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UCLA professor claims not allowing food, water into pro-Gaza encampment is ‘torture’

But students are free to leave at any time to get drinks, grub

As UCLA spent the end of the week dealing with a second pro-Hamas encampment, one of its anthropology professors complained that not allowing food and water inside it was tantamount to “torture.”

The Daily Bruin reports anti-Israel activists held a brief sit-in protest at the campus’s Dodd Hall on Thursday, after an earlier “police-led sweep” of the second encampment.

UCLA officials said in a midday statement there was “reasonable cause to find that demonstrators’ activities – including erecting barricades, establishing fortifications and blocking access to parts of the campus and buildings – [were] disrupting campus operations.”

All those present at the encampment vacated when ordered by the police, but not before Professor Hannah Appel (pictured) accused the university of employing “torture” tactics against the student activists.

In a video posted by Steve McGuire on X, Appel is seen on her phone noting the encampment had been declared an “unlawful assembly.”

Then she exclaims “But here’s the thing: Even if this is unlawful which, of course, I don’t think it is […] you cannot deny people to send in water in an effort to get them to do something against their will.”

Appel goes on to note that “they” (presumably school officials and law enforcement) have noted that the activists are free to leave at any time, but adds “but you cannot use a mechanism of torture” to force people to do something they don’t want to.

MORE: UCLA riot police clash with pro-Palestinian protesters; hundreds arrested

The economic anthropologist follows up by accusing UCLA of “legal” and “human rights violations.”

In another video in which Appel freely identifies herself, she complains about her and other sympathetic faculty not being able to bring food and water to the encampment demonstrators.

In response to the interviewer telling her that he had been “forcibly removed” from the first pro-Hamas encampment, Appel turns around and says nothing. She continues to ignore the interviewer when he asks if there is a “double standard” going on, “especially since these people can walk out any time and get food.”

Appel, a member of the Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UCLA, told the Daily Bruin she “expects an ‘escalation’ and a ‘deepening of the movement next week’” which may include the withholding of students’ grades and “canceling [of] discussion sections.”

“When the university sees that folks are withholding grades, they get scared,” Appel said. “They’re scared because we’re flexing our collective power, and optimally, that fear drives them to the bargaining table, and then we win.”

According to her faculty page, Appel researches “transnational capitalism and finance,” “the economic imagination,” and “anti-capitalist and abolitionist social movements.” She’s also a co-founder of the Debt Collective which claims “With a flick of a pen, President Biden could cancel ALL student debt.”

MORE: UCLA becomes hotbed of anti-Israel hate

IMAGE: Cam Higby/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.