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College Protests for Palestine Gain Momentum Nationwide

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 12: Columbia students participate in a rally in support of Palestine at the university on October 12, 2023 in New York City. A counter-rally in support of Israel was also held by students across the lawn. Across the country and around the world, people are holding rallies and vigils for both Palestinians and Israelis following last weekend’s attack by Hamas. On October 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza by land, sea, and air, killing over 1,200 people and wounding thousands. Israeli soldiers and civilians have also been taken hostage by Hamas and moved into Gaza. The attack prompted a declaration of war by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with ongoing airstrikes in Gaza that have killed over a thousand people. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

College Protests for Palestine Gain Momentum Nationwide

Across college campuses in the United States, a growing number of students are organizing protests and demonstrations in support of the Palestinian cause. These protests have been sparked by the ongoing conflict in the region and a desire among students to raise awareness and advocate for Palestinian rights.

The protesters, which include both Palestinian and non-Palestinian students, are calling for their universities to divest from companies that do business with the Israeli government and to condemn the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. They argue that their institutions should not be complicit in what they view as human rights abuses.

The protests have taken various forms, including rallies, marches, and sit-ins. Students have also organized educational events and panel discussions to inform their peers about the history and current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These events have featured speakers from both sides of the conflict, as well as experts on international law and human rights.

One of the key demands of the protesters is for their universities to adopt a policy of boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning (BDS) companies that are involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The BDS movement has gained significant momentum in recent years, with several major academic institutions, including the University of California system and the University of Michigan, divesting from companies that do business with Israel.

The protests have also called attention to the broader issue of the role of universities in shaping public discourse and policy on issues of global importance. Many students argue that their institutions have a moral obligation to take a stand on issues of human rights and social justice, and that remaining neutral or silent on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a form of complicity.

However, the protests have faced some backlash, with critics arguing that they are one-sided and unfairly target Israel. Some have accused the protesters of antisemitism, a charge that the organizers have strongly denied. They maintain that their goal is to raise awareness and advocate for a just resolution to the conflict, not to demonize or delegitimize the state of Israel.

Despite the criticism, the protests have continued to gain momentum, with students organizing solidarity events and coordinating their efforts across different campuses. The organizers are hopeful that their actions will help to shift the narrative around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and inspire their peers to become more engaged in issues of global justice and human rights.

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