Campus occupations back Hamas, spread Jew-hatred

By Seth Galinsky
May 20, 2024

Liberal media across the country have attempted to paint occupations and other actions organized in defense of Hamas on elite campuses in the U.S. as a new, progressive mass movement in the tradition of the civil rights movement and fight against Washington’s war against the Vietnamese people. This is false on all counts.

The fact is there have been actions on only about 100 campuses out of some 4,000 U.S. colleges, centered mainly in large cities and the two coasts.

The central organizers of the so-called Free Palestine movement claim they are just “peaceful protesters” seeking a cease-fire and fighting against “genocide” in Gaza. They claim they are defending “free speech” and are “anti-Zionist” not antisemitic.

But their actions prove the opposite.

“Death to the Zionists”; “From the water to the water, Israel will be destroyed”; “We don’t want any Zionists here or in Israel”; and “We will release Palestine with blood.” These are just some of the slogans chanted May 5 at the encampment set up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Supporters of the Columbia University encampment chanted, “We say justice! You say how? Burn Tel Aviv to the ground!” and “Go Hamas, we love you. We support your rockets too.” Does that sound like a call for peace and a cease-fire?

“Within Our Lifetime,” one of the middle-class radical apologists for Hamas, titled a leaflet “Enough with De-Escalation Trainings; Where are the Escalation Trainings!” Repeating ultra-left aphorisms taken from Mao Zedong, like “a single spark can start a prairie fire,” the group calls for learning how to “build effective barricades” and confronting the police on the road to becoming “a power broker ourselves.”

Many of those who back these not-so-veiled calls for violence against their opponents — and threats and violence against Jewish students on many campuses — will end up as cadres of a future fascist movement.

Nothing like 1968

The New York Times, along with backers of the “Gaza” encampments, claim that the occupations of campus buildings are similar to protests during the war in Vietnam, such as the takeover of Columbia’s Hamilton Hall in April 1968.

They have little in common. The movement against the war in Vietnam grew to involve millions of young people and workers, including growing numbers of U.S. GIs, demanding Washington pull its half a million soldiers out of Vietnam. Many were won to support the fight of the Vietnamese for their independence and sovereignty.

But Hamas is not fighting to win independence from a foreign occupation. The terror outfit ruled Gaza — where there was not a single foreign soldier — for some 16 years. Their Islamist thugs broke strikes, tortured political opponents, suppressed women’s and gay rights and closed down political space for working people.

It repeatedly launched unprovoked assaults on the civilian population in Israel and, when the Israeli government responded, used Gazan civilians as human shields, placing their barracks and weapons caches under hospitals, schools and workers’ homes. It’s the biggest obstacle working people in Gaza face to be able to advance their own interests. And a key obstacle to opening a road to uniting working people in the region whatever their religious beliefs or nationality.

Its goal is to destroy an independent nation — Israel, where 21% of the people are Arabs — and kill or expel all the Jews there. Palestinians interest them only as potential martyrs to win sympathy.

The mass movement against the war in Vietnam sought to get out the truth about U.S. imperialist intervention and debate its proponents. Participants knew the truth was on their side.

But the Hamas apologists are afraid of the truth, civil discussion and debate. The leaders know that many of the students swept up in the “passion” of concern for the people of Gaza know little about Hamas, Gaza, Israel or the truth about Hamas’ Oct. 7 pogrom. Leaders of the encampment at the University of Wisconsin gathered their acolytes together and told them, “Not engaging with Zionists and other counterprotesters is essential to keeping our solidarity camp focused on Gaza.”