published : 2023-10-14

College Campus Protests Erupt Across US Ahead of Anticipated Israel Operation in Gaza

Demonstrators supported violent resistance and labeled some IDF reports as 'propaganda'

A group of college students holding signs and chanting slogans during a campus protest in support of the Palestinian people. (Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

College campuses have erupted in shows of support with protests on Thursday and Friday for the Palestinian people following the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel last week.

At least 2,800 people have died since Hamas launched thousands of rockets on Israel over the weekend, pushing Israel to declare it was at war with the terrorist group and issue warnings to residents in Gaza ahead of operations in the territory to root out the group.

Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashal labeled Friday a global day of 'rage' and protest, which resulted in protests in Arab nations throughout the region. Mashal stressed that the protests would send a 'message of rage to Zionists and to America.'

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told their infantry forces and tanks entered the Gaza Strip on Friday to conduct localized raids - but not yet begun its much-anticipated ground invasion of the region.

A student wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh and holding an Israeli flag, symbolizing the divided opinions and perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The protests, not limited to campuses in the cases of some New York City colleges such as Baruch College on the city’s Upper East Side, took aim at Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian people over the past decades and Israel’s apparent response.

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Students for Justice in Palestine called for a Day of Resistance on Thursday, advising students to show up wearing masks and face coverings as well as plain clothes.

Nearly a dozen student groups had signed on as co-sponsors for the protest. Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst turned out to support justice in Palestine on Thursday, calling for students to meet outside the college's student union to stand in solidarity with Palestinians 'breaking out of their open-air prison.'

Portland State University students had planned a protest but called it off until further notice due to 'safety concerns' and distanced themselves from a protest that was occurring at Portland City Hall, stressing it was 'not affiliated' with them.

A peaceful demonstration at Columbia University, with students displaying both Israeli and Palestinian flags, highlighting the complex nature of the issue. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

Hundreds of students turned out on Thursday on Columbia University's main campus, many draped in or carrying Israeli flags or adorned with the Palestinian keffiyeh (headscarf) in support of each side.

At Baruch's event, protesters were arrested, including pro-Israel counter-protesters who showed up at the event. Signs held by protesters include questions about the viral claim that the Israel Defense Force (IDF) found beheaded infants among the dead on a kibbutz in southern Israel and whether 'killing kids' is 'self-defense.'

Jewish students at the colleges called the protests 'unjust' for the fact that they supported 'a terrorist organization.'