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Jewish students refute claims of anti-Semitism at pro-Palestine protests

April 25, 2024 at 10:37 am

University students protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza as they set up an encampment on the grounds of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States on April 24, 2024 [Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency]

Jewish students have refuted allegations levelled by pro-Israel members of US Congress and university officials that protests calling for their institutions to cut ties with companies linked to Israel over the war in Gaza were “anti-Semitic”.

New York State, its municipality and members of the US Congress claimed in recent statements that the pro-Palestine protesters at Columbia University campus in New York “demonstrated anti-Semitic behaviour”.

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia and other US universities “anti-Semitic mobs” that are taking over “leading universities”.

While US House Speaker Mike Johnson visited Columbia University and called those protesting “anti-Semitic … lawless agitators”.

Is anti-war student activism being quashed on campus? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is anti-war student activism being quashed on campus? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Some 26 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on him to “restore order at universities that have been effectively closed by anti-Semitic gangs targeting Jewish students.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams also said in a statement that he was “horrified and disgusted by the anti-Semitism” demonstrated at Columbia University protests.

However, Jewish students participating in the protests, which have been largely organised by pro-Palestine Jewish groups, categorically refuted the anti-Semitism allegations.

Jewish students wore t-shirts reading, “We are Jews who say stop shooting” in Gaza and even held Jewish Passover rituals to affirm their identity as Jews who oppose Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians.

In Bell University, hundreds of students gathered in the university’s main square and sat around a drawn paper symbolising the traditional “Seder banquet.”

Students raised banners reading “Empty Seder Plates, Stop Starving Gaza” and “Another Jew for a Free Palestine”.

READ: Israel’s Netanyahu says ‘more has to be done’ to stop pro-Palestinian protests on US campuses