Thu 25 Apr 2024 9:52 am - Jerusalem Time

America.. Student protests escalate against the Gaza war and new universities are on the line

Student protests in support of the Palestinian cause and demanding a ceasefire on American universities escalated from ocean to ocean, on Wednesday, in an unprecedented precedent, without showing a decline in their momentum in the near future, which puts the re-election campaign of US President Joe Biden in a “position “Difficult” while trying to balance support for Israel on the one hand, and ending the war in the Gaza Strip on the other hand, according to the Washington Post.

The protests extended on Wednesday evening to universities in the American West, such as the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, and the University of Chicago, where there was a silent sit-in, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is considered one of the most important universities in the world, and is no longer limited to universities. New York City

The protests have expanded over the past week, with students holding a sit-in at important universities such as Columbia University, Yale University, and New York University, and the police intervening to arrest more than 108 protesting students at Columbia University, after Nima Shafiq, the university’s president (Al-Masria University), called for Original) New York City Police to break up the sit-in and demonstration.

The student demonstrators issued a set of conditions for ending the sit-in: a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, an end to US military aid to Israel, divestment of universities from arms suppliers and other companies; Cut off academic ties with Israeli universities and institutes, and pardon students and faculty members against whom disciplinary measures have been issued or arrested.

The New York Police stormed New York University last Monday and arrested dozens of students and professors, including Professor Sinan Antun, of Iraqi origin, who went to the demonstration square to protect his students. Antoun said in press interviews that those arrested will appear in court on the first of next month, either to face unspecified charges, or to cancel the charges and arrest orders.

Jerusalem learned from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) office on Wednesday that the ACLU had prepared a group of its lawyers across the United States to defend the students and professors who were arrested, and that they would handle hundreds; Perhaps thousands of cases in different American cities and states.

The pro-Palestinian protests have attracted students and faculty from different social and religious backgrounds, including Jews, Christians, Muslims, and those who do not belong to any religion, such as the groups Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. Not Now", which is a Jewish organization, and many organizations, while politicians, including prominent Republican members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson (Republican from Louisiana), accused the demonstrators of anti-Semitism, and he demanded that the university president, Nima Shafiq, By resigning if you are unable to suppress the demonstrations.

These protests highlight "the political challenges that Biden still faces as a result of his unconditional support for Israel while trying to achieve a delicate balance between condemning anti-Semitism on campuses and supporting the right of students to protest," according to the Washington Post.

The protests come after the killing of more than 34,000 Palestinian citizens in the besieged Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were women and children, in addition to the injury of more than 75,000 citizens, most of whom were also children and women, according to the Ministry of Health in the Strip, and the complete destruction of 80% of Gaza. This has occurred since the attack launched by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7, 2023.

In turn, the White House confirmed, on Wednesday, that President Joe Biden supports freedom of expression in American universities, at a time when protests by university students against the Israeli war in Gaza are escalating.

The ongoing protests at Columbia University in New York have attracted media attention and politicians, while similar demonstrations have taken place across the country.

While students are pressing their universities to abandon any ties with Israel and the Biden administration for a ceasefire, Biden allies and Democratic strategists said the protests were largely confined to elite colleges, and said it was still unclear whether opposition to American support for Israel, especially among young Democrats, the impact will greatly affect Biden's electoral prospects, according to the Washington Post.

But at the same time, senior White House aides are closely monitoring reports on the protests, reflecting their importance to the presidential race, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the newspaper.

The White House and Biden's re-election campaign organizers said they are focused on condemning anti-Semitism and ensuring Jewish students feel safe on campus, while also highlighting anti-Arab discrimination and reaffirming the right to protest and addressing the Palestinian issue.

The Washington Post says, “But despite the public interest in these student demonstrations, Biden’s aides said they do not consider them an escalation of the protests that have erupted since the war began in October, and they believe they were not directed toward the president personally,” while “the Democratic president has for months been facing a split within his party’s progressive base” who is angry that he did not do more to stop Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza.

During the primary elections in the state of Michigan, which includes the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the country, the “non-committal” protest vote attracted more than 100,000 votes, or about 13.4 percent of the votes, according to data reported by the American newspaper The New York Times, in a development that caught the attention of the campaign. Biden.

Michigan is a swing state that Biden won in 2020, after the majority of its voters voted for Trump in 2016.

The "Non-Committed" movement was able to spoil the victory achieved by the Democratic President in the primary elections in the state and in other states to which the campaign also moved, such as Minnesota, which includes a large number of Muslims, members of the Somali community, and liberals dissatisfied with Biden.

In Rhode Island, 14.9 percent of voters chose the “uncommitted” option, which represents about 3,750 votes, and the percentage was 12 percent in Connecticut.

In the crucial swing state of Wisconsin, about 8 percent voted for this option, which represents about 48,000 votes, which is a percentage greater than double Biden’s margin of victory in the state in 2020.

There was greater interest in the "Abandon Biden" campaign in Michigan compared to Wisconsin, due to the large Arab-American population in Michigan, but the campaign organizers worked to ensure that Biden would lose the state of Wisconsin as well, and they believe that the state is crucial to depriving Biden of a second term.

Michigan and Wisconsin are two swing states that could determine whether Biden or Trump will reach the White House next year, according to what experts believe.


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America.. Student protests escalate against the Gaza war and new universities are on the line