There are protests at USC, Columbia University and college campuses nationwide

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CAIR has reported record incidents of Islamophobia on campus, and the Anti-Defamation League has recorded a historic number of incidents of violence and threats against Jewish students.
The White House and multiple governors have voiced support for Jewish students and urged protesters and universities to exercise restraint.
Advocates of the protesters, including some politicians, have criticized the universities’ responses, including the arrests.
Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police at the Georgia university on Thursday.
A group of Democratic Georgia state lawmakers on Thursday condemned the “excessive force used by Georgia State Patrol” during arrests at Emory University.
Palestine Legal also said the school has the responsibility to protect its students, including Palestinians and supporters, and should not threaten or call the police or military.
George Washington University president Ellen M. Granberg on Thursday said DC Metropolitan Police were asked to assist in relocating an “unauthorized protest encampment” on campus.
“The encampment, unlike some demonstrations in the past, is an unauthorized use of university space at this location and violated several university policies,” Granberg said in a statement.


It is still challenging to summarise the complexities and history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially in light of the growing unrest among groups with strongly held and entrenched opinions.

Students from a variety of backgrounds, including Palestinians, Arabs, Jews, and Muslims, are housed in campus encampments that have proliferated across the United States in the last week. Other students from various religious and ethnic backgrounds are also present. They have a range of social and political opinions as well, including liberal and conservative, progressive and absolutist. The frequently intolerable video and reports emanating from Gaza have inspired many. Many of these students consider the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza to be an extension of the oppression of Palestinian rights, land, and culture that has lasted for more than 70 years. Protesters claim they want their schools to oppose what they perceive to be the genocide occurring in Gaza.

Many Jews believe Israel needs more support than ever because it provides a haven for Jews, who have long been an oppressed minority, as antisemitism has risen to record levels following Hamas’ attack on October 7, 2023. Since the idea of Israel as a Jewish homeland is central to Judaism, many Jews feel that anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment, as well as peaceful protest of Israel, is inherently antisemitic, even if they disagree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies and the nation’s actions in Gaza. And some back the Israeli government’s offensive in Gaza to destroy Hamas.

The Anti-Defamation League has documented a historic number of incidents of violence and threats against Jewish students, while CAIR has reported record incidents of Islamophobia on campus. Pro-Israel (and some American) politicians have elevated the concerns of Jewish students who claim they were subjected to threats from demonstrators and antisemitic remarks during the past week’s rallies. Numerous governors and the White House have expressed their support for Jewish students and asked demonstrators and colleges to show restraint.

Much of the on-the-ground reporting by CNN has focused on how students are completing school assignments, reading poetry, and painting inside the encampments. Additionally, instances of collective dancing and interfaith prayers have been provided. Still, hundreds of demonstrators have been taken into custody for trespassing and other infractions against school policy, such as obstructing campus buildings or causing other disturbances. While the majority of university administrators have largely resisted taking action against protesters exercising their right to free expression in an unobtrusive, nonviolent manner, as the vast majority of the protests have been, some Jewish students have felt unsafe as a result of the protests and some of the protesters’ social media posts. Protesters’ supporters, including some politicians, have taken issue with the universities’ actions, particularly the arrests.

In the midst of ongoing protests on and around campus, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff met with two Jewish leaders at Columbia University and Barnard College this week, according to a White House official. He denounced antisemitism and calls for violence against Jews.

In conversations with Brian Cohen, the Levine Family executive director at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, and Rabbi Elie Buechler, the director of the Orthodox Union-JLIC at Columbia and Barnard, Emhoff “recognized that while every American has the right to freedom of speech and to protest peacefully, hate speech and calls for violence against Jews is both antisemitic and unacceptable.”. “.

“The urgent need to address antisemitism on college campuses” was another topic of discussion, the official continued. “.

The fights “have made it clear that Columbia University’s Public Safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety,” Buechler wrote in a WhatsApp message to about 300 mostly Orthodox Jewish students on campus. “.

As second gentleman, Emhoff has prioritized fighting the evil of antisemitism, which has grown dramatically in the US following the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7. He has used his position to regularly interact with Jewish leaders across the nation. He is the first spouse of a president or vice president who is Jewish.

Emhoff “underlined that no student should feel unsafe on campus and offered his support on behalf of the Administration,” the official stated. In addition to wishing them a happy Passover, he stressed the significance of experiencing Jewish joy during this trying time. “.

Emhoff made a statement on Wednesday regarding the nationwide pro-Palestinian demonstrations taking place on college campuses, stating that it is “just wrong” for these protests to turn into demonstrations against antisemitic statements. “.

“Our top priority is ensuring the safety of our students,” Emhoff stated in a Telemundo interview.

“It’s simply wrong when protests disrupt that, when they go beyond the peaceful expression of a position and turn into hate crimes, threats of violence, and calls for the gassing and killing of Jews,” he said. It’s inaccurate and antisemitic. “.

A spokeswoman for Emory University said in a revised statement regarding the demonstrations that a number of demonstrators “trespassed” into the campus on Thursday morning in order to erect tents on the quad.

As our students finished their classes and got ready for finals, the statement said, “The activists who had first assembled were not acknowledged as members of our community and were disturbing the university.”.

Later, the spokesman said, members of the Emory community joined the original group.

At the Georgia university on Thursday, pro-Palestinian demonstrators and police engaged in combat. A CNN crew on the scene reported that police cleared the area of protestors using pepper spray and pepper balls.

“A couple dozen people” were reportedly taken into custody after the Emory Police Department reported that they were trespassing and the individuals in question refused to leave, according to the statement.

A university representative declined to comment on the precise number of people detained and whether or not charges were brought against those who were arrested, despite CNN’s earlier report that at least two professors had been arrested during the demonstration.

On Thursday, a number of Democratic state legislators from Georgia denounced the “excessive force used by Georgia State Patrol” when making arrests at Emory University.

Georgia state representative posted a statement on social media stating that “the use of extreme anti-riot tactics by Georgia State Patrol, including tasers and gas, is a dangerous escalation to protests which were by all accounts peaceful and nonviolent.”. Democrat Ruwa Romman, a Palestinian woman.

Georgia’s leaders, the group claimed, have fostered an atmosphere in which “state police feel free—or perhaps are directed—to respond to normal peaceful protests with violence.”. “.

It is imperative that we stop this harmful repression. In the statement, they said, “There is no justification for this kind of excessive force, regardless of one’s views on this or any other issue.”. “We demand that all state representatives defuse this situation right away in order to shield our citizens from additional harm. “.

Concerned about how law enforcement handled the protests, the ACLU of Georgia stated on Thursday.

“Our democracy cannot exist without the ability to protest without fear of retaliation. Atlanta has always allowed people to freely exercise their right to protest, but in recent years, Georgia has seen a number of unconstitutional crackdowns on speech and protest, the organization said in a statement. “Universities and colleges ought to be places that promote free speech, expression, debate, and opposing points of view rather than silence it. “.

This week, Palestine Legal filed a civil rights complaint with the US Department of Education, demanding that the Office for Civil Rights of the agency look into how Columbia University treated its Palestinian students and allies.

Beyond the incidents of the previous week, in which the NYPD detained over 100 students participating in protest, there is more to the complaint. The allegation was that over the course of the last few months, there has been harassment and Islamophobia directed towards “Palestinian students, Arabs, Muslims, students perceived to be Palestinian, and students associated with or advocating for Palestinians.”.

Representatives of Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine and four students are included in the complaint. “For wearing keffiyehs or hijab, being doxed, stereotyped, and being treated differently by high-ranking administrators, including Columbia University President Minouche Shafik,” Palestine Legal claimed that these students had received death threats and were “harassed.”. ****.

Palestine Legal added that the school shouldn’t threaten or contact the military or police, but rather has an obligation to safeguard all of its students, including Palestinians and their supporters. Columbia has refuted any discussion of calling in the National Guard during threats made during negotiations with demonstrators.

“An exponential rise in anti-Palestinian repression across the US has been observed since October 7th alone, as the organization has received reports of over 1,800 incidents—more than five times the number we received in all of 2022,” according to a press release from Palestine Legal.

DC Metropolitan Police were requested to help remove a “unauthorized protest encampment” from George Washington University’s campus, according to a statement made by the university’s president on Thursday, Ellen M. Granberg.

Granberg released a statement saying, “The encampment, unlike some demonstrations in the past, is an unauthorized use of university space at this location and violated several university policies.”. The choice was made to ask MPD for assistance after GWPD repeatedly told camp participants to move to a different demonstration site on campus, but they refused. “.”.

Students from George Washington University will be given “an appropriate place for their protest within the defined limits of free expression” at the school, she said, but “other local colleges or unaffiliated individuals will not be allowed to trespass on our campus.”. “.

She declared, “We can and will enforce the time, place, and manner restrictions that still apply to events on our campus.”.

Granberg added that they will hold demonstrators “responsible to university policies that forbid interfering with our community’s regular academic activities, the great majority of which are not protesting.”. “.

It can be dangerous and disruptive to learn and study when people occupy campus property, set up outdoor encampments, and block access to buildings, especially during this crucial final exam period, she said. “The university’s mission, values, and dedication to ensuring a safe environment for all students and staff are incompatible with such activities. “.

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