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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Police and governments need to end pro-Hamas demonstrations

Police and governments need to end pro-Hamas demonstrations
Authorities need to end pro-Hamas demonstrations

By: Guest Columnist - Kevin Klein

Winnipeg, May 5, 2024 - The anarchy unfolding on several university campuses in the U.S. is both disgusting and disturbing. Outside activists and agitators, many of whom are Hamas supporters, have infiltrated and organized anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the U.S. that are blatant displays of antisemitism and hate. Protesters are harassing Jewish students, engaging in violence and even calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. Jewish students are being subjected to intimidation, harassment and even assault on a daily basis.

The situation has become so radical and dangerous at Columbia University that President Minouche Shafik has cancelled live classes and is instead implementing a remote learning format for the balance of the semester. Students paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for an Ivy League education are forced to attend virtual learning sessions just like they did in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Why? Because Columbia university administrators can no longer assure a safe learning environment for their students. As a result, many lawmakers are calling for the resignation of President Shafik.

This is disgraceful. The initial pro-Hamas mobs at Columbia, Yale, MIT, Berkely, Princeton, Harvard, USC are escalating and spreading to other institutions including in Canada. Anti-Israel protestors have formed encampments with tents and are refusing to disperse. They are issuing demands to university administrators and are clashing with police. Those that are arrested by police often return undeterred to the campus to continue participating in the protest. Unfortunately, some university administrators appear to be taking a soft and submissive approach to handling the chaos. Their responses have been weak and shameful. As a result, organizers are emboldened with more protests popping up at campuses across the U.S. Evidently, being tolerant of hate and antisemitism is only breeding more incidents and anarchy.

As these so-called protests have escalated and spread, questions have been raised about who is funding and organizing them and whether they are being centrally coordinated. What is clear is that the protests have been infiltrated by outside instigators and activists – many of whom are openly endorsing Hamas. Some protestors are even declaring that they ARE Hamas and can be seen burning Israeli flags and chanting “Death to Jews.” Protest organizers are also leveraging their illegal occupation of campuses to demand that universities divest from any association to Israel including program funding and endowments.

We must see this for what it is - thugs and bullies sympathetic to terrorist ideologies staging campus insurrections to extort universities to implement anti-Israeli policies. These blackmail tactics were initially tolerated but it appears that the patience of state governors and law enforcement is wearing thin. Several universities have now asked law enforcement to move in and break up the protests because they have become violent and dangerous.

It is quite concerning to witness groups with extremist ideologies using illegal occupations as a means of leveraging anti-Israeli policies. Equally as disturbing is that some administrators did capitulate to their demands by actively negotiating with these so-called “student groups” – many that have been infiltrated by outside agitators or openly declare pro-Hamas sympathy. And left-wing lawmakers in Congress are vocally supporting this madness. I am stunned by the hypocrisy of the left to preach about human rights and eliminating hate when they themselves support or engage in acts that are blatantly hateful. The contradiction is staggering.

What is just as alarming however is how young students at prestigious universities have been radicalized by a culture of woke extremism at what are supposed to be elite institutions of higher learning. The moral and ideological rot permeating academia at some of these colleges is frightening. If elite institutions are teaching students to hate then our society and that of our allies is veering into some extremely treacherous waters. It appears faculty members and administrators are running amok and indoctrinating students with extreme left-wing ideologies. Evidently, they must be subject to far greater accountability going forward and the curriculum needs to be more carefully scrutinized by both government and the public.

But for now the most immediate concern is the safety of all students on campus. Everyone has the right to protest peacefully but it is unacceptable that any students should face violence, threats, intimidation and harassment due to their religion or nationality. And that is clearly what is happening to Jewish students at many of these universities. All students also have a right to a safe educational environment.

Universities must be able to guarantee the safety of their students and if that means dispersing radical mobs with police presence then so be it. Illegal occupations that incite violence and hate cannot be tolerated. Administrators, especially at Columbia, have been far too lax with their response to these lawless protests. They have lost control and perhaps never intended to have any in the first place. They need to be reminded that taxpayers reserve the right to deny funding to any institution that cannot restore order on their campuses and protect their students. Donors are already thinking twice about supporting universities that allow antisemitism to fester and pro-Hamas activists to threaten students. This has gone well beyond a debate about the right to peacefully protest. This is now about rampant antisemitism that must be stopped.

Antisemitic mobs organized by pro-Hamas activists have no place in our society. It’s time for government and law enforcement to put its foot down and do whatever it takes to restore order on college campuses and guarantee the safety of ALL students.


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