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Cornell pro-Palestinian activists hold kangaroo court ‘trial’ of school president

ANALYSIS: Pollack deemed guilty of genocide, apartheid

In a scenario reminiscent of “The Dark Knight Rises,” pro-Palestinian activists at Cornell University occupied a campus building for approximately 48 hours this past weekend and held a mock trial of President Martha Pollack for her alleged pro-Israel “crimes.”

Organized by the Cornell Coalition for Mutual Liberation (which describes itself as a “coalition representing many diasporic and marginalized populations at Cornell”), The Cornell Daily Sun reports trial “prosecutors” accused Pollack of “complicity in ‘genocide against Palestinian civilians.'”

A “prosecutor” stood by a cardboard cutout of Pollack and read the definition of “genocide” followed by alleged instances of war crimes committed by Israel since Hamas’ attack on that country two months ago.

Among chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” the court deemed Israel culpable of genocide and apartheid.

It then “charged” Cornell with abetting these actions via its investments in various companies that do business with Israel, specifically complicity in “genocide,” “forcible deportation and apartheid of Palestinians,” and the “targeting of [Palestinian] civilians and intentional deprivation of objects necessary for survival.”

Court attendees chanted “Cornell is complicit in genocide,” “Martha is complicit in genocide” and repeated “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Pollack then was personally deemed “guilty” of genocide and apartheid.

Following the “trial,” activists met with Vice President of Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi and demanded Cornell adopt the definition of “antisemitism” used in the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. This definition was created three years ago by “scholars of antisemitism and related fields” but, according to the report, it “has been met with mixed receptions across academia.”

The “internationally recognized” definition (including by the U.S. State Department) is that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

A sticking point between both versions is whether criticism of Zionism qualifies as “antisemitic.” One Cornell activist said the university needs to “formally recognize” the difference between the two terms.

A criticism of the JDA is that Zionism is singled out as a uniquely illegitimate form of nationalism.

Given this debate, Lombardi “was reluctant” to cede any ground to the activists. “The institution is not typically in the practice of adopting outside definitions that aren’t ours, and I am trying to stay out of that. But that’s something that would require an additional discussion,” he said.

MORE: Cornell prof calls Hamas attacks ‘exhilarating,’ Stanford prof segregates Jewish students

IMAGES: Crystal Bermudez/X; JokDon/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.