The pro-Palestinian demonstrations

Well, duh

For weeks, I’ve been trying to write a piece about the pro-Palestine demonstrations on college campuses, stymied by the ever-changing circumstances. 

Last month, I was conversing with two of my friends, both 70 or older, veterans of many demonstrations for civil rights, and against wars and apartheid, among other issues. Our reflexive responses tended to be generally favorable to young adults expressing themselves.

So, as a matter of principle, I support the pro-Palestine demonstrations. I support the pro-Israel demonstrations, too, though the former are more numerous and the ones most subject to debate. Since I grew up in the civil rights era, I presuppose a level of civility and peacefulness.

, a columnist at Foreign Policy, notes: “Some politicians have called student protesters a threat. Instead, they are providing us all with an education in democracy.” What he said.

Is there an element of radical chic in the demonstrations, a romanticized flashback to the demonstrations of the past, as Frank S. Robinson opines? Probably, but it does not negate the broader issues.

I’ve noticed, and the Weekly Sift guy concurs: “Press coverage has been all over the map. Some sources essentially repeat the Netanyahu claim that ‘antisemitic mobs have taken over the leading universities’, while others interview demonstrators with more sympathy.”

A running narrative, in some circles, is that some sinister backers must be coordinating the pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Based on my experience, a Boston Globe article describes a more likely scenario.

“In addition to forming a larger community of protesters who help each other, students in the encampments are also getting aid, both legal and material, from outside ideological groups attracted by the focus on this new protesting front, the organizations say. And that, in turn, has helped draw external pro-Israel organizations to campuses to counterprotest.”

And then 

Colleges and universities are grappling with their responses. Should they call the police, and if so, at what point? There were 133 people arrested at my alma mater, SUNY New Paltz on May 3, including a reporter from Spectrum News and a student I know personally. The campus has a tradition of activism.

Jay Bernhardt, the newly installed president at Emerson College, got an earful about the arrest of more than 100 protesters at the Massachusetts campus. He commented to the Boston Globe, “I realize now that I must take more time to actively listen and learn, find more ways to connect personally with students, faculty, and staff, and help create space for multiple voices.”

Conversely, The Daily Signal asks Can the Current Universities Be Saved? Should They Be? 


Most people who have attended more than a few events recognize that not everyone attending a rally or demonstration will agree on rhetoric or strategy. I need to create a big caveat.

On Medium, Mo Husseni wrote something he had previously posted on Threads, which I’m not on. It’s called 50 Completely True Things.

They are things that some people might say, “Well, duh!” Including himself. He is “a Palestinian American who is tired of stupid people. I wanted to share a (not exhaustive) list of 50 useful and indisputable facts on the Palestinian / Israeli conflict.”.He is particularly fond of the S-word and the F-word.  

“Not all Arabs are Muslim.” “Not all Palestinians are Hamas.” “Not all Israelis like the Israeli government;” I’d add, especially Bibi.

He suggests the history lessons of who controlled the land before, the Ottomans, the British, etc.  are “F***ING IMMATERIAL.” This was particularly interesting to me. Are we going to adhere to 1491 Western Hemisphere maps?

“If you want to be an ally to Palestinians, please feel free to continue to advocate for peace, security, and self-determination, but do it without dehumanizing or stereotyping Israelis and Jews.” It is similarly true for allies of the Israelis regarding Palestinians, Muslims, and Arabs.

Did this even need to be said? Unfortunately, yes. 

So, in review: October 7- BAD. Holding hostages – BAD. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of them children, killed in Gaza – BAD. A land on the brink of famine – BAD.

US foreign policy toward Israel – a continual array of mixed messaging. The Daily Show created a video of DOD’s John Kirby – you will recognize the face if you watch the Sunday morning news shows – saying repeatedly since November 2023 that Israel has a right to exist but that Israel should “do more” to minimize civilian casualties. 


Here’s a news flash. Red State and the New York Post liked the Saturday Night cold open. RS called it “Truly Funny As Skit Mocks Columbia University Parents Whose Kids Are Busy Protesting.” And they almost always hate SNL. Of course, they characterize the demonstrators as “pro-Hamas” because that’s what they do. 

Wow, this feels a bit like 1968. We have a Democratic President with less than robust support. Instead of Americans fighting a war in Vietnam, we’re supporting proxy wars in Gaza and Ukraine. The Republican Presidential candidate had been in high office before, ran for President before and lost, and is running for President again. The DNC meets in the Windy City. A headline in The Daily Signal just this morning: “Weakness in the Face of Chicago’s Protests Spells Trouble for the Democratic National Convention.”

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial