Fri 14-June-2024

Inspired by Columbia, American Universities rally in support of Gaza

Wednesday 24-April-2024


Several American universities, led by Columbia University in New York State, witnessed student protests and sit-ins in support of Gaza, as police arrested dozens of students there last Thursday. Two new universities have also joined the student movement opposing the war on Gaza.

Local American websites reported that dozens of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emerson University joined the student protests in support of Gaza by setting up tents on the campuses in Cambridge and Boston, following the example of their counterparts at Columbia University.

Video clips broadcasted on social media sites showed protesters blocking traffic on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, demanding the scientific institute to withdraw its investments from weapons manufacturing companies.

The Yale Daily News website, run by students, reported that the police arrested more than 45 protesters while attempting to disperse a sit-in condemning American support for Israel in the war on Gaza.

Protests at Columbia University are ongoing, calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an end to American military aid to Israel, and the university’s withdrawal of investments from companies in the occupation state.

Naamat Minoush Shafik, the president of Columbia University, announced that the university canceled in-person attendance for students and shifted to online teaching to alleviate tension and give everyone an opportunity to consider the next steps.

Some faculty members criticized the university president for summoning the New York police to evacuate the tents set up by protesters in the university park.

The organizers of student movements from the Columbia University camp refuted Biden’s accusations of their anti-Semitism, stating that some of the protest organizers are Jews who reject the policies of the occupation state.

Beginning of the movement

For the fifth consecutive day, Columbia University students are still staging a sit-in in a solidarity camp with Gaza, established within the university campus in New York State.

The protesting students announced that their step came to express their solidarity and support for the rights of the Palestinian people in freedom and independence, and to demand the withdrawal of investments from the occupation state and the cessation of financial support to it.

Last Saturday, several American universities witnessed an increase in student protests in support of Gaza, following the police’s arrest of about 100 pro-Palestinian students from Columbia University in New York last Thursday.

The students in solidarity with Palestine at Columbia University spent their night on the university campus, preferring to stay overnight in the same area where they began their protest rather than returning to their homes. The protesting students raised a large banner that read “Solidarity Camp with Gaza”. Some of them sat on the ground, while others went to eat or used their computers to study. The Muslims among them performed the Maghrib and Isha prayers on the campus.

The Canary Project and the Israeli role

The recent arrests of dozens of students from Columbia University by the American police were not only a result of their solidarity with Palestine but also due to intelligence activities related to Israel. According to the American newspaper “Forward”, this intelligence activity can be traced back to a Zionist project launched in 2014 called “The Canary Project”.

The newspaper revealed that the main donation for this project came from the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a charitable foundation that supports the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco. The operations carried out by the project are led by a Jewish individual named Jonathan Bash, through an Israeli charity called Megamot Shalom.

Since 2014, the project’s affiliated website has been collecting files on activists, students, and professors at North American universities who are accused of anti-Israel and anti-Semitism sentiments. These files are used to seek the expulsion of students from their studies, and if they graduate, potential employers are informed to prevent their employment.

The files of student and activist supporters of the Palestinian cause are also sent to the Israeli security authorities, who detain these activists and interrogate them upon their arrival in Israel. It is noteworthy that among these activists, there are Jews and Palestinians.

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