Editor’s Note: The unusual length of this BDS Monitor is in order to provide a more comprehensive overview that documents the post October 7 antisemitism crisis and as a form of historical documentation.
As the war in Gaza progresses the fallout from Hamas’ October 7 massacre continue around the world. Enormous street protests, university walkouts and sit-ins, and the celebration and then denial of atrocities are elements of a massive outbreak of antisemitism and social-psychological unrest. The BDS inspired campus protests blur the line between pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas but an underlying antisemitism is now unmistakeable. With large numbers of students and faculty publicly united in their hatred of Israel, its supporters, and increasingly, Jews, the question of how or whether to save universities is now finally in the public consciousness.
In November students continued to demand that universities condemn Israel for its military actions in Gaza and adopt boycotts of Israel. Numerous protests, sit-ins, and takeovers occurred in November. Only a small sample is listed here.
Pro-Palestinian students undertook sit-ins in university buildings on numerous campuses including the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Harvard University, and the New School, while large scale walkouts occurred at the University of California, Berkeley, Tufts University, the University of Toronto, and Pomona College.
Vigils and ‘teach ins’ were also held at numerous campuses, including at the University of Massachusetts, which featured a “dialogue” between Kenneth Roth, formerly the head of ‘Human Rights Watch’ and antisemite writer Muhammad el-Kurd. Such absurdly lopsided rallies in the guise of educational events are commonplace.
Disruptions of campus operations by pro-Hamas protestors were also common in November:
- At the Ohio State University pro-Hamas protestors interrupted a Board of Trustees meeting to demand divestment.
- At the University of Michigan 40 of approximately 200 protestors were arrested when they occupied an administration building. The students, who claim to have been “brutalized” during their arrests, will be banned from one building for a year.
- At Brown University 20 students arrested for occupying an administration building face trespassing charges.
- Harvard University students who occupied an administration building face ‘disciplinary hearings.’
- At the University of Chicago protestors disrupted admissions tours.
- At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a protestor interrupted a class to deliver a pro-Hamas diatribe.
- At Yale University protestors stormed the field during halftime of the Harvard-Yale football game.
- Columbia University Law School was briefly occupied by students demanding a ceasefire, Israel boycotts, and the establishment of a “Center for Palestinian Legal Studies.”
Overall by mid-November, according to the ADL, there had been 234 pro-Hamas protests on campuses.
Numerous locations outside of campuses were occupied by students and by allied groups. These included the corporate offices such as JP Morgan Chase and Blackrock, the meeting of the California Democratic Party, Grand Central Station and other transportation links such as the Bay Bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland, as well as tourist attractions such as the Seattle Space Needle. The strategy of public disruption is coordinated by another BDS group, Shut it Down for Palestine, which is related to others within the broader movement.
Also numerous were statements by student groups condemning purported Israeli ‘genocide,’ growing ‘Islamophobia,’ and university administrations for their ‘complicity.’ A sample illustrates the dangerously mendacious and hyperbolic rhetoric:
- At Northwestern University a coalition of student groups alleged that the people of Gaza were “suffocating under the rubble of bombed civilian homes, starving to death due to the bombing of bakeries and fatal burns from white phosphorus bombs,” that “the U.S. has made pro-Palestinian protesters the scapegoat rather than condemn — much less acknowledge — the war crimes committed by the Israeli government and military,” and decried the university president’s condemnation of Hamas supporters use of ‘from the river to the sea’ as “platform fringe beliefs on the use of this statement and deny genocide in an attempt to mischaracterize the mission of activists on campus is intentionally irresponsible and incredibly dangerous.”
- The University of Michigan student government voted down a resolution accusing Israel of “genocide” but the ‘question’ was taken up by a student body referendum at the end of the month. The student government also voted down a resolution declaring Hamas a terrorist organization.
- At Amherst College the editors of the student newspaper published an editorial stating “stated that we, in good conscience, could not publish “Zionist narratives” amid Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza without, at the very least, writing editor’s notes that problematized the arguments. By “Zionism,” we intended to denote a settler-colonial, expansionist political movement…” The editors then retracted that statement, calling it a “rash policy decision.”
- A statement signed by some 80 student organizations at Columbia University decried “over 75 years of violence, dispossession, and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people,” “refused to focus on concerns pertaining to free speech, academic freedom, and student safety on campus, as they distract from Israel’s actively committing genocide and ethnic cleansing,” and demanded the university end all relationships connected to Israel.
The Columbia statement represents the peak of intersectional theorizing and its bizarre “values” statement deserves to be quoted at length:
We believe in liberation. All systems of oppression are interlinked: The fates of the peoples of Palestine, Kurdistan, Sudan, Congo, Armenia, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Korea, Guam, Haiti, Hawai’i, Kashmir, Cuba, Turtle Island, and other colonized bodies are interconnected.
We are committed to creating a multi-generational, intersectional, and accessible space dedicated to fighting for abolition, transnational feminism, anticapitalism, and decolonization, and also to combating anti-Blackness, queerphobia, Islamophobia, and antisemitism.
We keep each other safe. We do not believe that prisons, police, profit over people, militarism, war, colonialism, or imperialism will keep us safe. We reject the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency’s weaponizing of the United States’ racist immigration laws to prevent our international comrades and peers from speaking up. We reject the violence of the Israel Defense Forces-trained, police-industrial complex that chokes our communities and disproportionately enacts brutality against people of color. We believe that true, collective safety will only arise when we divest from death-making institutions and invest in life-affirming institutions—when everyone has access to clean air, clean water, food, housing, education, healthcare, freedom of movement, and dignity. There can be no exceptions.
Eliminationist intent was reflected in a pro-BDS resolution adopted by the Harvard Graduate Student Union which called for “the end of “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” Nearly 100 current and former members, mostly Jewish or Israeli, then resigned from the union. More positively, a resolution condemning Hamas was passed by the student government at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The resolution was passed after a long and contentious debate at which the language of the text was accused of being vague and ‘Islamophobic.’
- At Arizona State University Jewish students were given a police escort after rocks were thrown at a building where the student government was discussing a BDS resolution.
- At the University of California, San Diego a pro-Hamas mob besieged a group of Jewish students, who then had to be rescued by police.
- At Ohio State University a verbal altercation escalated into an assault on Jewish students. No arrests were made. This followed the vandalizing of the university’s Hillel.
In general, more Jewish students are speaking out about the negative campus environment, indifferent university responses (including reemphasis of DEI efforts that have been at the core of campus antisemitism), and the growing outwardness of explicitly antisemitic comments and harassment, including (or especially) at elite institutions such as Brown University and Columbia. Threats against Jewish faculty have also been noted. In contrast, protests at community colleges and trade schools have been conspicuously absent.
One recent poll indicated that over a third of Jewish students now hide their identity on campus due to safety concerns. One report also suggests that wealthy Jewish families are refusing to apply to Ivy League schools in favor of others in presumably more conservative parts of the country.
In response to the campus environment New York University students have sued the institution alleging indifference to abuse in contravention of its own and Federal regulations. The university denied the charges. Additional lawsuits are planned regarding the treatment of Jewish students at other universities including the University of California at Berkeley.
The consequences of student support for Hamas also continue to be felt. This includes a statement by leading asset managers implying that they would not employ “supporters of hate.” This statement comes after a series in October from leading law firms making clear they would not hire Hamas supporters. Outside of academia, numerous individuals responsible for defacing posters of missing Israelis or harassing supporters of Israel have been exposed and in some instances dismissed from their positions. The prevalence of highly educated individuals such as physicians among those supporting Hamas is disturbing but reminiscent of earlier iterations of support for fascism, including in Nazi Germany and for ISIS.
The role of TikTok in generating antisemitism was demonstrated when the platform ‘mistakenly’ posted a copy of Osama Bin Laden’s 2002 manifesto in which he blamed Jews, Israel and the US for prompting the 9/11 attacks. Immediately thereafter tens of thousands of Gen Z’ers posted video clips endorsing Bin Laden’s antisemitic conspiracies. The role of Instagram in disseminating pro-Hamas propaganda in the guise of graphics has similarly been noted.
Pro-Hamas imagery follows the George Floyd, BLM and other ‘movements,’ and pro-Palestinian hashtags that have been widely disseminated on social media platforms since at least 2020. The social media campaigns activated by the Hamas attack (especially on the Chinese-owned TikTok platform) should be considered the latest iteration of larger information warfare efforts against the US, Israel, and the West.
More broadly, it appears that inculcation of hatred of the West and Enlightenment values by educational systems writ large are the foundation of the antisemitism manifesting now, as well as the specific interests in Islamic expressions of hatred such as Bin Laden’s.
Following the outbreak of violence and vandalism on numerous campuses, university administrations began to push back against student groups and individuals responsible. One notable target were ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ (SJP) chapters.
- George Washington University suspended the SJP chapter for three months for its campus protest where antisemitic slogans were projected on the exterior of the university library. The president of the SJP chapter then led a march to the university president’s house while chanting slogans including “Whose campus, our campus.”
- Brandeis University suspended its SJP chapter. The university president stated it was “because SJP openly supports Hamas, which the United States has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and its call for the violent elimination of Israel and the Jewish people.” A campus protest organized by the ‘Revolutionary Student Organization’ resulted in multiple arrests.
- Columbia University suspended both the SJP and ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ chapters. The university stated the decision came “after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” A large rally by BDS supporting faculty and student groups was later held to protest the decision.
In one especially egregious incident, the University of Alberta fired the head of its sexual assault center after she signed an especially deranged letter denying that Hamas had raped Israeli women during its raid and that the accusation was “misinformation.” But at most institutions anti-Israel students were permitted to protest with little fear of sanction.
Other institutions went to lengths to avoid sanctioning students. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology “partially suspended” students who occupied a building during a pro-Palestinian ‘die-in’ while refusing to comply with orders to move. The students are prohibited from attending “non-academic campus activities” for an unspecified period but were not fully suspended or expelled since the administration feared students might lose their visas. No action was taken against pro-Hamas students who prevented Jewish and Israeli students from entering a campus building. Campus police had warned the Jewish students not to enter that building.
Other administration moves included creation of various task forces to combat antisemitism and invariably ‘Islamophobia’ but even these nominal efforts are being opposed by faculty and students. At the University of Pennsylvania some 500 academics and writers attacked the school’s initiatives to fight antisemitism for its failure to “to condemn — publicly, clearly, and consistently — the numerous episodes of harassment and intimidation directed specifically against Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian students and faculty.” For its part the school’s Muslim Student Association invited an imam with a history of antisemitic and anti-gay statements to present an address.
The expanding revolt of donors and alumni to the sudden exposure of the antisemitism and pro-Hamas sentiment on campuses is one obvious motivation for university administrations. High profile donors continue to repudiate the University of Pennsylvania but reports indicate that donors at Yale University, Harvard University, and other institutions have suspended contributions. These revolts have expanded in more broad but difficult to quantify dissatisfaction from smaller donors and alumni. In response academics have warned against universities ceding power to donors and decried academia’s overall dependence on philanthropy.
More tangentially, statements about campus antisemitism from figures such as former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg should be taken as warnings to universities from leading civic figures. The reputational harm to individual institutions is inescapable but overall public attitudes toward higher education remain difficult to measure. Negative coverage by media, as well as defensive statements, suggest continued decline in public faith and interest.
In response to growing administration criticism of pro-Hamas activities on campus faculty members continue to issue statements condemning Israel and ostensibly in support of “academic freedom.”
- Some 100 Harvard University faculty members signed a letter condemning the university president for her criticism of students chanting the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” saying the phrase had a “long and complicated history.”
- At Yale University faculty held a ‘discussion’ entitled “Gaza Under Siege” at which the existence of Israel was denigrated. Jewish students claim to have been excluded from the event.
- Brown University faculty issued a statement demanding a ceasefire, condemning Israeli military action in Gaza and demanding the university issue a letter in support of Palestinian students.
Another growing trend are ‘Faculty for Justice in Palestine’ chapters organized by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Their overall mission statement includes “education, advocacy, and action” in favor of BDS, the ‘right of return,’ and support for “for indigenous land rights, Black liberation, gender and sexual freedom and a liveable and sustainable planet.” Individual chapters also decry Israel’s existence. At the same time Israeli academics report that informal boycotts by Western universities have quietly escalated, reducing opportunities for Israelis to study and work abroad.
Individual faculty members continue to express pro-Hamas sentiments, often in deranged terms. One example is Laura Mullen, professor of English at Wake Forest University, who stated on social media “So it’s kind of a Duh but if you turn me out of my house plow my olive grove and confine what’s left of my family to the small impoverished state you run as an open air prison I could be tempted to shoot up your dance party yeah even knowing you will scorch the earth.” Countless other examples of support for Hamas, denial of Hamas atrocities, and hatred of Israel occurred in November.
In contrast, a Jewish faculty member at the University of Southern California, John Strauss, was barred from campus after confronting pro-Hamas demonstrators and saying “Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are killed.” His comment was recorded, then deceptive edited and misrepresented to the extent that he was accused of wanting all Palestinians killed. Muslim and Arab groups on and off campus created an outcry and Strauss was then placed on administrative leave and barred from campus.
Elsewhere teachers at the K-12 levels have endorsed Hamas and the idea that Palestinians are being subjected to ‘genocide.’ These include the National Council of Teachers of English which issued a “Statement on Palestinian Genocide” that claimed English teachers “have the power to elevate and humanize Palestinian narratives to students” and that “Disrupting prevalent knowledge and bias presents an opportunity to engage in critical media literacy.”
Similarly, a statement by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Local 59 rejected “violence against all civilians whether Israeli or Palestinian” but condemned “the system of Israeli occupation and apartheid” and called for boycotts of Israel. The Oakland teachers’ union voted to “encourage” members “to become involved in the growing anti-apartheid movement demanding freedom for Palestine.” The Seattle Education Association adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire and return of Israeli hostages but did not mention Hamas.
Another notable trend are school walkouts organized by teachers, which have occurred in the US and in Britain. More than 50 British school walkouts were organized by the far left ‘Stop the War Coalition.’ More ominous has been violence directed at Jewish teachers, including in New York City, where hundreds of students rioted after learning that one teacher had attended a pro-Israel rally.
Reflecting the entrenched trend of teachers bringing political viewpoints into their classrooms, the Arizona superintendent of education warned all districts in the state not to use materials from Amnesty International and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Presentations based on those materials described the Hamas massacre as “retaliation” and the first and second intifadas as “spontaneous” and “non-violent” when in fact they were neither.
A most egregious incident occurred in a Los Angeles charter school where first grade teachers taught their class about the “genocide of Palestine.”
In general, DEI and ‘ethnic studies’ curriculums have deliberately marginalized Jews and Jewish history, including the Holocaust, as well as vilified Israel in the name of ‘relatability’ to minority students as well as the alleged ‘white privilege’ of Jews. Reports also indicate that DEI initiatives are subverting education within Jewish day schools with tendentious narratives of ‘oppressed’ and ‘oppressors.’
Overall the ‘oppressed versus oppressor’ binary which began in academia has spread dramatically through Western societies. The campus logic of faculty and social media driven antisemitism which vilifies Israel and isolates Jewish students and faculty through a logic of collective guilt escalates quickly into arguments for the extermination of Israel and indeed, of Jews themselves.
The political impact of the Hamas massacres and the subsequent Israeli counterattack is multifaceted. The most notable impacts are divisions within the Biden administration regarding its approach to Israel, driven by political considerations regarding Muslim and Arab American voters and the sensitivities of a younger cadre of administration staffers hostile to Israel. The growing schisms between the mainstream Democratic Party including President Biden himself and Arab and Muslim Americans, are also notable between the party and far left ‘Democratic Socialists of America’ (DSA) supporters of the ‘Squad’.
The DSA split from the party was reflected in a riot outside of the Democratic National Committee headquarters which trapped a number of elected officials inside and at which several police were injured. The protest was organized by the DSA, along with ‘IfNotNow’ and ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ all of which are funded by the Open Society Foundations. The vandalizing of local offices belonging to both Republican and Democratic representatives is another manifestation of radical anger directed at normal politics.
Congressional action included hearings (which were disrupted by pro-Hamas demonstrators) at which DEI policies were specifically cited as causes of the enormous rise in campus antisemitism. The presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have also been summoned to appear before Congress to testify about antisemitism and their institutions.
Reports continue to demonstrate that DEI policies shape faculty and student demographics and pedagogy and that DEI bureaucracies are increasingly dominant forces. While states continue to target DEI programs and bureaucracies entrenched faculty and administrators will be difficult or impossible to dislodge.
More concretely, lawmakers have called for investigations of both SJPs and their sponsoring organization, American Muslims for Palestine, and introduced legislation calling for institutions that permit antisemitic events to have their Federal funding cut.
In response to growing pressure the Department of Education (DoE) announced it was launching investigations at several institutions for violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The institutions are Columbia University, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Cornell University, Lafayette College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Wellesley College. The investigation will focus on discrimination on the basis of “shared ancestry” but predictably includes both antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia.’
This linkage is a political necessity that emanates from the White House which deliberately dilutes the focus on antisemitism. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona qualified the DoE investigation further saying it was unlikely any of the schools would lose Federal funding.
The calls to defund academia and to investigate various schools come as a growing chorus of voices, such as former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, lament the rapid unmasking of antisemitism on campuses with fears that this will further compromise the integrity and reputation of the entire higher education industry.
In other local news, the North Carolina Democratic Party refused to recognize a Jewish Democratic caucus. The ‘interfaith chair’ of the party also demanded that Jewish Democrats apologize for asking to be recognized. The head of the party’s “progressive caucus,” Ryan Jenkins, commented “If the Democratic Party caves to it, that’s the end of the Democratic Party. We’re not Democrats, we’re the Jewish Caucus. We’re a Zionist group. Because they control everything. We’re telling them very clearly they are allowed to threaten and bully us and they will get their way every single time and that our rules don’t apply.” The Executive Vice Chair of the party is BDS activist and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, who had been a candidate for the US House of Representatives in 2022.
The manner in which other organs of local politics are also being subverted was reflected in comments by Zainab Chaudry, the Maryland director of CAIR and member of the state’s “Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention” who cheered the Hamas attack and called Americans who marched for Israel “genocide sympathizers.
Elsewhere reports continue to expose the network of far left and Islamist funding for the BDS movement and for pro-Hamas groups in the US, as well as other terrorist groups. Most notable are connections between Hamas and American Muslims for Palestine, the sponsor of Students for Justice in Palestine, and successor of the Holy Land Foundation which had been found responsible in an American court for the death of David Boim.
Wealthy supporters of far left causes including pro-Hamas protests have also come into focus. One example is ‘The People’s Forum’ funded by wealthy entrepreneur Neville Roy Singham, and his wife, Jodie Evans founder of ‘Code Pink.’ The organization provides funding to seemingly grassroots protests while Code Pink is well known for disrupting Congressional hearings and for support of Hamas, North Korea, and other causes. Singham is also closely connected to the Chinese Communist Party. ‘The People’s Forum’, which was involved in a widespread shutdown of New York City sites on 24 November, also receives funding from the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund.
Another example is James ‘Fergie’ Chambers, who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars from his family’’s business Cox Enterprises. Chambers, an avowed communist, has stated that “We need to start making people who support Israel actually afraid to go out in public,” and is a supporter of Palestine Action, which has attacked and vandalized Israeli businesses across the US.
An example of a terror-linked recipient (including from Chambers) is Samidoun, connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which also receives funding from the Alliance for Global Justice. The latter group is funded by the Tides Foundation and the Soros family. Another is the PFLP-linked “Union of Agricultural Work Committees,” whose online fundraiser was recently halted by PayPal.
The manner in which BDS and pro-Hamas activists move from one group to another is illustrated by the group ‘Within Our Lifetime,’ formed out of the consolidated New York City SJP. The group was responsible for organizing protests at various institutions in Manhattan allegedly associated with Israel, such as the offices of the Blackrock investment firm and The New York Times. The group is also responsible for protests at public places such as Penn Station and the vandalizing of the New York Public Library. The group’s leader, Nerdeen Kiswani, was an SJP president at CUNY Law School, an intern at the communist National Lawyers’ Guild, and a fellow at the Al Awda, Palestine Right of Return movement.
The centralized nature of allegedly ‘grassroots’ protests was reflected in the National SJP organization’s ‘Day of Resistance toolkit’ distributed to local chapters which included templates for graphics and hashtags showing hang gliders and lauding Hamas and with specific instructions for organizing campus walkouts and protests. The fiscal sponsor of National SJP is the WESPAC Foundation of White Plains, New York. “Fiscal sponsorship” is an IRS loophole that permits organizations like WESPAC to act as pass-throughs to obscure the origins of funds.
More broadly the evidence of foundation funding aligns with data showing that the global movement for Hamas and the Palestinians was constructed over decades with European Union, NGO and US foundations. But the pro-Hamas protests, in their celebratory, ‘genocide,’ and ceasefire phases, and organizational connections with other movements such as BLM, the Women’s March, and Occupy Wall Street, demonstrate that the deeper intent is not support for ‘Palestine’ and changes in US policy but creating fissures in American society. The disruption of New York City Thanksgiving Day Parade by protestors with signs saying “Liberation for Palestine and Planet” who glued themselves to the street was a tangible manifestation of the organizational interrelationships and the broad spectrum of revolutionary motives.
Locally, reports indicate that slush funds allocated to New York City council members have been given to various non-profits that have organized anti-Israel protests including the Muslim American Society and the Tides Center.
The problem of Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill opposed to their employers’ support for Israel continues to reverberate, with reports indicating that Jewish staffers increasingly feel the need to hide their identities and connections to Israel. The fact that anti-Israel staffers already permeate Democratic Party structures and have been brought into administrative positions in various departments including the intelligence community is an ominous harbinger of structural animosity toward Israel in the future. The obvious conclusion is that a ‘bipartisan consensus’ on Israel may still exist at senior political and administrative levels but not below.
The problem of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas staffers also extends downwards through local politics. New York State Senator Julia Salazar was forced to fire her Communications and Policy Director Sarah Campbell after it was revealed that the latter stated on social media “I don’t condemn Hamas, I condemn Israel. Who has reigned more terror: Hamas in the entirety of their existence, or Israel in just the last 30 days? Which group has massacred more civilians? Displaced millions? Bombed hospitals? Killed premature babies? Starved an entire people?”
In contrast, reports indicate that even progressive Jewish staffers on Capitol Hill are afraid to express their viewpoints much less support for Israel due to the overwhelming atmosphere of conformity and intimidation, reminiscent of campuses. Conversely, in the Britain the civil service union demanded legal protection for employees refusing to work on Israel-related issues. The BBC has also banned Jewish employees from attending a pro-Israel march.
Outside of academia, the Los Angeles Times has informed staffers who signed a letter condemning Israel that they would not be able to write about the conflict for three months. More than 1200 journalists worldwide have signed the letter, which brings into question the nature of their reporting as a whole on the conflict.
A similar letter demanding “adequate coverage of credible allegations of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid” was signed by Australian journalists. The editor of two Australian newspapers rejected the demands, a response that was characterized as “pressure and intimidation” by a trade union official. In the meantime, the Washington Post created an outcry when a headline described both released Israeli hostages and Palestinian security prisoners as “captives.” The New York Times made a similar equation with a headline describing released hostages illustrated with a photo of a Palestinian security prisoner.
Violent protests in support of Hamas continued to take place around the world. Immense protests were held in many Western cities including New York, London, Paris, Berlin, and Washington, D.C., and included violent attacks on property, passers by and police. The London protests were timed to coincide with annual Remembrance Day celebrations and police were forced to withdraw and let the protests proceed. Palestinian, Hamas, and ISIS flags and banners featured prominently at protests but no signs demanded return of Israeli or other hostages.
These direct manifestations of calls to ‘Globalize the Intifada’ featured alliances between far left and communist factions, and Muslims. The protests are in a sense modeled on those which have swept campuses. They are designed to intimidate and control public spaces but also to empower individual activists to harass Jews and Israel supporters in private spaces.
As the enormity and horror of the Hamas massacres was revealed in October and November the rhetoric of protests shifted celebrations of ‘resistance’ to accusations that Israel was committing ‘genocide’ and then demands for a ‘ceasefire’ which would allow Hamas to reorganize and rearm. Denial that Hamas had carried out atrocities, or even an attack, have also become more common. The silence from feminist organizations on and off campus regarding the use of rape as a weapon by Hamas and Gazans has been especially shocking.
Violence directed against Jews and Jewish institutions by pro-Hamas protestors is becoming more widespread. A Jewish male, Paul Kessler, was murdered at a protest in Pasadena, California after being struck on the head by a Hamas supporter and falling. Local authorities waited two weeks before arresting a local college professor, Louy Alnaji, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. An attack in Sydney by Hamas supporters also injured a Jewish man.
Numerous other acts of violence were also directed at Israeli and Jewish locations, including a firebomb thrown at a Montreal synagogue, shots fired at a Montreal school, vandalism of Israeli restaurants in New York City, and vandalism and suspicious packages sent to several Seattle synagogues. Three anti-Israel ‘activists’ were arrested in New Hampshire for vandalizing an Israeli owned factory. One of the ‘activists’ had been involved in the notorious ‘Mapping Project’ which charted a large number of regional entities alleged to be connected to Israel. In Los Angeles the home of AIPAC president Michael Tuchin was attacked with smoke bombs and the exterior vandalized.
At the Port of Tacoma, the BDS group Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) temporarily blocked a ship with materiel bound for Israel from leaving. AROC has also been responsible for several West Coast high school walkouts.
Finally, the enormous and completely non-violent pro-Israel rally in Washington, D.C. which brought together the largest assembly of Jews and allies in US history, was largely ignored or deliberately mischaracterized by mainstream media including the Washington Post. For its part the far left Nation magazine described the event as a “hate rally” which endorsed “war crimes.”