eat him.

      He then addressed him: Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.
      Indeed, bleated the lamb in a mournful tone of voice: I was not then born.

      Then said the wolf: You feed in my pasture.
      No, good sir, replied the lamb: I have not yet tasted grass.

      Again said the wolf: You drink of my well.
      No, exclaimed the lamb: I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.

      Upon which the wolf seized him and ate him up, saying: Well! I won’t remain supper-less, even though you refute every one of my imputations.

      Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.”

      1. Emma

        Sheesh. The Palestinians are standing up and fighting and inflicting damage on their occupiers.

        The Russians are attriting the NATO military stockpile and turning even Galicians against their NATOstan installed regime, at comparative low cost to themselves.

        The Iranians and Hezbollah are establishing a new retaliation terms against Israel and will respond more aggressively going forward.

        So, sheesh, take the win. The path from here to there will be painful and treacherous, but it looks like a hopefully better new world coming into being in front of our eyes.

          1. Emma

            Your despair comes from your frustration at how slowly the Axis of Resistance is moving. My optimism comes from the same place.

            If they were losing, they would be reaching for more hail Marys and possibly attacking civilian infrastructure like the Ukrainians and Israelis do. Hezbollah and Iran both said in October that Hamas will not fall and that they saw a 6-12 months conflict, and that’s what we’re seeing.

            What we’re seeing are people who use their military power strategically to effect long term goals. They need to fight for the day after and they can look to the Algerians, the Vietnamese, and the Afghans for inspiration. They can’t just buy a ticket and hoof it back to Paris or Brooklyn.

            I’m not saying that it’s definitely going to happen or that it’ll be smooth sailing getting to the point of the West’s defeat, but I feel optimistic about their chances.

            1. Feral Finster

              It has nothing to do with despair. I just face facts.

              Your logic seems to be one of fitting the facts to the desired conclusion. If the West escalates, then they are desperate. If they don’t escalate, then they must be panicked.

              They are neither. They are simply sociopaths, that is all.

              1. Emma

                I agree with you that we’re ruled by evil conscience-free sociopaths, many of whom appear to enjoy cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

                But they’re proving to be very inept at anything beyond symbolic manipulation within their little fiefdoms. The tiny isolated speck of Gaza hasn’t been pacified after 200 days. They couldn’t the the rest of the world to stop trading with Russia or China or crash either economy. They couldn’t get most of the highly indoctrinated Western public to agree with them on “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

                They are losing and like a wounded wild animal, that’s when they’re most dangerous. But they are losing.

                1. Feral Finster

                  They don’t seem to be lashing out at all. How long did it take to pound Mosul into submission, to give but one recent example? But they did it.

                  Note that Iran is desperately trying to avoid escalation.

                  1. Emma

                    The Israelis not lashing out? Seriously?

                    Yes, Iran would prefer to keep focus on Gaza and not get bombed out like Beirut. The whole point is that they know the Israelis are getting desperate to draw out the Americans and expand the war, and they rightfully don’t want to subject their own people to it. But they’ve been supporting the Axis of Resistance for long enough for the Houthis and Hezbollah and even Hamas to fight for themselves.

                    Be grateful that the Iranians are avoiding direct escalation because of they do get drawn in directly, oil will be $500 a barrel.

  5. nippersdad

    This is just intellectually dishonest and a clear case of hypocrisy:

    “But the chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” explicitly and willfully denies Jewish self expression. In a context where some of the protestors (not all, and I am making no claim as to what percentage) have expressed solidarity with Hamas, it can be taken no other way. And while the majority of the protestors would denounce Hamas (I hope), they are standing shoulder to shoulder with those who empathize with Hamas.”

    So Weissman’s fee fees on Jewish political “self expression” should be honored over the lives of those whose futures are endangered. I don’t see that so much as a thoughtful response to Sethi as a restatement of the issues that the students are protesting. If he has a problem with Hamas he needs to take that up in the international courts and prove that Palestinians, unlike everyone else in their position, do not have a legal right to military means to overturn their oppressors rule in occupied territories.

    I’m not clear why Sethi felt it necessary to include that unless it was to illustrate how deeply the mind rot goes and the dishonest means by which it is commonly expressed.

    1. Feral Finster

      Of course it is rank hypocrisy. As long as they can bully dissenters into silence, the hypocrites do not care.

      1. nippersdad

        I really don’t think these ZioNazis recognize the degree of damage they have done to their brand. Americans are a notoriously truculent, insular people, and at some point all of these smears are going to have a reaction that they will not be able to control. As usual they are creating their own monsters.

        “Fromer, who organized Tuesday’s conference, told The Jerusalem Post that relations with America are of “strategic importance” to the survival of Israel, yet over the last decade, these relations have been “systematically mismanaged” by Netanyahu and his government, including when it comes to understanding the Evangelicals.”

        When you’ve lost the Evangelicals……….

          1. nippersdad

            So what happens when all of the kids at these ivy league schools have their futures threatened? How are their parents going to react to that? The Democratic party, as has been exhaustively pointed out here, is reliant upon the support of the very PMC that comes out of these schools. Someone needs to send them a memo or the upcoming elections are going to look a lot different than they would have just a few months ago.

            I thought this was a very interesting, and utterly predictable, response to the attempted suffocation of those protests:


            1. Feral Finster

              The folks running those Ivy League schools don’t seem too concerned.

              Or at least they are more concerned about catching flak from Israel/AIPAC/State than they are students or their parents.

              1. nippersdad

                Those parents are not interested in governance by quarterly reports. The people running those ivies are between a rock and a hard place, and they need to consider what an endowment without students looks like.

            2. Valerie in Australia

              Yes, Wilmer Leon at The Critical Hour made the same point. He said it cost $66,000 a year to study at Columbia (not sure what that includes) and that, if he were a parent of a suspended student, he would NOT be happy!

              Plus, you are right, these arrests might very well have an impact on future careers – although it has occurred to me that these very same students might be wearing their arrests as a badge of courage should they ever run for political office.

    2. Albe Vado

      If you really want to throw them for a loop, just openly say you side with Hamas, and that Hamas’s violent actions are legal.

      “I don’t like your illegal colonial project, and violent resistance to an occupier is both justified and legal. Do you want me to cite the relevant UN Resolutions? Now it’s your move, if you think can find one.”

      They’ll just call you a terrorist loving Jew hater. Okay, and? What else you got, because I’ve heard it all before. The Hasbara well has run dry in the face of literal genocide.

    3. Anon

      “Military means…” Given Hamas attacks on civilians, some of which were perhaps morally intentioned, and nonetheless disastrous; your argument could be used to justify Israel’s attacks on civilians. Slippery slope. There are no ‘good’ guys (‘better’ is moot) here, there’s one guy being obnoxious, oppressive, and genocidal, and another getting his (family’s) face bashed in. That said, at the macro level, it’s getting more difficult to tell which is the underdog.

      1. Emma

        The occupier does not have “a right to self defense”. The occupied does.

        That’s the difference.

        1. Dan

          Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime, and both sides have done that correct? Does the right to self-defense override war crimes statues in international law?

          1. Emma

            Even if you can prove that Hamas committed war crimes (and I’ve seen no concrete evidence of war crimes beyond the taking of some elderly and children as hostages – arguably done in desperation to force the trading of women and children hostages in Israeli detention), that does not negate their right to armed resistance. The individual acts of war crimes can be identified and punished, but that does not change the right of the collective to armed resistance.

          2. Kouros

            The israeli civilians have taken the land and occupying it. Also, Palestinian civilians are taken prisoners with no charge, for years by Israels’ occupation forces. Israeli settlers are active participants in the oppression of Palestinians, and many of them are armed and have even commited crimes – this is why some have even been temporarily sanctioned by the US.

        2. Anon

          My point, is that once you attempt to justify murder and kidnapping, there really are no red lines. At that point it doesn’t matter who threw the first punch, but who will survive the resulting race to the bottom… this is not a defense of Israel, but a call for better sophistry.

          1. nippersdad

            My response to you a few hours ago has disappeared into the ether, but without the law you have chaos. Emma’s point, and mine, is that this is the law under which we are all signatories. If you cannot even recognize the basis of the argument then you can’t have much of a point to make.

            “Sophistry, definition:
            Sophistry is tricking someone by making a seemingly clever argument, like a philosopher who argues that up is down and somehow convinces you. If you accuse someone of sophistry, you mean they’ll lie to make a point.”


            At this point we do not need “better sophistry”, what we need is agreement that the law is there for a purpose and distinguishes those in the right from those in the wrong. Israel is objectively in the wrong, and regardless of how one feels about it that is just simple a fact.

            1. Anon

              ‘Sophistry’ has a connotation of deceit, which you have chosen to highlight. It also means, simply, ‘fallacious reasoning’, ‘specious reasoning’, in context I meant that including “military means” made the argument vulnerable… it implied that Hamas has a legal right to murder and/or kidnap civilians, which I’m certain any court would agree they do not.

              Reflecting on the original post, be clear: one can condemn Israel’s actions against the Palestinians, yet still be absent on the vote for Hamas, despite your depiction of the necessary evils.

              I am intellectualizing what is a very charged issue, but I’m also on nakedcapitalism, so forgive me.

              1. nippersdad

                Had my initial comment not disappeared the need to point out that there has been little to convince me that ANY civilians were killed by Hamas on Oct. 7th would be moot. I would be happy to go back into that if you like, but I think at a minimum the concept of “murder” is questionable in a country wherein virtually everyone is a member of the military and are, therefore, fair game under the laws of war. The only exception I have seen was a child killed in a kibbutz, and that appears to have been caused by Israeli tank fire under the rubric of the Hannibal Directive. A directive that was clearly used on Oct. 7 by the Israelis specifically to prevent the capture of prisoners to be used in exchange for those Palestinians held by Israel.*

                Under this reasoning, Israel murdered an unknown percentage of its’ own people, not Hamas, which could be argued under the law to have viewed them as military opponents given the mandatory nature of military service there. Take that to a court and see how it rules.

                The problem with characterizing kidnap by Hamas is similarly problematic. Israel legally has no business in the occupied territories under international law, and any “civilians” there should be understood to have been a failure by the Israeli state on the grounds of contraventions of the Geneva Conventions.** Their taking their own chances with a group that has taken people to trade for their own abductees before can be either characterized as stupidity or arrogance.

                You don’t get to mention a hundred Israelis “kidnapped” and yet fail to mention that Israel has thousands of Palestinians in its’ prisons that were picked up off the street and held without charge. After all, that would fall under the definition of the “sophistry” of “specious reasoning”, as I am sure you would agree.

                There are clearly red lines out there; that they are being ignored is the larger story. It does matter who threw the first punch, and unfortunately for the narrative at hand those first punches landed predate Hamas. Hamas is the monster that ignoring red lines in the past has created, and that is perhaps the most important part of the story if it is to be understood at all.



                1. Anon

                  Ok, so kidnapping is cool, if they kidnapped from you. Got it. 🙄

                  I prefer to keep the deeds in the boxes where they come from, lest I (or the courts) get confused about where they belong… as I intoned previously, it may be too late for that, as strategic aims are already a good unto themselves, apparently.

                  1. nippersdad

                    That was a fundamentally dishonest answer. The Hannibal Directive was devised by Israel to PREVENT the taking of hostages when they could have just as easily kept civilians out of the occupied territories in dispute, as is required by the Geneva Conventions. That is two marks against Israel.

                    Hamas, OTOH, has every right under international law to use military force in occupied territory. If they have to use asymmetric means to fight their oppressors that is in itself legal.

                    Are you suggesting that the French Resistance should have followed your ideas of what is legal in their fight against the Nazis? Sometimes people do what they must, and if Israel is not cognizant of that fact then they have no business running a country, nor does the US in supporting them. Human nature is what it is, and the laws governing this conflict reflect that.

                    The only “right” Israel has under international law is to use recognized peace processes to end their occupation of Palestinian lands. I think you could agree that killing off your own people and blaming it on others is not conducive to a peace process, so what kind of little boxes must you have to put your rationale into to make it work?

                    1. Anon

                      You’re arguing that Hamas is better than Israel, because law, kudos… my argument was ‘there are no good guys’ because war is war. The problem with ‘better’ is that there are so many metrics by which to assess, that it really becomes an aesthetic choice. Even your “objective” claim to Palestinian statehood, is highly dependent on subjective human rights, and ideas never written in stone. Everyone is doing what they believe they have to in order to survive. So all this talk about legality and who has precedent is truly besides the point, because ultimately, it’s about who can hold that land. May the ‘best’ man win, eh?

                  2. Emma

                    You’re intentionally obscuring the difference between arguable kidnapping of maybe 30 people in the heat of an intense military operation and the intentional killings/maiming of 100,00 people and starvation of 2.4 million people. I think that’s sophistry and arguing in bad faith.

                    1. Anon

                      You made declarations of my intent; why would I engage you rationally? I have no dog in this race besides my reputation as a critical thinker, and I’ll hold onto that, no matter what Israel or lily white Hamas do.

          2. Emma

            Where did I justify war crimes? No. I am simply stating that under international law, the commission of war crimes does not negate the legitimate right to armed self defense. Palestinians have that right as an occupied people. Israel does not have that right as the occupier.

            You’re both siding the issue and conveniently overlooking the imbalance in power and injustice between the two sides of this conflict. You’re asking the weaker occupied people to surrender and submit to being oppressed.

            In the history of decolonization, they all required substantial armed resistance by the occupied people. They’re always called terrorist and savages. The colonizers never leave out of the goodness of their hearts. They always have to be forced out by the escalating costs created by the resistance.

            1. CA

              “The colonizers never leave out of the goodness of their hearts. They always have to be forced out by the escalating costs created by the resistance.”

              Perfectly explained, all through.

            2. Anon

              You’re putting a lot of words in my mouth there; but I’m glad you’re getting your point across.

              1. Emma

                You said that I “attempt to justify murder and kidnapping” when I clearly said that war crimes should be punished. So you were putting words in my mouth.

                Your argument is also invalidating the use of violence generally, so I think I am justified to discuss the fallout of a purely pacifist approach in Israel Palestine (the Great March of Return in 2019, it was a horrible and little known massacre of completely peaceful Palestinians).

                You’re also ignoring the history of resistance to colonialism – they’re always decried as barbaric spirals of violence. Yet in each case, eventually peace was made and a more just government was established.

                It speaks to your lack of knowledge about the situation that you assume the Palestinians would spiral into a unending cycle of violence when they have been very disciplined in their military actions and their negotiation positions (free all Palestinian hostages, total cessation of hostilities, unrestricted shipment of aid).

                1. Anon

                  That was a general you. I’m not arguing that Palestinians are undeserving of our support, nor that Israel is justified in its actions, but that everyone is doing what they believe they must, the inevitable, and Hamas is no bastion of liberal morality, so we should not make the mistake of equating their ideology, strategy and tactics with righteousness, as there may well come a time when one has to defend the human rights of Israelis.

                  1. Emma

                    How about talking about what has actually happened rather than speculate about what YOU think may happen in the future?

                    Israel killed and maimed 100,000 civilians, most of them women and children.

                    Israel has been cutting off electricity and water, destroying hospitals and food warehouses for 200 days.

                    Israel used dubious AI to target alleged militants while they’re home with their families and allow dozens of collateral deaths for each purported kill.

                    Israel has created free for zones where they kill anything that moves, including clearly defenseless IDF soldiers waiving a white flag and speaking Hebrew.

                    Israel has killed little girls and humanitarian workers who obtained prior clearance to perform humanitarian duties.

                    Israel has been starving and abusing Palestinian hostages and prisoners to the extent that Israeli doctors are reporting daily amputations due to the abuse.

                    Hamas and Hezbollah has done none of these things. They have responded to Israeli attacks by targeting military targets. There are no beheadings, no evidence of sexual abuse beyond one unsubstantiated accusation by one woman months after she was released into Israeli custody.

                    There’s zero history or reason for Hamas to behave so barbarically if they get the upper hand. After Hezbollah drive Israel out of southern Lebanon, they maintained deterrence but did not actively attack Israelis without provocations. Genocide and mass murder is a huge own goal by Israelis. It makes people who were previously indifferent now actively hate and fear them. Why would Hamas repeat Israeli stupidity, especially when they have previously accepted two state solutions and their proposed one state solution would allow Jews to live in a democratic and equal society?

                    So there is no evidence that Hamas and the other resistance forces would ever behave in the barbaric manners of the IDF. If they do commit war crimes, now or in the future, they can be punished for them. But commission of war crimes do not negate their right to self defense as an occupied people or give Israel any right under international law to attack as the occupier.

                    But you have shown that you’re not interested in reality of what happened on and after October 7. You’ve dismissed settled international law about the rights of the Palestinian people as he said she said.

                    In short, you just want to pre-crime Hamas for what they haven’t done and appear extremely unlikely to ever do based on available evidence, while not talking about what Israel has actually done.

                    1. Anon

                      You keep going off about Israel, the thread is about supporting Hamas, not supporting Israel. I can empathize with Hamas, but I’m not trying to join Hamas ! I support the Palestinian people, some of whom happen to be waging a deadly war for survival, at truly gruesome cost; but that last bit is truly beyond me, so forgive me for not cheering.

                    2. Emma

                      I don’t forgive you for being the sort of person who fixate on the imagined crimes of one group while stridently refusing to acknowledge and engage with the actual and monstrous crimes of the other group that they’re fighting.

                      I don’t forgive you for saying that settled international law doesn’t matter.

                      I don’t forgive you for arguing in bad faith by ignoring what the other side is saying and strawmanning them, again and again.

                    3. Anon

                      Ask a Gazan about the sanctity of international law, and they’ll tell you it’s great, in hindsight.

                      You don’t know me or my fight, so quit trying so hard to lose friends.

          3. Piotr Berman

            Actions, like words, have to be understood in context. For example, it is hard to tell if English women were forced to cover their hair ca. 1900, because on a moving picture from that period all nubile and older women had their hair covered. Would there be a law demanding hair covering, it would simply codify a cultural norm (that strangely vanished in 1920s). That gives a needed context to disparaging Islam as hopelessly backward and medieval for cultivating norms that predominated ca. 1900 in England, i.e. few epochs after Middle Ages.

            The relevant context “between the river and the sea” is the behavior of the dominant power in this region, i.e. majority of Jews in Israel and their militant arms, chiefly IDF and the settlers. Consistent with those de-facto norms, IDF used a program computing points to be hit by their fire (admirable precise) with human provided criteria, e.g. if a location seems to have a member of Hamas and some civilians, then it is OK to hit it, provided that the number of civilians killed in the process is less that 10 per Hamas member. In conflicts like that, the weaker side adopts similar “norms”, for expedience and for the feeling “if they can do it, so can we”. Thus it would be an instructive exercise what was the ratio of civilian victims of Hamas attack to the military ones. This is a bit complicated. 300-400 military victims were reported by Haaretz, but quite a few were “Hannibalized”, plus 800-900 civilian victims, and again, some of those were “Hannibalized”.

            Because the personal of Eretz crossing was “H-ed”, and that was one of 3-4 military facilities overrun by Hamas, I would guess that Hamas had at least 250 military victims, and probably at most 750 civilian victims, so the ratio was clearly within norms of IDF.

            That may be too easy on Hamas if there were many cases if killing civilian victims ONLY, for example in kibbutzes and the “music festival”. But going back to IDF norms, it is important to prove that these were not simple mistakes in the heat of the battle. For example, Hamas did not know about the music festival that got the venue in the last minute, so in the area with several military camps AND during a Jewish holiday they run into a crowd of persons in military age, that could consist of ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERS who got a weekend leave during a holiday. Compare with excuses of two IDF cases that were well described because victims were IDF soldiers (case 1) and volunteers of WCK (case 2). While lamentable recklessness on one side does not justify such recklessness on the other side, this context is very important, because the genocidal rampage of IDF is justified by UNIQUE depravity exhibited by Hamas.

      2. Albe Vado

        Israel has literally no right to be doing anything to Palestinians, period. None. Zero.

        End the occupation, then perhaps arguments about self-defense can start being made. Don’t even try to make any equivocating arguments when one side has homemade rockets and the other is committing genocide.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Agreed, 100%.

      I also didn’t like the framing by FIRE claiming that chant was an “anti-Israel slogan”. It is clearly a pro-Palestinian one.

    5. Kouros

      It is based I think on the allegation that Hamas wants to ethnically cleanse Palestine of every Jew there. It is my understanding that Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, and Syria, have something against the Zionist project, that keeps taking the little land from under Palestinians and treats them as people with no rights or as prison inmates.

      Since the Oslo Accords, Israel has continuously obfuscated any final peace settlement, because with a peace also comes a final border, and Israel wants as much as it can take and they don’t want that door closed for them. This is the whole “Israel/Palestine conflict is very complex”…

    6. Carolinian

      I believe our American principle of free speech says that you are allowed to be for Hamas and even to say that. Of course there’s the famous “yelling fire in a crowded theater” but the people on the campus lawn can walk away and not hear the speech they don’t like.

      We have the rights, but not at the expense of somebody else’s rights. The doofus prof at the end of the above column wants to be the speech czar about how much free speech is enough. But we are not in “democratic” Israel where censorship is taken as a routine matter. Even self described “free speech absolutist” Turley seems more upset about people tearing down hostage posters than the events in Gaza and the fate of those who so protest. But if “safe space” is the goal then the Islamic students at NYU might very well take those posters as a hostile gesture toward them.

      In reality this censorship drive is merely an exercise in power as seen by the fact that Joe Biden is giving lectures on antisemitism when not talking about good clean black people. There’s plenty of hostility on both sides of the current horror but only one gets called out. The hypocrisy it burns.

    7. WG

      They say politics has strange bedfellows and so did/does a lot of historical events in progress. But in this case who’d even find it strange that Hamas supporters and those opposed to a brutal Apartheid and genocide would find common ground? I’ve been to a lot of protests. There are all kinds of elements present. Go to an antiwar protest of any kind and you will find communists, anarchists, mainstream capitalists, libertarians and even Lyndon Larouche disciples and probably a wide variety of religious backgrounds and atheists. You will also find some criminals using the crowds as cover. So it is intellectually dishonest to attempt to criticize protesters because there is one element of the crowd you disagree with.

      1. nippersdad

        “it is intellectually dishonest to attempt to criticize protesters because there is one element of the crowd you disagree with.”

        So, for the first time in many years I have watched a FOX News segment. I saw today a report on someone at one of the protests throwing a chair. The person who threw it was wearing a gray sweatshirt with the hood up, so you could not see who it was, and immediately darted through the crowd to get away. No word on whether or not he/she was caught.

        The first thing I thought of was the Nevada Democratic convention when it was asserted (against all evidence) that a “violent Bernie Bro” threw a chair. The Democratic party has never proven itself to be innovative, and goes back to the same well over and over again until they wear out the concept, so if I had to make a bet it would be that someone from the DNC wanted to delegitimize the protest for the next few months.

        If you can’t argue the issues, you just send in someone to change the subject.

    8. Uncle Doug

      “This is just intellectually dishonest and a clear case of hypocrisy:

      ‘But the chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” explicitly and willfully denies Jewish self expression.'”

      It’s even worse than that; it’s nonsensical. The chant has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s “self expression.” The claim deserves nothing more than derisive dismissal.

        1. Kfish

          It makes sense if you assume that Jewish self-expression requires oppressing Palestine. Which is pretty anti-Semitic.

  6. Aurelien

    Not my country (though there have been some milder examples of this kind of thing in Europe) but I can’t help wondering what the cumulative effect is going to be on the discourse of victimhood and psychological suffering that is everywhere these days. For as long as I can remember, people have been competing to expand the idea “X is violence” to every human activity you can imagine. So recently we’ve had “speech is violence” or even “free speech is violence.” Well, certain individuals might just be about to learn that speech and violence are actually two different things, because one is about words, and the other is about a policeman hitting you on the head and dragging you forcibly from a building. My generation, that went on protests against the Vietnam War in London, would never have confused the two. Here, we have a generation which has been brought up to think that anything that makes them feel uncomfortable is an act of violence. How are they even going to process what happens when someone tear-gasses them or hits them with a truncheon?

    1. Emma

      I would say the kids are alright. They’re protesting precisely because they instinctively know the difference between an actual genocide and “antisemitism”. They’re protesting even though they know that they might be throwing away their previously meticulously manicured futures, because it’s the right thing to do.

      It’s the adults, many of whom lived through the American hostilities against Vietnam and who supported the evils of Zionism and Salafist extremism in West Asia, who are the problem.

  7. Milton

    Reminds me of the coordinated effort between the FBI, DHS and Dem-led cities’ local PDs. I think this crackdown however, will be more of an amalgam; with tactics copied from the Canada truckers response–personal financial eviction and bad marks on each Gaza-supporters’ permanent record.

  8. Reify99

    Ferlinghetti poem:

    Pity the Nation Whose People are Sheep

    Pity the nation whose people are sheep
    And whose shepherds mislead them
    Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
    Whose sages are silenced
    And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
    Pity the nation that raises not its voice
    Except to praise conquerers
    And acclaim the bully as hero
    And aims to rule the world
    With force and by torture
    Pity the nation that knows
    No other language but its own
    And no other culture but its own
    Pity the nation whose breath is money
    And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
    Pity the nation oh pity the people
    who allow their rights to erode
    and their freedoms to be washed away
    My country, tears of thee
    Sweet land of liberty“

    (After Khalil Gibran)

    Read aloud:

  9. Rubicon

    Let’s compare that little crowd to when university students went ballistic over the US debacle in Viet Nam.
    Many of those fire-brand crowds were well university-educated folks. (Back when America had authentic universities.) People were shot and killed. The stampede continued for months on end. Consider the 1968 Democratic Convention. Fire works galore, guns in the hands with the police trying to restrain the crowds.

    At about the same time, my mother, touring Londo, was swiftly caught up in the massive crowds of stampeding protesters. Being a stalwart, she evaded them, but barely.

    What we’re seeing now, is a little crowd of pacifists, laying on the lawn w/ their tents. Nearly unaware of how America has devolved into being “Strangers {Living} In A Strange Land.”

    1. Emma

      And you know what happened to all the groups that accepted the righteousness of armed resistance? They got infiltrated by the feds and then had their leadership locked up for decades.

      There may come a time when peaceful resistance becomes widely accepted as insufficient, as we see amongst Palestinians. But that moment hasn’t arrived yet. In any case, who are you or I who are commenting anonymously and safely behind our keyboards, to criticize the tactics and strategies of young people facing suspension and arrest for protesting against genocide?

      1. JBird4049

        Another reason why those who advocated for and tried to commit violent resistance failed was that the majority of the nation was not ready for a war and saw no need. However, civil society and the political process both actually functioned. Restated, there was no place to hide and no effective support, which left them vulnerable because the system functioned however poorly, making people not wanting a violent revolution.

        But that was six decades ago. Today, there is no practical, effective means of peaceful change. I hope that I am very wrong, but if I am not, this means that people will be willing to take the risks necessary to support armed resistance. This is a scary thought, but to quote JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The narcissists, fools, and sociopaths now in charge appear to be trying quite hard to prevent any peaceful reform, no matter how mild.

  10. John

    For what it is worth, I oppose genocide. Israel is committing genocide. Does that ipso facto make me an anti-Semite? I oppose Israel’s creeping annexation of he Occupied West Bank and the brutal treatment of the Palestinians resident there. Does that ipso facto make me an anti-Semite? Equating opposition to Israel’s actions, in the first case horrific and in the second actions illegal under international law to Anti-Semitism, conflates statehood and religion. I suppose logically were Israel to declare itself a theocracy then opposition to the actions of the state could be construed as opposition to the religion. That is not the case here and to act as if it were is dishonest.

    The university administrations, more hedge fund administrators, than educators fear for their endowments. They fear grandstanding congress critters. They fear the Israel lobby. It is 99% or more fear of bad public relations. And recall, the same letters that spell public relations spell crap built on lies.

    1. Kfish

      According to a lot of Zionists, you are an anti-Semite for not accepting that their genocide is special.

      1. Farce

        In fact the most moral genocide ever, committed by the most moral military ever, supported by the most moral freedom and democracy spreading hegemon ever doing God’s work eliminating Amalek.

        Teflon reasoning for Morals R US – Pious worship.

        On with the red bovine, so the Coolies can get to building the third temple, the beachfront condos of Gaza, Ben Gurion canal, and manning the offshore platforms.

        And on the second day God said go forth …..

  11. Otto Reply

    Good to see student journalists getting a great education in covering breaking news. Hope they aren’t blacklisted. Columbia U. Newspaper Kids Working ‘Overtime’ to Get Protests Right

    “Especially this time when Columbia is sort of restricting access to press, we have an especially important job in documenting things going on, and we’ve tried to,” Karam, the managing editor, said. “We’ve tried to do that in a number of ways, particularly through our multimedia capacities. Our photographers and videographers are on the ground almost just as much as our reporters are, because we have that unique access that we know that no one else has right now.”

  12. Fastball

    Am I going to be the only one, as a leftie gay man, to have to point out that even rank bigotry is expressly protected by the First Amendment? That you don’t have to like true anti-semitism (as opposed to the phony version the zionists are always trotting out) to note that short of violence or threats of violence, to point out it is protected speech?

    To me it seems the zionists are getting us to dance on this distinction (Is it “antisemitic” or just “anti-Israel”) as if that matters, when it DOESN’T. As distasteful as it is, people ARE free in this country to be anti-Jewish, anti-gay or anti-any-other-old thing. The zionists acting as if there is some kind of legally actionable distinction between the two things is one reason why we have Congresscritters illegally trying to imprison people from exercising their protected rights in the service of BDS, etc.

    You can condemn anything you like, that’s protected speech also. I don’t like homophobes but I don’t have to like them to recognize their right to speak (even if that speech has social consequences).

    And, by the way, the Palestinians are semites.

    And, by the way, I am noticing the cop formulation of threat. “Feeling threatened” is not the same thing as actually “being threatened” necessarily.

    1. outside observer

      At some point over the last few years words became more violent than actual violence.

    2. Jen

      Precisely the point Killer Mike makes in his speech. He goes further, saying that the right for people to express their bigotry lets him know who his enemies are.

  13. noonespecial

    Consortiumnews article with bits on Prof. Edward Said and how Columbia at one point defended free speech due to a rock throwing event by Said during a trip to Lebanon. Commencement is coming up at Columbia and like the early childhood song goes, “Clean up, clean up, everyone clean up.”


    In its five-page letter response, the university said that Said’s action was protected under the principles of academic freedom. Citing John Stuart Mill, as well as the Columbia Faculty Handbook, the letter asserted:

    “There is nothing more fundamental to a university than the protection of the free discourse of individuals who should feel free to express their views without fear of the chilling effect of a politically dominant ideology. … This matter cuts to the heart of what are fundamental values at a great university.”…

    Said himself. In his 1979 seminal essay, “Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims,” Said warned:

    “The special, one might even call it the privileged, place in this discussion of the United States is impressive, for all sorts of reasons. In no other country, except Israel, is Zionism enshrined as an unquestioned good, and in no other country is there so strong a conjuncture of powerful institutions and interests…”

    1. John Steinbach

      My memory of the Said rock-throwing incident is that it involved him standing on the Lebanese border & symbolically throwing a rock over the border.

  14. You're soaking in it!

    Well, even the Columbia coaches watch the films of their opponents games for tips on how to play. Pres. Shafik saw Liz McGill and Claudine Gay and thought, hmm, ok!

    1. Belle

      Around ten years back, we had military members posting pics on social media, with their faces hidden behind signs saying, “I don’t want to die for Al-Quaeda in Syria’s Civil War.”
      Perhaps we could see people taking up the slogan, “I don’t want to die for Nazis in Ukraine’s Civil War.”
      Further, health issues can interfere with drafts…

      1. Glen

        Biden got five draft deferments to avoid Vietnam. So “Biden didn’t go fight in Vietnam, and I’m not going to go fight in the Middle East, Ukraine or Taiwan” is good too.

    1. John Wright

      Hill and Victoria are patiently waiting to be called up in the war of words. What about Samantha Power? All silent.

  15. MFB

    What the hell is the long-term implication of all this ordure?
    If you can’t protest peacefully about your country performing terrible crimes in a terrible country ten thousand kilometres away, that means that you are obliged to support those terrible crimes and that terrible country.
    In which case, what else will you be compelled to support?
    And would you ever be permitted to protest against crimes of any kind committed by your country, except when elites determine that such protests serve their interest?

  16. Mikel

    “First, in typical US hothouse fashion, the press is treating protests as if they were a bigger deal than the ongoing genocide in Gaza…”

    Reporters in Gaza are getting killed, so this is an angle on the story that still has some action.

  17. Peter Steckel

    This all has me thinking of an infamous passage from that book:
    “Might does not make right, said Irving. The man that wins in some combat is not vindicated morally.

    Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by an ultimate test. A man falling dead in a duel is not thought thereby to be proven in error as to his views. His very involvement in such a trial gives evidence of a new and broader view. The willingness of the principals to forgo further argument as the triviality which it in fact is and to petition directly the chambers of the historical absolute clearly indicates of how little moment are the opinions and of what great moment the divergences thereof. For the argument is indeed trivial, but not so the separate wills thereby made manifest. Man’s vanity may well approach the infinite in capacity but his knowledge remains imperfect and howevermuch he comes to value his judgements ultimately he must submit them before a higher court. Here there can be no special pleading. Here are considerations of equity and rectitude and moral right rendered void and without warrant and here are the views of the litigants despised. Decisions of life and death, of what shall be and what shall not, beggar all question of right. In elections of these magnitudes are all lesser ones subsumed, moral, spiritual, natural.”

  18. financial matters

    Good to see this groundswell of pro Palestinian support in the US and other countries. It is also exposing many elites (predator class). Interesting that it took the tragedy in Gaza to get this exposure and attention.

  19. Eclair

    With an apparent total lack of irony, a NYT headline this morning (on a ‘lifestyle’ article) asks: “Could Eating Less Help You to Live Longer? Calorie restrictions and intermittent fasting both increase longevity in animals, aging experts say. Here’s what it means for you.” But, the Israeli government could use this scientific finding to argue that their actions in hindering the arrival of food supplies actually are prolonging the Gazans’ life.

    No mention in the ‘news’ section of lack of food and looming famine in Gaza. But, ‘famine’ may be one of those words, along with ‘occupied territories,’ that are banned by the NYT in discussing Palestine (whoops, that’s a banned word as well, unless used in an ‘historical context.’)

    But, good on the students, who didn’t grow up reading Leon Uris’ great piece of propaganda, “Exodus,” and who tend to have a clearer-eyed view of Israel’s settler-colonialist origins. But, obviously, they must be suppressed because of Biden’s ‘iron-clad’ support of Israel. Iron rusts, btw. And, in a fire, it loses its weight-bearing strength faster than other metals. (Cast iron building facades melted during the Chicago Fire of 1871, leading to a change in the type of metals used in the construction of multi-storied buildings.)

  20. JustTheFacts

    I can’t get over the utter childishness of so called adults in positions of responsibility these days.

    We were treated to a display of childishness in Congress when the Congress people jumped around like 4 year olds waving Ukrainian flags after deciding to send money to Ukraine for more people to die. They spout inane generalities about “doing the right thing” which prove they are ignorant whereof they speak.

    Then they try to censor expressions like “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, rather than trying to understand what each person means by it. They wave the “anti-semitic” label around to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with them, about anything. The government even threatens grants to these Universities to shut students and faculty up, regardless of the first amendment.

    Is this really how adults running powerful countries should behave? Is it not shameful to see adults behaving no better than kindergartners?

  21. Victor Sciamarelli

    The Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan are both legal organizations in the US. You can join either group and spend your days telling anyone who will listen that the White race is superior to all others. Free speech is great but toleration is crucial to maintaining it.
    Of course, freedom of speech does not imply freedom of action. Thus, the msm, the Israel lobby and their congressional employees want us to believe the students’ speech is anti-semitic, which by definition is threatening, as well as a prelude to real violence.
    Moreover, they are willing to dismantle a fundamental American freedom in order to defend and maintain unconditional support for an apartheid state engaged in genocide. Every American should want the students to prevail.

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