Point-blank: US students revolt

Mohamed Salmawy
Tuesday 14 May 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently issued a harsh rebuke to the US over the student uprising in US universities against the genocide Israel is perpetrating in Gaza.


 Young people across the US are demanding a ceasefire and freedom and self-determination for Palestinians. Netanyahu insists that US authorities must condemn and ban that movement on the grounds that its demands are “anti-Semitic” and call for the death of Israel and the US.

In fact, what we see unfolding on US college campuses is a re-awakening of the American conscience, spearheaded by American youth. Columbia University in New York dominated the headlines after the university administration called in the police to break up a protest encampment, leading to the arrest of dozens of peaceful protesters and setting dangerous precedents for clampdowns on the freedoms of speech, protest, and assembly that are so fundamental to democracy. However, the phenomenon has spread to many other major universities. Students have been staging regular Palestinian solidarity demonstrations and sit-ins in more than forty universities in the US and Canada, including Yale, City University of New York, Harvard, Temple, Princeton, Vanderbilt, and the universities of Minnesota, California, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Temple, Florida, Kansas, Arizona, Texas, Indiana, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Many anti-Zionist Jews have taken part in the demonstrations and other actions to protest Israel’s ruthless war against the Palestinian people and to support the cause of Palestinian liberation. They, like the hundreds of thousands of other students, are living proof that American youth are no longer in the thrall of the Zionist propaganda machine which has held an overwhelming sway over the American mind since the establishment of Israel.

An iconic embodiment of this momentous shift is to be found in the beloved American middleweight boxing champion, the 25-year-old Ryan Garcia, who recently donated $20 million to Gaza. Deeply moved by the scenes of death, destruction, and other injustices, he said that while he was basically apolitical, what was happening to the children in Gaza was unacceptable.

This humanitarian spirit that is rising to the defence of the Palestinian people’s right to life is the source of the strength of the young people’s uprising. Netanyahu and others are desperate to stop it, using the usual “anti-Semitic” slur towards that end. But the tide is against them. The new humanitarian awakening continues to resist such ploys as it transcends all socio-political divides, be they Republican versus Democrat, right versus left, or Christian-Jew versus Muslim.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 16 May, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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