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The Return of “Mostly Peaceful”

Police arrest more than 100 pro-Palestinian students at NYU
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By: Becket Adams – nationalreview.com

The American news media are here once again to tell you that you aren’t hearing what you’re hearing and seeing what you’re seeing.

Sure, you may see a bunch of pro-Hamas activists on American campuses, wearing keffiyehs and frothing at the mouth for a “worldwide intifada.” And, sure, the demonstrations enjoy endorsements from Hamas and the Supreme Leader of Iran.

But rest assured that these crypto-pogroms are “largely” or “mostly peaceful,” according to our vaunted Fourth Estate.

At the Washington Post, campus rallies in which activists daydream aloud about the extermination of Israel are characterized merely as “antiwar demonstrations.”

“At Columbia, the Protests Continued, With Dancing and Pizza,” read the headline of an April 19 New York Times article.

“At a moment when some campuses are aflame with student activism over the Palestinian cause — the kind that has disrupted award ceremonies, student dinners and classes — college administrators are dealing with the questions that Columbia considered this week: Will more stringent tactics quell protests? Or fuel them?” the Times asked.

The report goes on to cite “academic freedom experts” — that’s a fun business card — who believe it sets a dangerous precedent for Columbia University administrators to break up a pro-Hamas encampment that cropped up this month on campus and send the trespassing students packing. Not in a million years would the Times or its “experts” question the wisdom of Columbia or Harvard in deciding to forcibly remove, say, a pro–Ku Klux Klan rally, one replete with slogans cheering for the murder of Jews, Catholics, and blacks, from university grounds. Yet we are asked to consider seriously the notion that it might set a dangerous precedent for academic freedom for campus administrators to ask for the police to remove students cosplaying as Hamas terrorists.

Ah! No more Death-to-the-Jews rallies! Can academic freedom survive this?

At CNN, New York Times reporter Lulu Garcia-Navarro balked when conservative author Jonah Goldberg accused the Columbia demonstrators of being pro-terrorist.

 “Columbia chose to bring police to clear the encampment — that inflamed the situation to where you’re now seeing these protests spread to Yale, to New York University, and beyond,” Garcia-Navarro said, interrupting Goldberg. “Many people have said that the action of bringing police into a group of people who are already feeling that they are sort of representative of the oppressed — who are inspired by what happened with George Floyd in 2020 and seeing what is happening in Gaza, that that has really only acted as a catalyst here.”

At CBS News, morning-show host Gayle King bemoaned that some “apparently antisemitic incidents” have overshadowed “peaceful protests.”

Speaking of which, there is no shortage of media coverage referring to the campus protests as “largely peaceful” or “mostly peaceful.”

And speaking of “largely” and “mostly,” largely absent from the coverage are mentions of the demonstrators’ threatening and antisemitic rhetoric and behavior: calls for the slaughter of Jews (“Oh Hamas, oh loved one, strike strike Tel Aviv!”), the destruction of Israel (“From the river to the sea, Palestine is Arab,” which is an actual call for genocide), and “Death to America.” The coverage insisting upon the peacefulness of the anti-Israel activists has far outweighed the coverage of the Jewish faculty member who was blocked from entering the campus or of students forced to avoid campus out of fears for their safety. Absent from the coverage is a serious, somber accounting of the events — the ever-present threat of physical violence — that prompted Columbia administrators to move the university to mostly hybrid classes on its main campus until the end of the semester.

It’s as if we’re simply supposed to ignore that last weekend, near Columbia University, an anti-Israel protester screamed at pro-Israel demonstrators to “Go back to Poland!” and “Go back to Belarus!” Or that on April 19, just outside of Columbia, an anti-Israel demonstrator promised more slaughters in the style of October 7.

“Never forget the 7th of October,” the protester screamed. “That will happen not one more time, not five more times, not 10, not 100, not 1,000, but 10,000 times! The 7th of October is going to be every day for you!”

On April 20, protesters at Columbia held signs that included messages such as “Fight for worldwide Intifada.” Student demonstrators nationwide have also been heard chanting, “Globalize the intifada,” “There is only one solution: intifada revolution,” “Burn Tel Aviv to the ground,” “Go Hamas, we love you, we support your rockets, too,” “Say it loud, say it clear; we don’t want no Zionists here,” and “Free our prisoners, free them all; Zionism will fall.”

One of the enrolled student leaders behind the Columbia encampment, Khymani James, posted a video to social media recently, arguing that “Zionists don’t deserve to live comfortably, let alone Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

“Be glad — be grateful — that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists,” said James. “I’ve never murdered anyone in my life, and I hope to keep it that way. . . . I feel very comfortable, very comfortable, calling for those people to die.”

An April 24 New York Times article quoted James by name, referring to him simply as a “student protest leader,” to note that he had claimed victory after Columbia backed off its plan to have law enforcement break up the campus’s pro-Hamas shantytown. The Times article makes no mention of James’s fantasies of murdering Jews, er, Zionists.

The same day as the publication of that Times article, outside of Columbia’s gate, an anti-Israel demonstrator shouted, “We don’t want no two states; we want all of it.”

Remember, these are “antiwar demonstrations,” according to the Washington Post.

In late October, at George Washington University, students used a projector to cover the wall of a campus building with the message “GLORY TO OUR MARTYRS,” a reference to the terrorists who died on October 7. The general tone and tenor of these demonstrations have been precisely in this vein since the attack. If anything, it has only worsened. Last week, at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), violent clashes broke out between pro-Hamas activists and police.

The blatant antisemitism has gotten so bad, in fact, that even anti-Israel Democratic Representative Cori Bush felt compelled to posit a convoluted theory involving outside saboteurs.

“As a Ferguson activist,” she said, “I know what it’s like to have agitators infiltrate our movement, manipulate the press, [and] fuel the suppression of dissent by public officials [and] law enforcement. We must reject these tactics to silence anti-war activists demanding divestment from genocide.”

Saboteurs? Perhaps. Perhaps the antisemitism and threats to Jewish students are acts of sabotage meant to discredit the “anti-war” demonstrators. Or perhaps the best explanation for what we’re seeing and hearing now on major U.S. campuses is the simplest one: The antisemitism is the point.

You can see it. I can see it. The only people who don’t seem to see it are the same people who told you the anti-police riots of 2020, which caused an estimated $1 billion-plus in damages, were “fiery but mostly peaceful.”

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Source: Campus Antisemitism: The Return of ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Protests | National Review