University campuses across the country violent rhetoric and student support of vicious attacks against Israel by Hamas this week without the fear of consequences, one media expert told The Lion.
“These campus radicals have been coddled, so much, for so long, that they’re now comfortable enough supporting violence, without any fear of reprisal. And that speaks to how truly awful the state of discourse on college campuses is,” Adam Guillette, president of Accuracy in Media (AIM), said in an interview.
On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack that sent thousands of armed militants rampaging through rural areas of Israel, indiscriminately killing families, including the elderly and children, according to CNN.
On Wednesday, President Biden even spoke of seeing images of “terrorists beheading children.”
Yet some campus groups released statements this week which seem to justify the Hamas attacks on innocent Israeli civilians, drawing widespread criticism and outrage.
For instance, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee put out a statement, originally signed by 33 other Harvard student organizations, calling Israel an “apartheid” regime, and saying the responsibility for the violence against its citizens lies solely with Israel, according to a copy of the letter published by the Harvard Crimson.
AIM responded with a campaign to put pressure on the Harvard Board of Overseers to hold the students accountable.
AIM is calling on Harvard to expel the students and kick their organizations off campus immediately, noting that their statements in support of violence are “a stain on the reputation of Harvard.”
“Any student supporting violence should be immediately expelled from their university,” Guillette told The Lion, “and the information that they support violence should be publicized far and wide, so that family, friends and future employers know the kind of person they are.”
The pressure seems to be working, as some of the student groups at Harvard recanted their support, and other groups and faculty signed a “counter statement,” the New York Post reported.
But it’s not only at Harvard that student groups have openly advocated violence against Israel on campus.
The Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine group published a letter applauding the attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians.
“Since Friday, Palestinians have been launching a historic attack on the colonizers,” Tufts SJP wrote in a letter, according to the Boston Herald. “Footage of liberation fighters from Gaza paragliding into occupied territory has especially shown the creativity necessary to take back stolen land.”
The language was remarkably similar to that used by a pro-Hamas group, Bears for Palestine, at the University of California, Berkley.
“We recognize the apartheid regime upheld within the colonial occupation of Palestinian indigenous land as a continuous ethnic cleansing,” said the Bears group. “We invariably reject Israel’s framing as a victim. Whereas to demonize and condemn indigenous resistance is to overshadow the decades of oppression, ethnic cleansing, and destruction of the Palestinian people.”
The letter was signed by 83 campus groups across the country, including the Georgetown University Arab Society, the National Lawyers Guild at UVA Law, Students for Socialism, Young Democratic Socialists of America at UC Berkeley, and 20 chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Previously, Guillette and AIM.org have run publicity campaigns at UC Berkeley, identifying campus radicals who vocally support violence against Israel.
Guillette said AIM will begin a two-week mobile billboard campaign at Harvard this week to publicize the names and pictures of the student leaders responsible for the outrageous statements in support of Hamas.
“We have geo targeted ads that we’re doing at other campuses to educate the rest of the community about who they’re dealing with. And then I’ll be on the Harvard campus tomorrow actually interviewing the students and talking to them about this issue,” said Guillette.