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Three lessons learned from this past week’s campus craziness

To quote Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd from their early SNL skits, it was a wild and crazy week on college campuses.

But what did we learn from the increasingly wild and violent anti-Israel/antisemitic demonstrations? Three things.

1. Contemporary activists aren’t really devoted to the cause. For example, take Columbia PhD student Johannah King-Slutzky, featured in a video this past week demanding the university provide food and drink for students who forcefully took over a campus building.

“I guess it’s ultimately a question of what kind of community and obligation Columbia feels it has to its students,” King-Slutzky (pictured) said. “Do you want students to die of dehydration and starvation, or get severely ill even if they disagree with you?”

She went on to say “This is basic humanitarian aid that we’re asking for — could people please have a glass of water.” The arrogance literally knows no limits.

(As you might have guessed, King-Slutzky’s dissertation is on the “fantasies of limitless energy in the transatlantic Romantic imagination from 1760-1860” and a “prehistory of metabolic rift, Marx’s term for the disruption of energy circuits caused by industrialization under capitalism.”)

Activists at UCLA were quite specific about the “humanitarian” aid they wanted: hot food for lunches (“IMPORTANT!” they wrote) along with vegan and gluten-free offerings. They actually had the cojones to note they did not want coffee, pre-packaged foods, or bagels (ooooh, get it?).

Back at Columbia we also witnessed the Now that you’ve called the cops on us, why won’t you let me go so I can study for my finals??

The following UCLA student, much like Emory professor Caroline Fohlin before him, yells at cops “I’m a student here! I’m an English major!” before pleading with the school not to fail him and his comrades:

If one is truly devoted to a “free Palestine,” you’d be “tough” enough to handle police when they they finally decide to take action. But nope, these fops keel over as limply as last night’s lasagne:

Monday’s Harvard Crimson attempted to portray activists on its campus as brave and noble because they’re “balancing” protests, studying for finals, and dealing with possible disciplinary action.

Student Eshaan Vakil said that while everyone is “extremely committed to [the] political mission,” they’re sort of acting on a “split schedule”:  “We’re all sort of running around, putting tents up, doing events, that sort of thing. Then when night falls, there’s a little circle and we’re all typing away on our keyboards, just trying to study for exams. We’re doing both as best we can.”

MORE: No sympathy: College administrators and professors finally reap what they sow

Violet Barron, a Crimson editor, showed her “bravery” by noting that “even with finals, which are ostensibly higher stakes than the rest of the year, we will still be here, we will still push for divestment.”

Harvard Divinity School sophomore Noa Sepharia seemed a bit more, er, dedicated, saying the campus anti-Israel encampment “100 percent takes priority.” In a TikTok video made Wednesday, Sepharia discussed what’s been happening at the encampment, noting (s)he is reading the “essential” book “The Trinity of Fundamentalism,” a fictional account of someone detained in a “Zionist prison.”

Gasp in awe, too, at the encampment’s “Liberation Garden” — “it continues to grow!” Sepharia says, while noting the garden has brought up topics of conversation like “food security” and the “environmentalist violence of the Zionist occupation.”

@noasepharia22we will not stop we will not rest !♬ original sound – noa sepharia

2. Activists’ grip on reality remains barely existent. In Sepharia’s video, for example, (s)he complains about the “violent, fascist, repression” with which the Columbia University and UCLA anti-Israel camps had to deal (otherwise known as police having enough of their antics).

I wonder if Gazans would react violently and repressively if they saw Sepharia and his/her pals dressed like this going for a stroll though downtown Gaza City:

A bit to the south, an unidentified professor at CUNY held a press conference in which she whined about the “shameful” raid on anti-Israel encampments, and the “excessive, disproportionate, [and] unnecessary police brutality” against the “working class” and “primarily black and brown” protesters.

“It felt like a military invasion,” she added. Indeed — imagine how Israelis felt on October 7.

But perhaps most hilariously, Cornell’s Mukoma Wa Ngugi, a professor in its Literatures in English Department who researches “post-colonial literature and theory” and “women and resistance in African literature,” actually compares law enforcement’s reactions to campus pro-Hamas student demonstrators to dictatorships in Kenya following its independence:

While the Kenyan Universities stood aside while their students were being jailed and assassinated, here in the US, it is more “sophisticated.” It is study and be quiet or we will make you unemployable, mark you with a scarlet letter that says troublemakerantisemite and disturber of peace.  And the students are asking, what peace? …

[W]hen our students call for a ceasefire (a reasonable, non-debatable — or ought to be — request) or call for a boycott (also reasonable, but debatable), when they speak their conscience, what do we do?  We threaten, arrest and suspend; we destroy their futures. The very antithesis to a university education.

Note Wa Ngugi says “very antithesis to a university education” — after claiming calls for a ceasefire following an attack which proportionately killed over 40,000 Americans should be “non-debatable.” Great job, prof. Just great.

3. Antisemitic activists are beyond reproach, but punitive action still must be used against “incorrect” groups. Much like how “restorative justice” practices don’t actually apply to white people, conservatives and other allegedly “privileged” groups in the education realm, in the current situation Palestinians rank higher on the oppression matrix than do Jews. Thus, anti-Israel activists’ actions (at least in their minds) are totally justified while others’ … well, not so much.

For example, Dartmouth has been involved in a months-long investigation against two students who allegedly “racially harassed” members of a Native American organization on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

According to The Dartmouth, the suspects allegedly “made mock war cries and [unspecified] racially charged remarks” which, along with one of the suspects’ (allegedly) imposing stature, made at least one student “feel like [they] were in danger.” Others wanted hate crime charges brought against the pair.

At Duke University, an investigation is underway regarding an “intimidating” and “harassing” “alteration to a Ramadan mural” which apparently is “understood by many in community to explicitly target Muslims and the Islamic faith.” In addition, the Quranic verse “’Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful’ was edited to include the word ‘not’ before ‘Merciful,’” which Duke officials said “can be particularly affronting and impactful to Muslims.”

Pictures of red cows — which allegedly “is connected to ‘calls to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque, the holy Muslim site in Jerusalem,’” also were adhered to the mural.

Thankfully, the school year is almost over. But something tells me the far-left campus radicals aren’t going to let up one bit.

MORE: $83,000+ raised for frat bros who defended Old Glory from pro-Palestinian activists

IMAGE: Danomyte/Shutterstock.com; Ian Miles Cheong/X

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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.