At UMass Amherst, the state’s flagship university, a student is attacked and punched at a public vigil for the 241 hostages held by Hamas. At Harvard, students have also been attacked and intimidated by pro-Palestinian marchers. At Boston University and other campuses in the state, students have torn down posters with the pictures of Hamas kidnap victims.
For years, well-funded Palestinian activists have set up shop across American college campuses to spread misinformation through the Palestinian narrative of victimhood. That narrative has gradually expanded to classifying Israel as a colonialist and apartheid state, which commits genocide. Pro-Palestinian campus organizations regularly enforce these lies by holding events on campus each year that demonize Israel and Judaism. Each year, these groups hold an annual series of university lectures and rallies filled with lies called Apartheid Week. All of this dissembling has led up to this moment, where many college-aged Jews are terrified to identify as Jews and fear for their lives.
This is not hyperbole. Jewish students are now on the front lines of a sophisticated pro-Palestinian media campaign to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people’s historical ties to Israel. And it’s relentless. Across the country, Jewish students have been beaten by mobs of pro-Palestinians; they have been shouted down if they express public support for Israel or Jews; and overnight, they have lost friends who are now questioning their support of Israel. When Jewish students have asked if these pro-Palestinians support the unspeakable Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7 – where 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals were butchered, raped and mutilated and hundreds of others, ranging from infants and toddlers to octogenarians, were kidnapped and stuck in Hamas tunnels in Gaza – there is silence.
There is silence now because these pro-Palestinian organizations on campus are propaganda machines that offer a simple message to students who have grown up supporting a social justice agenda, and who have accepted this propaganda at face value. It is presented with no historical context and with bold lies. They don’t mention the peace agreements Israel entered into with the Palestinians; that the entire Gaza Strip was handed to the Palestinians in 2005; that Hamas, a militant theocracy, took control of the area in 2007, and has created an open-air prison for its 2 million residents. They fail to mention that the billions of dollars Hamas has received in foreign aid have not be used to create infrastructure, such as new housing, roads, schools and subsidies for new businesses. And they don’t mention that hundreds of millions have gone to line the pockets of Hamas leaders who live overseas, and who have directed the rest of the funding to go to building hundreds of miles of underground tunnels to house the Hamas military – even as its impoverished residents endure power outages and suffer high unemployment.
They fail to mention that Hamas embeds its terrorists to use its own citizens as human shields, or that is has built its tunnel system under hospitals, neighborhoods, schools and playgrounds.
None of this fits in the college mantra of pro-Palestinian groups, such as the National Students for Justice in Palestine – which is leading the anti-Israel campaign on campuses, and has barely been held accountable for its lies and intimidation. But this week, Brandeis put an end to that group’s hatred on campus when it announced that the group – which openly supports Hamas terrorism – was banned on campus.
It is time that other Greater Boston campuses follow suit. This is not simply a question of freedom of speech. It is a question of when to hold organizations that support terror accountable for their lies, intimidation and, in some cases, violence. Brandeis has taken an important step in protecting the truth and its students. Other colleges should step and up and do the same. Θ