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GWU vice president voiced concern over COUNTER-protests to pro-Hamas encampment

A George Washington University assistant VP had contacted the Washington DC deputy mayor to note school officials had an “increasing concern of violence” because of counter-protesters at the campus’s pro-Hamas encampment.

In emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by The Hatchet, Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations Renee McPhatter last month pointed out several “provocative” incidents to DC Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah.

A major factor was the defacing of the school’s George Washington statue which pro-Hamas activists had adorned with a Palestinian flag and keffiyeh, among other things.

McPhatter noted a counter-protester had snatched the flag and “attempt[ed] to leave” the encampment, but ultimately was stopped by police.

McPhatter also wrote that “a group of parents and alumni planned to visit the encampment” to restore the statue to its original state (The Hatchet could not confirm this claim), and she worried about an “electronic billboard truck” that traveled around campus displaying pro-Israel messages.

These messages included “Scarring proof of Hamas brutality revealed” and “Jewish students you are not alone.”

Renee McPhatterIn addition, pro-Hamas activists were angered when former IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldier Rudy Rochman visited their encampment. The Hatchet had reported Rochman remained “stone-faced” and hardly reacted to activists’ insults such as “settler, settler go back home” and “I don’t think liberation looks like a f*cking IOF soldier on our campus.”

In the last incident noted by McPhatter (pictured), a counter-protester had gone into the activists’ encampment and yelled “Get off my campus.” As numerous pro-Palestinian activists approached the individual, one yelled out “Don’t engage with Zionists.”

After the pro-Hamas encampment was cleared by police on May 8, DC Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela Smith echoed McPhatter regarding the presence of counter-protesters, and noted such was behind the decision to dismantle the encampment.

Nevertheless, that very morning DC police arrested over pro-Hamas 30 activists with charges including “unlawful entry and assault of a police officer.” In addition, Smith cited reports of “protesters from other schools traveling to GW” and (pro-Hamas) activists preparing “offensive and defensive weapons.”

The weekend before the GWU encampment was closed down, pro-Hamas activists called for university officials to be “executed on guillotines.”

“Bracey, Bracey, we see you! You assault students too. Off to the motherf*cking gallows with you,” shouted one demonstrator, referring to Provost Christopher Bracey. “Guilty! Guillotine! Guillotine! Guillotine!”

MORE: George Washington U. report links antisemitism to ‘extreme right’ conspiracy theories

IMAGES: minusequalsplus/Flickr.com; George Washington University

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