World Insights: Pro-Palestinian protests spread in U.S. universities, urging cessation of military aid to Israel-Xinhua

World Insights: Pro-Palestinian protests spread in U.S. universities, urging cessation of military aid to Israel

Source: Xinhua| 2024-04-25 15:56:30|Editor:

BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have recently erupted on campuses across the United States, calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and cessation of U.S. military aid to Israel.

Despite certain U.S. politicians branding the demonstrators as "anti-Semitic" and the subsequent arrest of hundreds of students, the anti-war protests continue to gain momentum.


The University of Southern California (USC), a renowned private research university located in Los Angeles, has closed its gates amid rising tensions after pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police on Wednesday.

A growing number of protesters, including students and non-students, started a "Gaza Solidarity Occupation" at the university's Alumni Park on Wednesday morning.

Organizers of the protest, the USC Divest from Death Coalition, said in a statement that they "have set up this occupation in solidarity with the people of Gaza, empowered by the actions of our peers at different campuses across the country."

"We stand here to join the nation-wide call by students for their universities to disclose their finances and endowment, to divest from Israeli violence, and to defend Palestinians and those who speak up against Zionism," added the statement.

The USC Divest from Death Coalition said it was made of USC students, staff, faculty, alumni and Los Angeles community members.

USC has come under fire after the university announced last week that it cancelled valedictorian Asna Tabassum's planned speech after pro-Palestinian posts, citing potential campus safety risks.

Meanwhile, all classes at Columbia University went virtual starting on Monday as divisive demonstrations and debates around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict heated up on campus recently.

The university's president Minouche Shafik urged relevant parties to "sit down and talk and argue and find ways to compromise on solutions" and announced that all classes would go virtual.

The students with "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" opposed Israeli military action in Gaza and demanded the university divest from companies that "profit from Israeli apartheid."

According to media reports, students from Yale University, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina also staged encampments in solidarity with their peers at Columbia University.


The universities and local authorities have taken tough measures against the pro-Palestinian protesters, with hundreds of students arrested.

Video from local TV channels showed protesters in USC holding their ground and confronting police officers who tried to clear the encampment of tents.

USC urged students, staff and faculty members in an alert to "continue to avoid the center of campus unless you have a class."

The university warned that there is still significant activity at the center of its main campus due to a demonstration.

"The gates are closed, so anyone coming to campus should be prepared to show an ID at the gates for class or for business," noted the university.

In Texas, police bulldozed into student protesters at the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday. More than 50 people were arrested, said a report from local media outlet Austin American-Statesman.

On Monday, more than 40 students from Yale University, who occupied Beinecke Plaza at the center of campus starting Friday night, were arrested, according to the local police department.

Last week, Shafik, Columbia University's president, sent a letter to the New York Police Department (NYPD), requesting that the police help remove individuals who had occupied the South Lawn of the university's Morningside Heights campus.

The NYPD arrested more than 100 protesters from the campus of the university on the afternoon of April 18.

However, despite pressure and arrests, students occupying Columbia's West Lawn said they are planning to remain until the university meets their demands for divestment from anything related to Israel. The negotiations between the university and student protesters regarding the dismantling of the pro-Palestinian encampment are still underway.

Some politicians have attempted to label the demonstrators as "anti-Semitic," a claim that has been strongly denounced by the protestors.

"Opposing genocidal attacks is right. It's correct, and it's not anti-Semitism. In fact, the people in the ruling class who run all this stuff about the Jewish conspiracy, they're the ones who are anti-Semitic, not these students here (at Columbia University)," said Carl Dix, a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.