American Universities Are Taking a Page Out of Israel’s Playbook


If the political theater of the American university student movement — which is being aptly named “The Student Intifada” — feels familiar, that’s because it is: not only are previous decades’ noble student protests coming alive from the pages of our history books right before our eyes, but we are also watching American universities take a page out of Israel’s playbook on how to handle dissenting people of conscience that just will not shut up.

Since Oct. 7, social media has exposed the true brutality of Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestine by giving us the first livestreamed genocide.

America has a problem, and it is trying to deal with it the same way that Israel is gaslighting the world about genocide. Since Oct. 7, social media has exposed the true brutality of Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestine by giving us the first livestreamed genocide. Now, as we witness the largest student movement of our generation, social media makes it impossible to ignore the level of violence that universities are willing to exact on their students to maintain the status quo. Much like Western nations championing Nelson Mandela’s legacy after once relegating him to a terrorist, the whitewashing of student movements of yore — like Columbia University proudly co-opting its 1968 history of the NYPD brutally arresting students protesting the Vietnam War — is now a broken facade as today’s young dissenters are led to the slaughter by those same institutions. 

Columbia University's protests during the Vietnam War in 1968. (@_BABACAR/X)
Columbia University’s protests during the Vietnam War in 1968. (@_BABACAR/X)
Columbia University's protests during the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in 2024. (@Car_Bissonnette/X)
Columbia University’s protests during the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in 2024. (@Car_Bissonnette/X)

If UCLA wanted to neutralize resistance, then the events its administration allowed to unfold this week gave its students — and those watching from other schools across the country — a firsthand lesson in injustice. In one of the most violent attacks inflicted upon peaceful protests across U.S. campuses, a pro-Israel mob brought weapons to campus to forcefully attack the peaceful encampment of unarmed students with complete impunity.

Among the countless scenes of the mob violently injuring student protesters, the pro-Israel agitators also played the sound of babies crying outside of the student encampment to mock them…

Among the countless scenes of the mob violently injuring student protesters, the pro-Israel agitators also played the sound of babies crying outside of the student encampment to mock them — mimicking reports of Israeli quadcopters playing the sound of babies crying to lure civilians in Gaza before killing them.

Not only did the LAPD refuse to intervene to protect UCLA students for several hours as the pro-Israel mob physically assaulted, maced, and intimidated them, but photographs captured one of the mob leaders shaking hands with an officer. In one video clip, a student protester attempts to broker an understanding with a mob of dozens of agitators, only for one of the mobsters to mace the protester in the face as he was mid-sentence. The video resembles the type of trigger-happy eagerness to exact violence that we’ve seen from Israeli soldiers on social media for nearly seven months.

The truth stands that student protesters have been more policed in the past week than the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and Proud Boys marches combined.

Yet, despite the pro-Israel mob’s direct and incendiary violence going completely unchecked, the university administration followed it up by inviting the LAPD to campus — not to police the mob, but to further assault the student protesters. Harrowing social media videos revealed the LAPD indiscriminately shooting rubber bullets at unarmed students, shooting one student in the face and mass arresting dozens more. Similarly, Columbia University President Manouche Shafik invited the NYPD to sweep its student encampment, resulting in an army of cops descending upon the university in numbers that far exceeded the protesters and firing a shot on campus amid the excessive force used on the twenty-year-olds. The truth stands that student protesters have been more policed in the past week than the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and Proud Boys marches combined.

Three January 6 insurrectionists wearing shirts that read “MAGA” and “Civil War.” (@JohnPhillips/X)
Three January 6 insurrectionists wearing shirts that read “MAGA” and “Civil War.” (@JohnPhillips/X)
NYPD arresting one of the students at Columbia's encampment. (@@Mostafa_Fathi_S/X)
NYPD arresting one of the students at Columbia’s encampment. (@@Mostafa_Fathi_S/X)

This comes after USC valedictorian Asna Tabassum, a veiled Muslim woman whose academic focus is genocide studies, was denied the honor of delivering the traditional commencement speech. Following backlash, USC made the unprecedented decision to cancel its commencement ceremony altogether, rather than risk her making a political statement on Palestine. While invited commencement speakers for the smaller remote ceremonies supported Asna by rescinding their invitations and boycotting USC, the situation reveals just how deep Israeli interests are indoctrinated into the American education system to the extent that they take priority over the interests of students themselves.

There has even been the time-honored tradition of using the victim card to manufacture a provocation in order to justify indefensible violence.

There has even been the time-honored tradition of using the victim card to manufacture a provocation in order to justify indefensible violence. In the midst of the UCLA mob attack, rumors spread online that the violence was in retaliation for a Jewish girl who was beaten unconscious by pro-Palestine protesters. Social media users analyzed videos and disproved the account, but the misinformation spread in such a way to resemble the same strategy of muddying the waters that the Israeli government has repeatedly used to somehow make genocide seem justifiable. We’ve witnessed this happen from the false story of Hamas beheading 40 babies, to Hamas building tunnels under Gaza’s hospitals, and beyond — all to beat the war drums for senseless violence in the moment and then quietly backtrack later.

If all of this was not enough, then the media narrative has provided the most direct parallels to Israel’s playbook that anyone could ask for, so similar that if political statements were college essays then they would assuredly get flagged for plagiarism. New York City Mayor Eric Adams referred to the student protesters as “being influenced by those who are professionals at radicalizing our children.” Sen. Tom Cotton described the encampments as “’Little Gazas’ [that] are disgusting cesspools of antisemitic hate full of pro-Hamas sympathizers, fanatics, and freaks.” Even the Israeli government chimed in, with Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan claiming that “Hamas was hiding” in “Harvard, Columbia, and other elite universities,” a terrifyingly satirical claim that has been used by Israeli officials each time they justified bombing a university in Gaza.

Student movements have often been the heartbeat of morality throughout American history, cutting through the noise of propaganda and politics to boldly proclaim the future that our young people demand and that old world that we refuse to inherit.

Student movements have often been the heartbeat of morality throughout American history, cutting through the noise of propaganda and politics to boldly proclaim the future that our young people demand and that old world that we refuse to inherit. The horrific university and government response to our generation’s greatest moral issue has only more deeply aligned the new generation with the Palestinians’ struggle for human rights and self-determination. Unfortunately for President Biden, who has obstinately put the interests of a foreign government above that of his own citizens, he has made it clear to young people, students, and the future of our democracy that he won’t have our back, either. We will remember that when November rolls around, and so will the history books.






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