Unrest at US Colleges Must Be Stopped
Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators face off in front of the entrance of Columbia University in New York on April 22, 2024. (Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images)

Unrest at US Colleges Must Be Stopped

Al-Ittihad, UAE, May 3

The conflict in Gaza has sparked protests at numerous esteemed American universities including Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, UCLA, and Emerson College. While student demonstrations over issues like South Africa, racism, and violence have occurred in the past, the outpouring of anger seen with the current crisis has not been witnessed since the 1960s and early 1970s. Today, these protests can be categorized into two groups: the pro-Palestinian students calling for their universities to divest from Israeli investments and partnerships, and Jewish students seeking protection from instances of anti-Semitism prevalent on campuses. In some instances, local law enforcement has stepped in to arrest students violating campus regulations. Although police involvement remains relatively rare, it could certainly escalate if tensions continue to rise between protesters and university administrations, especially if the conflict in Gaza worsens, leading to more civilian casualties. Calls for American universities to discontinue investments and academic connections with Israeli institutions are likely to face strong resistance from many alumni, the US Congress, and the White House. While public opinion generally supports the right to protest, there is also a strong belief that violence and hate speech must be condemned. It is worth noting that several Jewish organizations have initiated legal action against universities for not ensuring a safe environment for Jewish students on campus. —Geoffrey Kemp (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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