Students protested for Palestine before Israel was even founded

by Fabiola Cineas at

Last week, the country watched one of the biggest escalations in campus unrest this year unfold, when dozens of New York City police officers clad in riot gear entered the grounds of Columbia University and, on the orders of university president Minouche Shafik, arrested more than 108 student protesters who had built a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on campus. The students are calling for the school to divest from companies and organizations with ties to Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Though Shafik said at a congressional hearing she had taken the steps to make all students feel safe amid a reported rise in antisemitic rhetoric on campus, students said the administration put them in danger by authorizing a “notoriously violent” police unit to forcibly remove them, and NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell later described the arrested students as “peaceful.”

At schools across the country, including the University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, Boston University, and University of California Berkeley, students and faculty have launched marches, walkouts, and other demonstrations in solidarity with students at Columbia and to bring attention to the 34,000 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks in the months since Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 200 hostage on October 7.