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Rutgers administration buckles to anti-Israel activists’ demands

Among other things: ‘Displaced Gazans’ can study on campus; creation of ‘Arab Cultural Center’ by fall

After an “anticipated escalation” of anti-Israel protest activity resulted in the postponement of final exams on Thursday, Rutgers University administrators ended up caving to all but a pair of the activists’ demands.

According to The Daily Targum, the escalation appeared to be a call by the campus’s Students for Justice in Palestine for an early-morning “emergency protest.”

The announcement “provided an email template for students” to ask their professors to cancel final exams “in solidarity with students in Gaza” and Rutgers students “who cannot feel a sense of normalcy in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.”

In a campus-wide email, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway gave activists a deadline of 4pm to clear their encampment, else law enforcement would begin the process of dismantling it.

But independent New York/New Jersey journalist Spyder Monkey notes on X that Holloway ended up conceding to eight of the activists’ 10 demands. These include:

— Rutgers accepting “at least 10 displaced Gazans” to complete their studies at the university.

— Plans to create an “Arab Cultural Center” by the fall semester at every Rutgers campus.

— Creation of a “memorandum of understanding” and “long-term educational partnership” with the West Bank’s Birzeit University.

— Use of “Palestine” and “Palestinians” instead of  “Middle East” or “Gaza region” in all official university communications regarding “Israeli aggressions in Palestine.”

— Training for university staff and the hiring of experts in “anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.”

— Display of flags on campus of “Palestinian, Kurdish, Kashmiri and other disputed territories.”

— “Full amnesty to all faculty, staff, student organizations and students” who took part in the Rutgers anti-Israel encampment and protests the past week.

MORE: Pro-Palestinian Rutgers students make demands at Hamas-style press conference

Two items not agreed upon — divestment from companies that do business with Israel and ending Rutgers’ partnership with Tel Aviv University and the HELIX Innovation Hub — will be dealt with later with the Rutgers Joint Committee of Investment.

Chancellor Francine Conway noted in an email the agreement “was achieved through constructive dialogue between the protesting students and our leadership teams,” and said Rutgers’ “commitment to [its] students is paramount.”

In a separate message, Holloway (pictured) expressed his thanks to “all those who worked to bring a peaceful end to the protest.”

“We still have a great deal of work ahead and will continue to be tested,” he wrote. “I ask everyone to be civil to one another, to be respectful of one another, and to embrace our shared humanity.”

Ironically, however, the New York Post reports Rutgers disallowed a pro-Jewish group’s Friday barbecue on the same grounds which had been occupied for days by pro-Hamas activists.

Students Supporting Israel’s Kelli Shapiro called the denial an “antisemitic double standard,” while another student wondered why, if Rutgers allowed an anti-Israel encampment for almost four days, “how is it we can’t have a two-hour barbecue?”

MORE: Rutgers Students for Justice in Palestine accuses university of ‘racism’ and ‘repression’

IMAGE: Artit Fongfung/Shutterstock.com; Rutgers U.; Students Supporting Israel/Instagram

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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.