Semester ends in turmoil as anti-Israel students and faculty disrupt campuses. Protest funding links left wing foundations to Democratic Party donors

  • 0


The spring semester has ended with global higher education fundamentally transformed by anti-Israel protests sparked by the Hamas massacres of October 2023. Large numbers of faculty and students have exposed the intensity of their anti-Israel and anti-American biases, while university administrations’ willingness to negotiate concessions have put the industry’s moral and intellectual mediocrity on public display. While concessions over divestment from Israel have mostly been performative, the unwillingness of administrations to address antisemitic harassment reflects the growing marginalization and exclusion of Jews from higher education. Overall the antisemitism crisis in American academia reveals the depth to which these institutions are fundamentally no longer American, promoting American interests and values, but rather international ones which reflect the prejudices of their faculties and especially students, many of whom are not American.


The spring semester has ended with the anti-Israel movement making significant gains on and off campus. The most visible development in May were the appearance of protests, encampments, building takeovers, and marches at numerous universities across the US. An analysis of their distribution indicated that between October 2023 and May 2024, over 300 protests were held and over 120 encampments created. The distribution, however, was strongly correlated with the status of institutions, with protests most common at highly selective or elite institutions where fewer students received Federal aid. The implication is that pro-Hamas protests are largely an upper class and not a working class phenomenon. The prominent role of women in the protests suggests important underlying gender and social dynamics.


Student encampments, building takeovers, and commencement disruptions were widespread in May. Notable encampments and takeovers occurred at Columbia University, UCLA, Portland State University, the University of Chicago, and elsewhere. In these and other cases police intervention was required after lengthy negotiations with students broke down. Encampments were established and then cleared, either by police or by agreements, with many being reestablished within days and then cleared once again.

In one key example at Columbia University a student encampment was dismantled by the police. Shortly thereafter a building was occupied and barricaded. After unsuccessful negotiations New York police entered the building and removed protestors. This prompted outrage from students, faculty, and politicians including demands for amnesty and threats to strike.

At UCLA after a long period when the encampment disrupted university operations, Jewish students were harassed, and finally a Jewish student assaulted and hospitalized by protestors, counterprotestors attacked. That reaction became the exclusive focus of media attention and criticism from university and city officials rather than the pro-Hamas protestors. A report also indicates that the encampment organizers had an agreement with the administration permitting them to exclude students based on “viewpoints,” namely “Zionism.”

With few exceptions, mainstream media depictions of the May protests emphasized Israeli violence and student non-violence, the participation of Jewish students, and the purity of protestors’ motives and spontaneous actions. In contrast, actual reporting noted the national plans to create encampments had circulated in the fall and extensive training was provided to students on tactics such as seizing and securing buildings and on strategic goals including recreating the widespread violence of 2020.

Review of protestors’ social media postings also revealed frequently antisemitic and violent rhetoric, such as the threat to ‘guillotine’ George Washington University president Ellen Granberg after a ‘People’s Tribunal.’ The damage caused to university property by encampments was considerable but damage to occupied buildings was profound. Damage to the Portland State University library amounted to at least $1 million and at least $3 million at City College of New York, while extensive damage was also done to the University of California system headquarters in Oakland.

The May campus protests also highlighted the role of professional agitators in organizing anti-Israel protests and their links to earlier BLM and other protests. Training materials provided by National Students for Justice in Palestine to encampment organizers contained a variety of practical manuals for urban insurgency as well as materials glorifying the Palestinian ‘resistance’ and other violent revolutionary movements. At Columbia the presence of Lisa Fithian, a longtime protest trainer and organizer, and the fact that around one half of those arrested were not associated with the university, demonstrated the role of professionals in managing the protests. The evidence of professional involvement at Columbia, as well as from other locations such as the University of Texas, was deliberately downplayed by media reporting.

Commencement disruptions were frequent in May with many graduates costuming themselves in keffiyahs, with bloody hands, and with banners and signs. One notable example was at Duke University, where some 30 protestors walked out prior to an address from Jerry Seinfeld. Protestors were heckled by the crowd but the walkout was falsely depicted as large-scale by the New York Times.

Reports claim that 1000 people walked out of the Harvard commencement, in part over the university’s decision not to award degrees to 13 protestors who had been suspended. The commencement speaker, Maria Ressa, who had previously compared Israel to Nazi Germany, went on to claim she had been “attacked online and called antisemitic by power and money because they want power and money.” At Morehouse College some graduates turned their back on President Biden as he gave an address. At George Washington University protestors chanted “from river to the sea Palestine will be Arab” in Arabic.

In several cases commencement proceedings were canceled, as at Columbia and Emory, or relocated, as a Pomona College. Dickinson College canceled the commencement speech and honorary degree of CNN commentator Michael Smerconish after complaints from pro-Palestinian students.

At CUNY Law School the student speakers were eliminated, while in other cases commencement speakers launched into anti-Israel rants, including at the University of Pennsylvania where the speaker condemned Israel as a “white supremacist genocidal country”, or had their microphones cut off, as at the Columbia social work school. At the Columbia social work school some graduate also ripped up their diplomas on stage. An Oxford University commencement was disrupted by a ‘die-in’ which forced attendees to walk over the bodies of protestors.

The clearing of encampments by police prompted backlash from faculty but also additional protests by students including a strike by the UAW affiliated academic workers union at the University of California system. Strikers alleged “unfair labor practice charges based on the way the university reacted to protesters” and threatened to withhold all ‘academic labor’ including grades until their demands for divestment were met.

Jewish students at many institutions continue to document harassment and intimidation by pro-Hamas protestors, deepening exclusion from campus life after accusations of being ‘Zionists,’ and complain regarding abandonment by administration, and the complicity of faculty in disruptions of university operations.

Jewish campus groups also remain targets for pro-Hamas protestors and appear increasingly isolated. Hillels have been subjected to pro-Hamas protests at Baruch College while at the University of California at Santa Cruz the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter demanded the Hillel be closed for its support of Israel along with other ‘Zionist organizations.’ The university dismissed the demand. At Drexel University the ‘Palestine coalition’ demanded that all “Palestinian speech” be supported by university speech guidelines, end all relationships with Israeli institutions, fire two Jewish faculty members, and terminate both Hillel and Chabad. Protestors at UCLA also demanded the closure of the Israel Studies program, which was rejected quickly by the administration.

These demands are consistent with the rapidly emerging SJP consensus, expressed on social media by many chapters, that any acknowledgment of a two state solution is unacceptable since it would recognize Israel. SJP calls to “Escalate disruption and confrontation across historic Palestine, from every checkpoint and street corner to the face of every settler and soldier” and to “Escalate protests to an open intifada in every capital and every city,” explicitly follow Hamas rhetoric and demand global violence.

More explicit threats of a US terror campaign to “bring the intifada home” appeared in a manifesto from protestors who seized a building at the University of Chicago, which stated “We embrace many methods of attacking our enemies. Whatever is effective, destructive, fun, creative, creates leverage, disrupts power, or changes minds is welcome. We refuse to police and surveil each other and remember the enemies are the state, the pigs, and the war profiteers.”

Setting up ‘pro-Palestine’ as the antithesis of a two state solution and the simple existence of Israel epitomizes the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s anti-normalization ideology. Making peace impossible short of the complete destruction of Israel therefore guarantees the perpetuation of the conflict, the polarization of politics, and the expansion of violence against Jews and the general public. Praise for campus protests from HamasAl Qaida, and Ayatollah Khameini (who stated that students “formed a branch of the Resistance Front”) reinforced the message of rejection and anti-liberalism.

Countless examples of Jewish students and faculty being harassed, followed, verbally abused, and prevented from campus access have been documented. Little law enforcement action has been evident. In an especially serious case, a Jewish student at Reed College was injured by a rock thrown through his dorm room window. This came after a the student’s mezzuzah was vandalized. In response, numerous lawsuits against universities continue to be filed on behalf of students and by the Department of Education alleging discrimination.

At the same time, poll of students demonstrate contradictory attitudes. Large numbers of Jewish and Israeli students report campus disruptions targeting them, feel ostracized and unsafe, and have taken to hiding their identities. Jews and non-Jews alike report that campus antisemitism is a problem.

One poll in the US reported that 65% of students are very supportive of “pro-Palestinian” protests, 50% supporting Hamas, with 30% supporting the use of violence and 10% admitting they have an “unfavorable opinion of Jewish people.” Other polls indicate, however, that a majority of students favor universities holding protestors responsible for disruptions or destruction of property.

More shocking results emerged in Britain where a poll reported that 40% of students from the leading Russell Group of universities characterize Hamas’ 7 October attack as an “understandable act of resistance,” with 50% saying that pro-Israel students should expect abuse on campus. Other results show that pro-Palestinian students are unwilling to befriend pro-Israel students. Complicating matters further, however, polls also indicate that the Gaza War is not a top election issue for American college students.

As a whole polling results suggest that campus protests are driven by a small minority of activist students and faculty who have successfully poisoned campus environments, which naturally tend toward conformity, and bent administrations to their will. Observers have noted that universities such as Columbia which have marketed ‘social justice’ and a history of student activism now find themselves confronted by students demanding these activities be indulged.


In response to protests, encampments, and building takeovers, most university administrations were anxious to negotiate with protestors and to accede to their demands, thereby incentivizing future protests. The agreements negotiated included permission for students to make presentations to trustees regarding divestment from Israel, often cast euphemistically in terms of ‘weapons manufacturers,’ as well as actual divestment votes by trustees, calls for ceasefire and condemnations of Israel, reviewing or suspending Israel exchange programs, importing Palestinian ‘students’ and ‘scholars,’ establishing ‘Palestine studies’ centers, and student amnesty or leniency. Examples include:

At Northwestern University concessions included a promise to reveal its investments and to establish an investment advisory board with student participation which will advise trustees, student involvement in assessing university vendors, as well as two professorships and five scholarships for Palestinians, and a ‘Middle Eastern and North African’ residential unit.

Brown University promised protestors that after a student presentation divestment would be voted on by trustees. The students identified a number of aerospace and defense companies they alleged were complicit in “grave human rights violations” including Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics.

  • At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee administrators agreed to permit anti-Israel students to present the case for divestment to trustees, called the situation a “plausible genocide,” condemned destruction in Gaza, and demanded a ceasefire. The chancellor later apologized for weighing in on “deeply complex geopolitical and historical issues.”
  • The University of Washington agreed to demands from the “United Front for Palestinian Liberation” including student representation on a divestment committee, free tuition for 20 Gazan students, a faculty committee to examine academic boycotts, and a “Center for Scholarship of Palestine.”
  • Within the University of California system the Berkeley administration agreed to a divestment task force and the chancellor called for a ‘permanent ceasefire.’ The Riverside administration agreed to similar terms and also terminated a variety of overseas programs including in Israel, which had been the target of long term pressure.
  • Goldsmiths College agreed to student demands after a five week occupation, including scholarships for Palestinian students, a review of investment policy, and renaming a theater in honor of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
  • Trinity University announced “divestment from equity investments in Israeli companies that have activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and appear on the UN Blacklist in this regard.” It will also bring in Gazan students and faculty and review student exchange programs. The decision came after protestors blockaded the exhibit of the Book of Kells which earns the school some €350,000 a week during the summer.
  • Union Theological Seminary announced that it would “identify all investments, both domestic and global, that support and profit from the present killing of innocent civilians in Palestine” in order to “withdraw support from companies profiting from the war.”
  • The New School for Social Research agreed to hold a divestment vote in June “from industries implicated in military and police violence in Gaza and the West Bank, and all global militarized conflict such as companies or subsidiaries involved in weapons manufacturing, military supplies and equipment, military communication, and public surveillance technology.”
  • Bard College announced an agreement with protestors that included disclosure of investments, strengthening ties with a branch campus in East Jerusalem, and “support of appropriate challenges — political, social, and legal— to Executive Order 157,” banning investments in institutions or companies that boycott Israel.

The most extreme example of concessions to students came at Sonoma State University where the president, Mike Lee, agreed to fully divest from Israel, permit an SJP ‘advisory council’ to oversee the agreement with protestors, introduce ’Palestine’ and a ‘Palestine Studies’ program, and to ban all Israel programs. Cal State administrators, however, quickly accused Lee of “insubordination” and forced his retraction and then retirement. Acting President Nathan Evans then met with protestors after they disrupted commencement.

The most significant and real Israel boycotts have emerged in the Netherlands. Ghent University severed ties with three Israeli research institutions on the grounds they are “problematic according to the Ghent University human rights test” while Leiden University has put exchange programs with Israeli universities on hold and “will assess all our current ties with Israeli institutions and joint research projects.” The university also stated it will also not admit Israeli students from Tel Aviv University or Hebrew University “until after an evaluation.”

Overall the universities appear to have provided a mixture of performative and real concessions. Some appear to be simply delaying tactics, postponing confrontations until the fall semester. Funding Gazan students and creating ‘Palestine studies’ centers, however, guarantees future campus radicalization by introducing anti-Israel extremists. The privileged admission of Palestinian students also appears to be in violation of Title IV of the Higher Education Act while the creation of residential and Muslim-only spaces reinforces campus identity politics.

Observers also note that most institutions invest in index funds rather than individual stocks, making removal of specific companies difficult or impossible. Nor is it assured that even individual institutions with less complex finances could divest. William College’s decision not to divest and not to embrace ‘environmental, social, and governance’ (ESG) guidelines was specifically explained as a function of the inherent practical and moral difficulty involved. State anti-BDS laws also complicate divestment.

The question of fiduciary responsibility under various states’ interpretations of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) has yet to be discussed, including the financial impact of divestment on returns necessary for long term obligations such as debt service or pensions. Ironically the moves towards divestment come at a time when ESG investments have come under immense pressure from legislators, investors, and state attorneys general for being underperforming tools of social control.

Administration concessions to anti-Israel protestors were compounded by reports that university task forces investigating antisemitism were ignored and sidelined. Seven members of Northwestern University’s antisemitism task force resigned after the administration failed to consult them before concluding an agreement with protestors.

At Columbia University members of the committee noted widespread incidents of harassment, intimidation, and exclusion of Jewish students identified as ‘Zionists,’ the participation of faculty in such activities, and the unwillingness of administrators to take complaints seriously.

At Harvard University the antisemitism committee documented numerous examples of Jewish students being harassed and intimidated as well as how their results and recommendations were ignored by the administration. Committee members also expressed concern about the engineered nature of the campus protests and the sharp decline in the number of Jewish students.

The willingness of administrators to ignore complaints regarding harassment and intimidation was also evident in reports from Oxford University where Jewish students were told to simply attend university elsewhere.

A growing wave of lawsuits from both Jewish students alleging they have been deprived of rights and pro-Hamas protestors (and their supporters in the BDS movement, including the ACLU) alleging mistreatment and denial of rights, will likely change the campus environment in the future. In contrast, the announcement that Harvard has adopted a policy of institutional neutrality regarding official statements on political issues is clearly intended to thwart student and faculty demands on the administration in the future.


Faculty remain at the forefront of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas protests in the aftermath of encampments and building takeovers, in many cases joining protests, conducting classes within encampments (where ‘Zionist’ students were prohibited), staging walkouts and ‘die-ins,’ acting as human shields, and being arrested.

‘Defending students’ has become a central theme for faculty, in part as a means to push back the overall power balance with administrations. Faculty increasingly claim these activities, including protesting alongside students, are protected by ‘academic freedom’ and are effectively part of their job descriptions. Faculty members have also counseled student protestors to restrain their behavior and messages in order to maintain proper focus on Israeli evil.

Faculty members have been especially vocal expressing outrage over the rare suspensions of students involved in campus takeovers and other hostile activities. One example of this emerged at Harvard University where 500 faculty signed a letter complaining that the “unprecedented, disproportionate, and arbitrary” sanctions “undermine trust” and demanded that suspended students be awarded their degrees. The demand was rejected by the Harvard Corporation who barred 13 protestors from receiving degrees.

At Princeton University faculty members narrowly passed a resolution demanding amnesty for disciplined students. New York University’s Faculty for Justice in Palestine group also rejected the administration’s sanctions on students, which included reflective readings and writing assignments, which it called “humiliating and infantilizing.

Faculty unions with longstanding animosity towards Israel have used the campus violence as a pretext to propose increasingly severe and illegal measures, such as the notoriously anti-Israel union at the City University of New York, which demanded the administration ban all faculty and student trips to Israel. The resolution was voted down.

Northwestern University faculty and staff signed a resolution accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing and genocide” and demanding the administration condemn “targeted harassment of students and the disproportionate censorship of pro- Palestine speech,” end partnerships with Israeli institutions, and “disclose and divest” from “all companies that support Israeli apartheid.” Similar demands were made by faculty groups at Princeton UniversityAmherst College, and elsewhere.

Faculty members have used no-confidence notes to pressure university presidents to accept anti-Israel demands and to express displeasure directly at those who have taken steps against protestors. Examples include faculty votes against Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, Emory University president Greg Fenves, and Dartmouth College president Sian Leah Beiloc. Efforts to censure and vote no confidence in UCLA chancellor Gene Block, however, failed to gain enough votes from the faculty. In contrast, reports indicate that a Jewish alumni group is planning to take over the MIT board of trustees and oust the president, Sally Kornbluth, in response to her failure to aid Jewish students and her embrace of DEI culture which has impacted campus culture.

Faculty have reacted with outrage to sanctions directed against themselves. Adjuncts in particular have claimed that pro-Hamas activists are being fired as part of a ‘McCarthyist crackdown’ by universities. Faculty complaints were also voiced regarding the Facebook group ‘Mothers Against Campus Antisemitism,” which was alleged to “trample on legitimate speech.

In the area of academic associations, the American Sociological Association passed a resolution calling for “for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza” and supporting “members’ academic freedom, including but not limited to defending scholars’ right to speak out against Zionist occupation.”

In general the role of faculty orchestrating and deepening assaults on ‘Zionism’ is the context for the growing exclusion of Israeli scholars from international academic collaboration since the Hamas massacre in October. The recent rejection of an Israeli authored paper by the journal Cultural Critique demonstrates again that blacklists are in full swing. It is likely that that massacre and Israeli counterattack have given license to a long-desired purge of Jews from academia.


Anti-Israel activities continue to rile the K-12 sector. Reports indicate that dozens of Jewish families in the Oakland (CA) school district have begun to withdraw their children after repeated anti-Israel and antisemitic incidents.

Walkouts from public schools were reported at a number of school districts including in Chicago and Princeton (NJ), while Berkeley middle school students were led by administrators to a local Jewish Community Center, then occupied by preschoolers, for an anti-Israel protest. Video also emerged of a pro-Hamas protest inside a Bronx high school during which Jewish students and teachers locked themselves in classroom. Reports also indicate that teachers also vilify Israel at elite private high schools, such as the Collegiate School in New York, where Jewish parents were later blamed for complaining.

Concerns over curriculums also remain, such as the controversial “liberated ethnic studies” curriculum proposed in California and unofficially adopted in the Berkeley public schools which instructs third graders to “understand that we are on a journey to decolonize ourselves as holistic human beings, through critical consciousness, radical hope and self-love” and through addressed their “racialized self.”

Teachers unions continue to be at the forefront of anti-Israel activity. One recent example is a call by the Maine Education Association demanding that the state pension fund divest from companies “complicit in the violation of the human rights” of Palestinian civilians. A ‘spontaneous’ student walkout in Washington, D.C. was apparently also organized by a teachers’ group with connections to American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Palestinian Youth Movement.

The systematic indoctrination of students by teachers and their unions into anti-Israel bias represents a long-term threat to Jews and to American society that has yet to be addressed. The political power of teachers unions may make the task impossible.


Anti-Israel protests continued around the world in May including London and New York. At protests in Brooklyn during ‘Nakba Day’ Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine flags were prominently displayed. Numerous arrests were made in Brooklyn for disorderly conduct and assaults on police prompting complaints about police violence.

Protests aimed at high profile events continued including the Met Gala, where hundreds of protestors were kept away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and various other fundraising events. In an especially revolting display, protestors disrupted the International March of the Living at Auschwitz.

Vandalism of Jewish and Jewish owned sites also continued in May, including three restaurants in Manhattan. Several Jewish children were assaulted in New York, in addition to an attempted car ramming attack against Hasidic Jews, and there were two incidents of shots fired at a Jewish school in Montreal.

Protests continue against major corporations which do business with Israel. One protest was again directed against Google, alleging that a cloud computing project undertaken for Israel is military in nature. Amazon also saw anti-Israel protests in the form of a proxy challenge from a small Baptist BDS group demanding the company cease a computing contract with Israel.

The leadership of anti-Israel groups such as ‘Within Our Lifetime’ and ‘Decolonize This Place’ have well documented Islamist and communist connections. Protest organizers and other anti-Israel activists have now also been linked to other US adversaries including Cuba. Calla Walsh, under indictment and FBI investigation for vandalizing an Israeli-owned factory in New Hampshire, was also trained in Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade, which is linked to Cuban intelligence. Manolo De Los Santos, founder of The People’s Forum, which has helped organize many protests around New York City also trained in Cuba, as have other individuals connected to African revolutionary groups.

The larger goals of the protestors remain downplayed by the media but are stated clearly in left wing and pro-Palestinian media. The anti-Western slogans include “There is only one solution, intifada revolution!,” “abolish the university,” “from turtle island to Palestine, solidarity forever,” and ‘smashing American imperial liberalism,’ demand the destruction of the US while demands that Jews ‘go back to Europe’ make the antisemitic content clear.

These and other slogans are consistent with the convergence of the ‘Palestinian movement’ with ‘revolutionary socialism’ in which ‘Palestine’ is the pivotal anti-capitalist cause and the Jews the “greedy genocidal minority” behind the “horrible system predicated on genocide and unending exploitation.”


Congressional investigations of K-12 schools and universities over their treatment of Jews, Israelis and pro-Hamas protestors expanded in May. Presidents of universities again testified before a House subcommittee investigating campus antisemitism, a development that was condemned in advance by members of the higher education industrial complex.

The hearing proceeded along predictable party lines. The presidents of Rutgers, Northwestern, and UCLA largely avoided the calamitous outcome of earlier hearings but could not easily explain sweeping concessions to protestors. Northwestern University president Michael Schill claimed that the deal with protestors, whom he described as dangerous and antisemitic, was made in part to protect Jewish students. He also claimed to be unaware of the details of Northwestern’s relationship with Qatar.

In one notable exchange Rep. Ilhan Omar admonished UCLA Chancellor Block for failure to defend pro-Hamas protestors from pro-Israel counterprotestors and for letting the former be exposed to a video of Hamas atrocities. Omar also claimed that Jewish students denied access to campus could use other routes.

Criticism of President Biden from the left over administration support for Israel also expanded, with some commentators complaining that Biden appears ready to ‘wreck his presidency on Netanyahu’s behalf.’ Analyses of mainstream media coverage of the Gaza War also indicates relentless criticism and hostility towards Israel which amplifies voices to the left of the administration, as well as criticism of alleged ‘Jewish influence’ on local politicians opposed to pro-Hamas campus protests.

This crisis within the Democratic Party comes as reports continue regarding emerging shifts of Jewish voters and donors away from Biden and toward Trump. One high profile example is Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman, who announced he would support Trump, citing immigration, economy, and foreign policy but not specifically Israel.

Reports of meetings between the Trump campaign and Arab American representatives compounds the crisis for the Democrats. An antisemitism crisis within the College Democrats of America over a proposed condemnation of antisemitism, which was thwarted by demands to condemn Israel from left wing and Muslim students, and another within the Young Democrats of America which condemned Biden Administration admonitions on campus violence and antisemitism, indicates that the party is undergoing systemic change.

At the same time primary challenges against members of the ‘Squad’ continue, with AIPAC (now reconfigured as a political action committee) donating heavily against anti-Israel candidates. Notably, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) face strong primary challengers. Both Bowman and Bush have alleged Israel is engaged in ‘genocide’ and have called for boycotts. Bowman was belatedly endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America who state that “Palestine in on the ballot,” a phrase that has been seen from Muslim Labour Party candidates in Britain.

But tensions have also emerged within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party regarding the pro-Palestinian domination of politics over other issues. The desire for domination was highlighted by the appearance of Rep. Rashida Tlaib at the ‘People’s Conference for Palestine’ in Detroit, sponsored by the CCP-backed The People’s Forum, where she appeared alongside several members of the designated terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The Democratic Party crisis over Israel pits the progressive far left against the traditional pro-Israel center, but recent analyses show that this is largely being manufactured by Obama-connected entities as part of a broader takeover of the party. This fact, evident for some time, has now been recognized by mainstream media such as Politico as part of that campaign.

The foundations and individuals funding protests connect both the Biden Administration (through Federal agencies) and former members of the Obama administration who lead various NGOs and protest groups. The obsessive anti-Israel focus manufactured on campus and in street protests support an Obama policy goal, relegating Israel and other traditional American allies in the Middle East as part of a ‘realignment’ that recognizes Iranian hegemony.

An increasing number of reports have documented the various components funding and organizing anti-Israel (and before that, BLM) protests. The first are non-profits such as WESPAC, a front which acts as the “fiscal sponsor” of National Students for Justice in Palestine and Within Our Lifetime, which organizes street protests again Israel. As such it is tied to Hamas-connected American Muslim Brotherhood organizations including American Muslims for Palestine, which directs SJPs, Linda Sarsour’s MPower Change, as well as other groups such as Palestine Legal, the lawfare arm of the BDS movement.

Another facet are foundations such as the Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Foundation, and the Open Societies Foundation, all of which also contribute to one another to obscure sources of funding. Tides in particular acts as the fiscal sponsor of the Arab Resource and Organizing Committee, IfNotNow, ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ Adalah Justice Project, and other anti-Israel protest groups and bail funds active on campuses.

These foundations in turn are connected to Obama wing Democratic Party dark money operations such as the Libra Foundation, run by Susan Pritzker, cousin to Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, Arabella Advisors, which bundles and distributes funds from donors, and the party’s online funding portal ActBlue.

One newly documented dimension of the anti-Israel movement is Biden Administration’s direct support. One example is the $50 million awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency under terms of the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ to the Climate Justice Alliance. This umbrella group of some 80 organizations includes the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance which organized an anti-Israel protest at the US Capitol at which over 50 activists were arrested.

The role of Iranian American millionaires such as Francis Najafi, who funds anti-Israel organizations (some of which were created during the Obama administration to amplify its messages) such as NIAC, J Street, the Quincy Institute, and Jewish Currents, and Chinese Communist Party linked millionaires such as Neville Roy Singham, a funder of The People’s Forum, has also brought foreign involvement under scrutiny.

The political landscape in the US is thus influenced by local as well as online protests and information operations. New reports continue to point to Chinese, Russian, and Iranian involvement in amplifying anti-Israel and antisemitic narratives on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. Techniques include amplifying anti-Israel ‘influencers’ through fake followers, ‘blockouts’ of celebrities who do not conform to the pro-Hamas narratives lose followers and income,

Arts and Culture

Efforts to marginalize and exclude Israelis and Jews from arts and culture expanded in May using Israel as a pretext for increasingly crude antisemitism.

The major development in the arts and culture sphere in May was the Eurovision song contest. After efforts to bar Israel altogether from the Malmo (Sweden) competition, and to force venues showing the competition to boycott, Israeli entrant Eden Golan was restricted to her hotel and escorted by by police for fear of angry mobs in the streets. She was also heckled by the audience members and by other contestants. But large number of votes from European residents rather than official judges enabled her to finish in fifth place.

Writers in particular have been subjected to ideological tests and harassment regarding Israel. Blacklists of writers and musicians alleged to be ‘Zionist’ continue to be circulated. A major corporate sponsor of a literary festival was dropped after a number of writers including a Member of Parliament threatened to boycott literary festivals across Britain. An effort to condemn Israel through a motion in the British Society of Authors failed by a narrow margin but the writers’ group PEN American has publicly imploded over complaints it has failed to offer sufficient condemnations of Israel.

The film, theater and fashion worlds have also been the centers of anti-Israel politics. A British theater about to show a documentary on the Hamas massacre was vandalized prompting a massive show of support. The cancelation of a Jewish themed play by a New York theater over “safety concerns” as a result of the Gaza War shows that implicit boycotts have spilled over into other creative spheres. Jews in the British fashion industry have also been attacked and marginalized.

Young staff members have also begun to shape narratives within the museum world. At the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle a strike by staff members objecting to an exhibition on prejudice which notes the role of anti-Israel bias in antisemitism. The workers stated that “Zionism has no place in our communities” and that “What is happening in Palestine directly reflects violent colonization and imperialism that has and continues to impact Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander (AA/NHP) diaspora for generations” and demanded that all ‘Zionist’ references be removed.

Semester ends in turmoil as anti-Israel students and faculty disrupt campuses. Protest funding links left wing foundations to Democratic Party donors

  • 0

Alex Joffe

Editor SPME / BDS Monitor

Alexander H. Joffe is an archaeologist and historian specializing in the Middle East and contemporary international affairs. He received a B.A. in History from Cornell University in 1981 and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona in 1991. From 1980 to 2003 he participated in and directed archaeological research in Israel, Jordan, Greece and the United States. Joffe taught at the Pennsylvania State University and Purchase College, and has been Director of Research for Global Policy Exchange, Ltd., and The David Project, Center for Jewish Leadership.

Joffe's work is uniquely broad. Since 1991 he has published dozens of studies on the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and is a leading figure in contentious debates over the relationship between archaeology and politics in the Middle East. He has also authored numerous works on contemporary issues, including Middle Eastern environmental security threats from pollution and weapons of mass destruction. His work on the problem of dismantling intelligence agencies is widely cited by experts and democratic reformers alike.

In the past decade Joffe has written and spoken on topics as varied as the future of American Jews, the Palestinian refugee problem, and nationalism. During that time as well he has been deeply involved with combating the problems of campus antisemitism, the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions' movement against Israel, and in educating Jews and others about threats to Israel and the West. His current projects include a biography of a British World War II general and several novels. He and his family reside near New York City.

Read all stories by Alex Joffe