Amid ongoing conflict in the Middle East, there has been a surge in anti-Israel demonstrations – particularly among college students.
There have been massive protests and other antisemitic actions from students at several of the nation’s premier institutions, like Columbia, Harvard and NYU. However, many students are speaking out against universities for allowing – and, in some cases, empowering – these demonstrations.
“It’s really interesting to me because they’re teaching DEI, and they’re teaching diversity, equity and inclusion. And it’s diversity equity and inclusion, except for the Jews,” Georgetown law student Julia Wax said on “The Big Money Show” Thursday.
“Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Sympathizing with Hamas and calling them a resistance group when they are a terrorist organization is inherently wrong, and it’s anti-Semitic. And Jewish students don’t feel safe. We don’t. And that’s what’s being taught in these schools right now. And it’s unfortunate because this kind of dialogue has to change. We look to our universities for moral clarity, and they are not providing it,” she continued.
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While the demonstrations have been ongoing since the Hamas attack on October 7, most recently, several university groups associated with the Palestinian movement hosted a walk-out Wednesday, according to the national chapter of the far-left Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
Colleges and universities such as Brown University, Columbia University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Rutgers University, New York University, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Yale University and more are among the 100+ college campuses participating in walkouts.
“The tone has been extremely unpleasant, to put it mildly,” student Noa Fay said, speaking on the same FOX Business panel. “It’s full of discord. It has not gotten better. Every day I attempt to start new, to move forward, to look for some source of positivity. And each day I see a new form of demonstration, a new form of hate, a new form of anti-Semitism. And it’s just absolutely disheartening.”
The Columbia student added that the discord seen on campuses is “a level of generational discord… that we have not seen before, especially amongst the undergraduate students, which is particularly nerve-wracking to me, especially as a woman of many identities.”
“I have always felt accepted in these liberal institutions and these liberal environments, very accepting. And I’m now experiencing that that is conditional, and it does not extend to my Jewish identity.”
Columbia has seen a number of pro-Hamas demonstrations in recent weeks. The protests have made campuses more volatile.
Last week, an Israeli student at Columbia University in New York City was assaulted with a stick outside the Ivy League school’s main library, as tensions on campus over the Israel-Hamas conflict continue to increase.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) said officers responded to the area of the library at about 6:10 p.m. Wednesday, for a report of an assault on a 24-year-old man.
When officers arrived, they learned the man was involved in an argument with 19-year-old Maxwell Freidman of Brooklyn, over flyers he and friends posted with names and pictures of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas.
On Wednesday, Jewish students at a New York City college were locked inside a school library on Wednesday as a pro-Palestinian rally moved through the building, with protesters banging on the doors and chanting “free, free Palestine,” video shows.
In these various examples of on-campus demonstrations, one commentator argues it is the “culmination of a trend” that has been playing out in academia for years.
“At elite institutions, particularly, admissions offices are screening for social justice activism over intellectual merit exclusively,” Young Voices commentator Jill Jacobson said. “So what’s created is a very homogenous student body where not only are students robbed of the opportunity to learn how to be nuanced, but they also don’t really get the opportunity to explore the contours of their own morality because they’re just regurgitating an ideology that’s pretty ubiquitous.”
Harvard Ph.D. candidate J.J. Kimche, another panelist, echoed Jacobson’s frustrations, arguing “future of the universities in this country is extremely bleak.”
“I know now we as Jewish students know what we didn’t know three weeks ago, which is that if Hamas militants and terrorists were to come into our classrooms, into our libraries and massacre the Jewish students, their own classmates would stand up and say that’s a good thing. That’s justified. That is legitimate resistance, because we were somehow aiding the Zionist cause or some such nonsense. So to see that kind of horrific moral rot on the part of my fellow students that completely destroys any kind of shared space that we have.”
“So many students at ostensibly good universities are simply swallowing and repeating, regurgitating absolute falsehoods” Kimche added. “Prominent among them first is that the West and anything associated with the West is colonialism and evil and should be resisted. And any kind of resistance up to and including slaughter of civilians is justified. And secondly, again, this foolish, absolutely nonsensical notion that Jews are somehow foreign to the land of Israel, whereas in fact, the Jewish people have a rich 3000-year culture and history on the land … and it’s absolute nonsense to say that Israel is some kind of Western colonial imposition.”
Fordham University sophomore Michael Duke simply put it: “administrators and professors, they’re teaching students what to think and not how to think.”
Rutgers University junior Jeremy Li said it was “disappointing” to see many university faculty members and administrators staying silent or even supporting pro-Hamas views.
“We can’t let the left today hijack the narrative and push this narrative that somehow Israel is responsible for these attacks against itself. That’s just wrong. And as a result, we need to look at the facts. The facts tell us that Hamas committed these terrorist attacks, killed innocent Israelis, and they violated human rights,” he said.
The panel of students agreed that what universities need is to see the administration as well as professors standing up to condemn Hamas and discourage future pro-Hamas demonstrations.
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“The adults need to step in,” Fay said. “We clearly need the administration to come down and say ‘we are not only condemning the Hamas attacks, we are condemning the student body and the portions of the student body that are supporting this, that are supporting this attack.’ They need to step in.”
“I really do hope and pray that the entire Rutgers community and campus administrators and presidents will find the decency, at least to stand up against these atrocities against Hamas and actually stand with the people of Israel,” Li said.
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FOX News’ Greg Wehner, Hanna Panreck, Jeffrey Clark and CB Cotton contributed to this report.