May 14, 2024 | The Algemeiner

Some Campus Protesters Despise America as Much as They Do Israel

May 14, 2024 | The Algemeiner

Some Campus Protesters Despise America as Much as They Do Israel

The epicenter of campus protests has recently shifted from occupation of buildings and quads, to the disruption of commencement ceremonies as students prepare to leave campus. This provides an opportunity to assess what has just happened and prepare for what’s next.

As New York police cleared an anti-Israel encampment at New York University on the morning of May 3, officers discovered rudimentary signs proclaiming “Death to Israeli real estate” and “Death to America!”

The latter is an Islamist rallying cry popularized during the 1979 Iranian revolution. In addition to a hatred of Jews and Israel, some of the rhetoric and conduct that emerged from campus protests shares a similar militant antipathy toward the United States.

While the incidents might appear relatively few in number, Americans would be wise to recognize what this potential trend might mean for the Democratic Convention in August and campus life in the fall, and the country more broadly.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) — America’s first public university — anti-Israel protesters replaced the American flag with a Palestinian flag on April 30, amid chants of “There is only one solution! Intifada revolution!”

On April 19, crowds at Yale mocked America and cheered as protesters removed and tried to burn the US flag flying in front of a war memorial honoring Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Protesters at Yale repeated the same chant heard at UNC.

At the University of Michigan, organizers shared pamphlets with students declaring, “Freedom for Palestine means Death to America.” To the antisemitic and anti-American messaging, the pamphleteers added an anarchist element: “Ultimately, our main task as revolutionaries in the United States remains to be the unmaking of the American empire.”

The toxic combination of antisemitic, anti-Israel, and anti-US sentiment at campus protests should sound familiar to Americans.

The parents and grandparents of many campus protesters will remember 9/11. Osama Bin Laden, the Islamist terrorist responsible for orchestrating the most devastating terror attack on the US homeland in its history, called the killing of “Jews and Americans” one of “the most important duties.”

That’s just what Hamas did on October 7. Among the 1,200 killed and 240 abducted on that day were dozens of Americans, some of whom remain hostages. That doesn’t stop campus protesters from supporting Hamas, and championing its goals.

Some campus protesters have even supported the Houthi militia, another Islamist terror group and benefactor of Iran. Protesters at ColumbiaBrown, and UCLA shouted “Yemen, Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around!” referring to Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea — including American vessels. The Houthis chant their mantra, “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory to Islam.”

After the UNC Chancellor and administrators, escorted by police officers, brought a new American flag to replace the Palestinian one, protesters tried pulling that flag down, too. But with a patriotic spirit reminiscent of the New York City firefighters who raised the flag above Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity rushed to lift the Stars and Stripes above the ground, protecting it for hours as anti-Israel protesters pelted the guardians with objects.

The fraternity brothers at UNC have shown us the way. We will need more young Americans willing to do the same.

Antonette Bowman is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


Israel Palestinian Politics