The Heroic Anti-War Students

Anti-war students have been staging protests and demonstrations on a great many university campuses throughout America. A number of so-called “conservatives” have called for the police to arrest the students. Zionists groups accuse the students of “anti-Semitism” and demand that they be expelled from school. In fact, libertarians should welcome these protests. They bring back memories of the Vietnam War student protests that participated in,  brought down the war-criminal LBJ.

The student protests today are actually quite moderate. They call for an end to genocide in Gaza and recognition of the rights of Palestinians who have been killed and had their land taken away from them. Let’s look at an example, the demonstrations at Columbia University, which are ongoing as I write.

Here is a statement about the way the Columbia University administration responded to the demonstrators, written by a number of philosophy graduates and alumni:

“We, current and former graduate students of the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University, are appalled at the decision taken on April 18th by the University President to violate principles of academic freedom and free speech by authorizing the forcible removal and arrest of 108 of our students and colleagues.

On April 18th, the President of Columbia University, in the name of “safety,” brought armed police into our campus to use physical force against students who had established a non-violent encampment in support of Palestine on Columbia’s South Lawn. The encampment did not disrupt classes. It did not block access to campus or buildings. Nevertheless, the police were called in after only a day. The President took this action against the recommendation of the University Senate, violating principles of shared governance established in the wake of the 1968 protests. As a result of these arrests and suspensions, students have sustained injuries, lost access to Columbia health services, and been evicted from student housing with less than 15 minutes to gather their belongings.

This followed months of tensions at Columbia since the horrifying events of October 7th and the devastating aftermath. These events have been the topic of difficult and traumatizing discussion. Columbia’s administration could have responded by promoting dialogue and mutual understanding. Instead, the administration heavily restricted speech on campus and  disproportionately acted to silence one voice in particular – the voice of those protesting against the ongoing oppression and killing of Palestinians. It was in this environment of institutional repression that the student protesters decided to take action.

The University’s decision to arrest student protesters was thus the culmination of months of restriction against the public expression of support for Palestinians. The past few years have seen an alarming trend of bad faith political actors attempting to silence political speech they disagree with by policing academic institutions, thereby undermining elementary principles of academic autonomy. Columbia’s Board of Trustees has demonstrated more interest in appeasing these external forces than responding to the needs of their students, as have the administrations of other universities. We have witnessed the actions of police at other college campuses where professors are thrown to the ground and department chairs are dragged away in zip ties. Regardless of where we stand on the issue of Israel and Palestine, we should all agree that such attempts to suppress discourse are utterly unacceptable in any decent society committed to liberal principles.

As educators, we believe that it is our special responsibility to speak out when the University denies students the right to freely pursue their education. And as philosophers, we have a duty to uphold the values of free thought and open discourse, just as Sidney Morgenbesser and other members of our department did in 1968.

We therefore unequivocally condemn President Minouche Shafik’s decision. We call for the reversal of student suspensions and for departments to refuse to comply with university investigations or sanctions of students and employees participating in non-violent political action. We oppose further efforts from the administration to forcibly remove the new encampment, and call on the Columbia administration to commit to never again call police onto campus to suppress student speech. The best path forward, in our view, is for the administration to continue to negotiate with the representatives of Columbia University Apartheid Divest in good faith and without further threats.


Current graduate students and alumni of the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University “ See here.

The faculty who are supporting the students aren’t extreme left-wingers. To the contrary, they are appalled by the extreme actions taken by university administrators, who are responding to pressure from pro-Israeli donors. Here is another example, signed by many eminent scholars at Yale University. The statement points out that the students had a very moderate demand. They wanted the university to divest in companies that were shipping arms to the Middle East:

“To the President, Provost and Deans of Yale University,

We write as Yale faculty to condemn the criminalization of Yale students engaged in recent acts of peaceful protest. We demand that the University administration call to drop all charges against the 48 protesters, that no further disciplinary action be taken against those who were arrested, and implore Yale to never again facilitate the arrest of protesters for acts of peaceable speech and assembly on campus. Students must be free to protest, assemble and speak on campus about the urgent moral matters of our time.

The University’s decision to call in the New Haven Police Department on Monday contradicts the institution’s commitment to uphold free assembly, speech and expression. These values are ones that we as faculty are deeply committed to, and teach extensively in our classrooms across departments, disciplines, and schools. The University cites infractions regarding use of outdoor campus space as the cause for calling in the police, but these infractions do not warrant arrests. Also, false reporting and misrepresentation of the protests and the targeting of individual students therein is indefensible, potentially illegal and puts student safety and well-being in jeopardy. A case in point is Yale College’s Dean falsely asserting the violence of protesters, for which he soon after apologized. As is now standard in these ongoing smear campaigns against student organizers and protesters, the damage was already done.

The 48 protesters arrested now face Class A misdemeanors under Connecticut law, which carry possible penalties of up to 364 days in jail. Threatening students with sanctions of this kind is unconscionable and should not be the means by which Yale responds to peaceful protest. Many similar protests have taken place in recent years in this same plaza, including a 25-foot wooden boat shed that was allowed to remain for weeks as part of a graduate student union protest, and without reported arrests.

Students are currently demanding that Yale disclose and divest from profiting off of investments in weapons manufacturing, which is facilitating atrocities globally. These protests echo divestment protests made during South African apartheid, which also led to encampments lasting for years, and eventually led to Yale’s divestment.

Many of us witnessed the protests of the last several days, and saw peaceful, disciplined, organized and committed action, reinforcing our institution’s mission and values. This student movement has been supported by a coalition of activists and groups, including Yalies4Palestine and Yale Jews for Ceasefire, whose strong and ongoing presence belies the false equation and ongoing divisive narrative regarding antisemitism and advocacy for Palestinian lives. We are dismayed and outraged both by the misleading media coverage of events on campus and the administration’s willingness to spread or repeat speculation that the protests might turn violent or hazardous.

The university’s response has detracted from meaningful dialogue about a way forward to end destruction, violence and war. The use of policing, penalization and retribution to avoid protest or dialogue with students cannot stand, as this is no model for an educational institution. Yale must immediately change course.” See here.

But what are the students protesting about? For decades, Israel has pursued a brutal policy of force. The Palestinians are treated as subhuman, lacking all dignity. The Israeli policy toward Gaza amounts to genocide. The philosopher Alex Gourevich provides a succinct account:

“Post-Oslo, successive Israeli governments abandoned any serious effort to resolve the Palestinian question through politics. Instead, they chose force. Instead of facing the question of how Palestinians might live on the land as equals, these governments decided to provide Israeli Jews with a security guarantee by force.

This was not a stable situation. The only real basis of security was and is inescapably political because only a political resolution gives everyone a reason to follow the rules. A political settlement, which involves some institutionalized mutual recognition of each others’ claims, is the only basis for developing trust, which in turn is the basis for genuine security.

Instead, the post-Oslo approach made the Israeli state into something more like an ethnic protection racket than one even nominally committed to the equal rights of those subject to its authority. By the time the blockade of Gaza, the militarization of the West Bank, and the increasing legal precariousness of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship came to a head, it had become clear that any two-state solution was a thing of the past. Israel’s successful destruction of Palestinians’ national aspirations, and the multi-pronged cordon sanitaire of its post-Oslo strategy effectively incorporated the Palestinians into the state—the one-state—by force. The more the Israeli state has extended its domination over Palestinians, the more it has to pretend it is not responsible for them. The Netanyahu government’s attempt to represent its violence as a war against foreign invaders is an extreme effort to maintain the two-nation charade, even while the illusion collapses under the weight of tanks and JDAMs.

The only way you can safely ignore a population whose claims you are unwilling even to entertain—in the sense they were entertained under the Oslo Peace Process—is to eliminate them. Force is a solution to the security problem only in that sense and only when you are willing to go all the way. So far, Israel has not shown itself willing to ethnically cleanse its entire Palestinian population, though it is increasingly looking like the Israeli government might be making that horrific choice in Gaza. Though the Netanyahu government has tried to lay its actions at the feet of Hamas, it is Israel that is the vastly superior force in this situation. That government is responsible for its decisions.” See here.

Of course, the Israelis don’t want people to know what they are doing to Gaza. It is only logical that they go after the people who are doing that—the journalists. Michael Hudson, who worked with Israeli intelligence agents at Herman Kahn’s Hudson Institute, exposes them:

“So, Herman’s focus was on systems analysis. You define the overall aim and then you work backward. How do you do it? Well, you can see what the Israeli policy is today. First of all, you isolate the Palestinians and strategic hamlets. That’s what Gaza had already been turned into for the last 15 years. It’s been carved up into districts requiring electronic passes from one sector to another to go into Israel, to go to Jerusalem, or to go to Israel for jobs to work.

The aim all along has been to kill them. Or first of all, to make life so unpleasant for them that they’ll emigrate. That’s the easy way. Why would anyone want to stay in Gaza when what’s happening to them is what’s happening today? You’re going to leave. But if they don’t leave, you’re going to have to kill them, ideally by bombing because that minimizes the domestic casualties. Israel doesn’t want its soldiers to die any more than Americans do. So, the American form of war, as it was in Vietnam, is bombing them. You don’t want person-to-person contact because people fighting for their lives and liberty tend to be better fighters because for them it’s really essential. For the others, they’re just doing soldier’s work.

So, the genocide that you’re seeing today is an explicit policy, and that was a policy of the forefathers, the founders of Israel. The idea of a land without people was a land without Arabs in it, the land without non-Jewish people. That’s really what it meant. They were to be driven out starting even before the official funding of Israel, the first Nakba, the Arab Holocaust. And the two of the Israeli prime ministers were members of the Stern gang of terrorists. The terrorists became the rulers of Israel. They escaped from British jail and they joined to found Israel. So, what you’re seeing today is the final solution to this plan. And the founders of Israel were so obsessed with the Nazis, essentially, they wanted to do to them what they did to us, is how they explained it to people.

But as the United States learned in the Vietnam War, populations protest, and the U.S. population protested against the Vietnam War. What the Biden administration wants to avoid is the situation that President Johnson had in 1968. Any hotel, any building that he went to, to give a speech for his re-election campaign, there were crowds shouting, LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today? President Johnson had to take the servants entrance to get away from the press so that nobody would see what he was doing. And essentially, he went on television and resigned.

Well, to prevent this kind of embarrassment, and to prevent the embarrassment of journalists who were doing all this, Seymour Hersh described the [Mai Lai] massacre, and that helped inflame the opposition to Johnson. Well, President Biden, who’s approved Netanyahu’s plan, the first people you have to kill are the journalists. If you’re going to permit genocide, you have to realize that you don’t want the domestic U.S. population or the rest of the world to oppose the U.S. and Israel. You kill the journalists.” See here.

Let’s get back to the student protestors. War-criminal Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t like the protests, for obvious reasons, and he has ordered his followers to attack them. The followers, including his followers in Congress, have hastened to do his bidding. Here is a story in the New York Times about it:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said on Wednesday that protests at U.S. universities against Israel’s war in Gaza were “horrific” and should be stopped, using his first public comments on the subject to castigate the student demonstrators and portray them as antisemitic.

Mr. Netanyahu’s comments could harden division over the demonstrations. They could also give ammunition to Republican leaders who have criticized the protesters and accused university administrators and Democrats of failing to protect Jewish students from attack.

“What’s happening in America’s college campuses is horrific,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Antisemitic mobs have taken over leading universities. They call for the annihilation of Israel. They attack Jewish students. They attack Jewish faculty.”

In portraying the antiwar protesters as antisemites, Mr. Netanyahu is aligning himself with some Republican leaders, who have sharply criticized university leaders and the Biden administration for doing too little to crack down on the protests.

Last month, Mr. Netanyahu spoke to Senate Republicans via a video link during a closed lunch meeting and criticized the Democratic majority leader, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Mr. Schumer, who is a Jew, had said in a speech on the Senate floor that Mr. Netanyahu was an impediment to peace in the Middle East and called for a new election to replace him.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a conservative Republican, visited Columbia University in New York, the site of one of the most prominent of the student protests. Mr. Johnson said that President Biden should take action, including potentially sending in the National Guard, to quell the protests at Columbia, which he asserted had grown violent and antisemitic.” See here.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has also acted as a Netanyahu stooge:

“As word got out that pro-Palestinian protesters were planning to occupy a lawn on the University of Texas campus, Gov. Greg Abbott made a dramatic move: calling in more than 100 state troopers with orders to clear them out.

With that decision, which led to dozens of arrests amid video of riot-clad troopers on campus, Abbott sought to reassure his party — and the rest of the country — that Texas would not countenance a replay of the extended protester camp at New York’s Columbia University.” See here.

The stooges in Congress want to ban the popular social media network Tik Tok, because many students have learned what is going on in Gaza from Tik Tok posts:

“Members of Congress, conservative activists and wealthy tech investors are renewing calls to ban TikTok in the U.S., arguing that the most popular content related to the Israel-Hamas war on the app has a pro-Palestinian slant that is undercutting support for Israel among young Americans.

TikTok has been the target of criticism for years because of its Chinese ownership and concerns about government control over the app, a relationship that both Democrats and Republicans say is a threat to the personal data of U.S. users.

Now, critics allege that TikTok is using its influence to push content that is pro-Palestinian and contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests.

The renewed calls for a ban took off after Jeff Morris Jr., a tech venture capitalist and former executive with the dating app Tinder, wrote a series of posts on X last week. In his viral thread, Morris wrote about a “TikTok War” in which high schoolers and college students are getting the “wrong information” about Hamas and Israel. Information about the Israel-Hamas war has become highly contentious and polarized across social media, including on TikTok.

Morris’ thread had over 9 million views Tuesday, according to X’s public metrics.

“When I engaged with one post on TikTok supporting opposing views, my entire feed became aggressively anti-Israel,” Morris wrote. His experience aligns with reporting about how TikTok’s algorithmic function — which has drawn controversy — works: Engaging with a topic signals to the app that similar content should be served to the user.

Morris also posted a screenshot of suggested hashtags generated by searches of the terms “Stand with palestine” and “Stand with israel” via TikTok’s search bar. The hashtag “standwithpalestine” had 3.4 billion views worldwide as of Tuesday night, while “standwithisrael” had 313.6 million views worldwide — a more than 10-to-1 ratio.

“Israel is losing the TikTok war by a longshot,” Morris wrote.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was among the people who reshared Morris’ thread on X. A longtime critic of TikTok who has sponsored legislation to ban the app, he alleged that it was a “Chinese spy engine” and a “purveyor of virulent antisemitic lies.” See here.

Let’s do everything we can to support the heroic student protestors against genocide in Gaza!

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