#1627 Campus Protests and the Crackdown: Civil resistance against Israeli genocide in Gaza, responses from university presidents to Biden (Transcript)

Air Date 5/7/2024

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JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:00:00] Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast. Right upfront, I need to say that we are trying something different today. You may or may not have noticed that the show is notably longer than usual, but if it seems too long, there is no need to panic the first hour or so will be exactly the Best of the Left you already know and love. If this show were a newspaper, that first section would be like the front page. The experiment today is to give you more than just the front page and include deep dive sections as well. How and how much of the show you want to listen to is completely up to you. You'll see that the show notes break down the additional sections by topic with timestamps. So, if you like, you can go directly to a section you want to focus on. 

I'll have more to say about all of this in my comments later, which will be just after the front page section, rather than at the very end of the show where it usually is, but, you know, we're [00:01:00] experimenting. Until then I'll just say that the show today discusses the civil resistance on campuses across the country against Israeli genocide in Gaza, calling for ceasefire and divestment. Also, the response from university administrations on up to the Biden administration and all of the issues in between driving the conflict. Sources on our front page today include Today In Focus, AJ+, Harvard Kennedy School, The Brian Lehrer Show, Double Down News, and Chapo Trap House.

The US college protests and the crackdown on campuses Part 1 - Today in Focus - Air Date 4-25-24

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: Erum, what are these protests actually about? 

ERUM SALAM: These protests—specifically at Columbia and universities in surrounding areas like Yale and Princeton and others—they are about calling for a ceasefire, first and foremost, in Gaza. But more importantly, they're calling for their own universities to divest from their ties to Israel and the occupation in Palestine. 

STUDENT PROTESTER 1: And today we're calling for Columbia to divest its endowment from the [00:02:00] companies that it currently funds that are complicit, active, complicit agents in the apartheid and colonization of Palestine. 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: So what kinds of ties are we talking about?

What kind of ties does university like Columbia have with the state of Israel? 

ERUM SALAM: So that's actually a great question, and that's something students are fighting to get an answer for because there's not a lot of transparency about the financial investments Columbia has in general. But Yale, for example, they happen to know specifically that their university invests in billions in Lockheed Martin, a weapons manufacturing company that supplies Israel with fighter jets.

So those students there are protesting that specific investment. 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: Okay, so those students, after months of calling for divestment from Israel set up tents last Wednesday on the main lawn of the Columbia campus. So far, nothing really unusual about this story, but then the Columbia President Minouche Shafik [00:03:00] makes a decision that causes this whole thing to explode.

What happens? 

ERUM SALAM: Right, so Minouche Shafiq took a very drastic measure— and that's not even my own words, these are the words of faculty members I've spoken with—to allow NYPD onto campus. So, New York police storm the campus and arrests the NYPD. Many of these protesters and these students are also suspended.

One professor I spoke with called it an overreaction. There was also a faculty led walkout in support of the students. And the faculty who joined this walkout, they actually, many of them, vehemently disagree with the Position of the protesters, but to have NYPD on campus was such a significant move that, even people of differing perspectives stood in support of each other and in support of the students who they believe have the right to peacefully protest and attend classes 

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP 1: We demand the following: [00:04:00] an immediate apology and amnesty for all students who have been suspended and clearing of their disciplinary record.

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: What were they actually arrested for? What crime have they committed? 

ERUM SALAM: It's not clear. I've spoken with protesters one of whom was actually arrested and she wasn't made aware of what exactly she was doing wrong because, she was telling me that she was peacefully protesting. In fact, they were sitting in a circle in the encampment on the lawn singing.

STUDENT PROTESTER 1: And this happened in the middle of the afternoon. So over a thousand students poured out of classes, witnessed this mass arrest happening to their fellow students who were simply sitting and chanting and singing. Faculty and staff witnessed it as well, and I think it was a really galvanizing moment for the student movement on this campus, which has already been extremely active.

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: There were more than a hundred students arrested on that Thursday. They've all since been released without charge, but for those of us who aren't familiar with American universities, how unusual [00:05:00] is it to have the NYPD enter campus, handcuff students, lead them away? How big a deal is that? 

ERUM SALAM: It's a pretty dramatic scene.

I mean, kids are getting arrested. Students are, zip tied—or handcuffed, what have you —by this police force and Bassam Khawaja, who's a lecturer at Columbia Law School, he specifically spoke to how these students were suspended without any kind of due process and the fact that these students were evicted from their dorm rooms with hardly any notice.

Bassam Khawaja: And so it really just collective outrage at the way that the students are essentially protesting this. 

ERUM SALAM: I also spoke with another professor, Helen Benedict, who teaches at the Journalism School, and she told me that some of her colleagues were taking in some of these evicted students who were protesting.

So, it was a really dramatic scene, and, as we can see, it's caught international attention. 

Behind Columbia University’s months of tension | The Take - Al Jazeera English - Air Date 4-24-24

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: On a snowy Friday in [00:06:00] January around 100 students gathered at Columbia University in New York. They'd been meeting regularly since October to protest Israel's war on Gaza. 

STUDENT PROTESTER 1: The revolution has begun! 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: But this time, as the protesters walked up the steps of the university's main library, something happened. Students say they were sprayed with a chemical—somethng that smelled terrible—which they say would later make their eyes and skin burn. 

LAYLA - STUDENT, POMONA U.: It smelled like raw sewage. When I was there, I was like, "Oh my gosh, it smells like somebody was dying." It was horrible. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: It was reminiscent of something called "skunk," which has been used by Israeli military forces on Palestinians.

College campuses have become a flashpoint in US debates over policy towards Israel and Palestine ever since the start of the war. College administrations have been suspending pro [00:07:00] Palestinian student groups across the country. 

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP 1: Columbia University is suspending two student groups that are vocal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP 2: At least 18 students at Pomona College now facing suspension after participating in a pro Palestinian protest on campus. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: But the allegation that a chemical spray was used on student protesters is something new. It's also something Asya Ahmed, a senior producer for AJ+ investigated for a recent documentary.

Pro Palestinian students told Asya they believe two students infiltrated their protests to commit the alleged attack. And the documentary was able to identify the two as former members of the Israeli military. 

ASIYA AHMED: It's one thing for there to be disciplinary hearings or banning student groups, and it's another thing for students to be suffering an alleged chemical attack on a US [00:08:00] university campus. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Asya spoke to several students affected by the alleged attack, including one Palestinian American student named Layla, who you heard from earlier. 

LAYLA - STUDENT, POMONA U.: Like, right after I attended the protest, I felt so sick. I kept on throwing up. I had a headache— I had a headache that would not go away.

My eyes were burning. I was just like, "This is not normal. Something is wrong here."

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Layla was one of at least 10 students who sought medical attention over their symptoms in the days after the alleged attack. 

LAYLA - STUDENT, POMONA U.: This is a note that I got from the doctor. So the diagnosis I got was "exposure to potentially hazardous chemical," and the symptoms I was experiencing include nausea, fatigue, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite.

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Columbia's administration denied a request from AJ+ for an interview about what measures they're taking to ensure students' safety on campus. But some students say the incident fits into a broader culture of [00:09:00] repression of pro Palestinian sentiment.

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: Columbia University has become a partner in this oppression and ongoing genocide. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: That's Mohsen Mahdawi, a student at Columbia, and the co president of the university's Palestinian Students Union. 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: Columbia has systematically discriminated against us, and prevented us in many different ways from raising our voices and from protesting this genocide that is unfolding.

I mean, they have shut our events down. They have sanctioned our students. They have allowed attacks by professors and by students against our movements without holding anybody accountable. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: [00:10:00] In the early days of the war, a speech from someone named Shai Davidai went viral. He's an assistant professor at Columbia's business school, and he labeled groups like Mohsen's "pro terror student organizations."

SHAI DAVIDAI: And I want you to know we cannot protect your children from pro terror student organizations because the president of Columbia University will not speak out. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: The official Axe account for the State of Israel tweeted out the video. Their tweet alone received more than 5 million views. Davidai has also separately called on the university's donors to withhold their funding unless the school condemns the pro Palestinian protests.

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: The climate is hostile. The climate is unsafe. The climate is in a violation of the principle of free speech that universities [00:11:00] usually take pride of. We have seen what is called the "Palestinian exception" where you're allowed to protest any other issue, but—when it comes to Palestine—there is an exception that you should not and you're not allowed to protest.

And if you do protest, they will hit with an iron fist, which we are seeing unfolding right now at Columbia campus. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Mohsen is not one of the students who says he was chemically sprayed on January 19th, but he still had a scary experience that day. 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: A counter protester, knew who I am, called me by name, and he walked directly towards me.

He issued a death threat, and he told me, "Mohsen Mahdawi, I will take your life. I will kill you." And I looked at him and I said, "What's triggering you? [00:12:00] What are you scared of?" And then he physically moved even further to, basically, wave his arm in front of me, and he called me a Nazi in front of Public Safety.

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: That's what Columbia calls its on campus security presence. 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: They allowed the perpetrator to get away without citing him, without taking his ID, and without holding him accountable while they saw the whole scene.

It was a shock because we come to Columbia University in order to enter the sphere of debate and conveying our feelings and thoughts in a respectful manner. Everything we were doing, it was a peaceful means and protest. And now, at Columbia University—at the place where I was supposed to feel most safe and protected to protest, [00:13:00] to share my thoughts, to share my pain and the grief—I was threatened to be killed just for protesting and sharing my voice. 

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Mohsen grew up in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, and what he experienced on January 19th was all too familiar. 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: It really brought up old feelings. I have faced, as a child, death threats before that are actual—where I was shot at—and I thought it is an irony that I made it all the way from a refugee camp, and I might lose my life in a place that is supposed to be safe.

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: That assurance of safety was something he was specifically looking for when he came to the US.[00:14:00] 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: Life in the refugee camp was tense and painful and difficult. The most painful part of it was living under the Israeli occupation. For me, as a child, to witness beloved ones being killed on the hands of Israeli soldiers. When I was 11 years old, I lost my uncle. When I was 12 years old, I lost my best friend.

I witnessed an explosion that killed 7 people and shattered them into pieces. And when I was 15 years old, I was shot in my leg. And this is the life that I lived through and what my family went through, a life of loss and grieving loved ones.

MALIKA BILAL - HOST, THE TAKE: Mohsen has only suffered more personal [00:15:00] loss in Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza. 

MOHSEN MAHDAWI: Since October 7th, I have lost more than 20 members. We cannot really count at this point. Of my extended family in Gaza, I lost two cousins—Hikmat and Mahamad—in the refugee camp. One is 17 years old and the other is 24.

Hikmat—he [stuck] his head out of an alley when the occupation forces were coming to camp and directly he was shot in his head when Mahamad—his older brother—learned that his brother was shot and on the ground. He went to basically bolt him, to drag him back to the alley and the moment he arrived [with] his body, he was shot directly in the head. He [00:16:00] was killed on the spot over his brother. It's a painful reality of Palestinians. Almost every Palestinian family has experienced this loss at this point with the level of murder that the Israelis are committing. 

Why Civil Resistance Works - Harvard Kennedy School - Air Date 9-8-21

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: We are living in an age of mass political participation. Two thirds of eligible U. S. voters cast a ballot in the 2020 election. As much as 10 percent of the U. S. population participated in demonstrations over the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans during the summer of 2020.

In 2018, nearly 500, 000 workers were involved in strikes and other work stoppages, the highest figure since 1986. Beyond the U. S., mass movements in Sudan and Algeria even overthrew long standing dictators in recent [00:17:00] years. And secured access to reproductive health care in both Argentina and Ireland. Since the early two thousands, Erica Chenoweth, Frank Stanton, professor of the first amendment at Harvard Kennedy school has systematically and empirically assessed historical and contemporary mass movements, focusing on the efficacy of nonviolent campaigns.

The latest in Professor Chenoweth's extensive work on the topic is shaped by both the questions they fielded about civil resistance, as well as the lessons they've learned from activists over the course of their own participation in nonviolent movements in the U. S. On this episode of Behind the Book, we speak with Professor Chenoweth about their new book, Civil Resistance, What Everyone Needs to Know.

Professor Chenoweth's goal was to synthesize and analyze. The robust scholarship on civil resistance to make it more accessible for practical use. They start by laying [00:18:00] out what civil resistance is. 

ERICA CHENOWETH: The civil resistance is a, a technique of struggle where unarmed civilians use a wide variety of methods to actively confront an oppressive opponent without using violence or the threat of violence 

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: and what civil resistance can look like.

ERICA CHENOWETH: These methods can be. protests, boycotts, strikes, go slow, stay aways, and various other forms of economic, social, and political non cooperation. It can be the creation of illegal or transgressive alternative institutions, like alternative constitutional conventions, or judicial systems, or schools, or Alternative media.

The idea is that when people use these types of techniques and sequences that increase their political pressure over time, um, against the opponent while also managing the risk to people [00:19:00] for participating, that they can achieve extraordinary political, social, and economic breakthroughs that kind of surprise observers who kind of maybe underestimated, uh, how powerful people power can actually be.

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Professor Chenoweth thinks that observers tend to be surprised. at the success of civil resistance movements because they're organized by marginalized members of society. In other words, by those who have been barred from traditional positions of power. But civil resistance movements enact a different kind of power, one contingent on mass participation at the grassroots level.

ERICA CHENOWETH: The theory of change is that there's no such thing as an opponent that is monolithic. And there's no such thing as an opponent that, um, has total control of the population all the time. Instead, opponents rely on, basically, everybody in the society to just go along with things. And that when people actually stop cooperating, and stop going [00:20:00] along, and stop thinking that it's in their own best interest to just play along with the power holder, that's when you start seeing these openings where, uh, dramatic transformations can take place.

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Professor Chenoweth has seen a lot of variability in civil resistance movements, for example, in their leadership structures, their use of digital media and technology, and importantly, their origins. 

ERICA CHENOWETH: One of the most interesting things is how totally unpredictable they are. So there are very few factors that seem to systematically predict.

The onset of a mass uprising, um, but the most important relate to the capacity of the population to mobilize effectively because of a recent history of say, labor strikes or, or protests because of a growing youth population. because of the distribution of cell phones, for example, which help people to communicate.

And then notably the beginning of authoritarian backsliding. 

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: [00:21:00] Professor Chenoweth is often asked whether non violent resistance is at all effective against an authoritarian regime. Or an overwhelming military power. Professor Chenoweth's research suggests that the answer is often yes. Professor Chenoweth outlines four key things.

Nonviolent resistance campaigns do well, that violent campaigns The first is that nonviolent campaigns are much better at eliciting broad and diverse participation, which gives them more social power. The second thing is that nonviolent campaigns are more effective at causing defections, particularly among elites and security forces.

These defections can lead to key moments of political crisis for those holding power. The third thing nonviolent campaigns do well is is create a large and varied enough movement that they have a much wider set of available tactics to draw upon than do violent movements. Lastly, nonviolent campaigns [00:22:00] maintain discipline in the face of escalating state repression more effectively than violent campaigns, allowing them to deter the worst kinds of state violence.

In fact, Professor Chenoweth has found that over half of the nonviolent campaigns undertaken between 1900 and 2019 have succeeded. Only a quarter of the violent movements during the same period succeeded. Not only have civil resistance movements seen more success than armed uprisings, they've also suffered fewer fatalities at a ratio of 22 to 1.

But Professor Chenoweth is careful not to assign moral weight to it. to nonviolent techniques over violent ones. They believe oppressed peoples around the world should use whatever strategies they think are most appropriate to protect themselves and their communities. 

ERICA CHENOWETH: What this book is trying to do is document and amplify the various different strategic, uh, pathways that people have used in those circumstances, [00:23:00] besides using violence, which is well documented by many other people, uh, to, to, to good effect.

ALESSANDRA SEITER - HOST, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Professor Chenoweth is also careful. To highlight that bodily violence is used much more often in response to civilian uprisings rather than by them, and that state actors often try to strategically provoke participants of civil resistance into violent action. 

ERICA CHENOWETH: Regimes really do try to delegitimize these movements using various epithets, one of which is that they're terrorists or, uh, coup plotters or thugs.

It's very informative what the state shows it's afraid of. 

Nicholas Kristof On Biden Blind Spots, Double Standards, Campus Protesters Part 1 - Brian Lehrer: A Daily Politics Podcast - Air Date 4-26-24

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: We try to acknowledge complexity. You wrote a whole separate column about double standards as applied to the Israel-Gaza war on either side. You say Gaza is the United States' problem because it's Joe Biden's war and not just Netanyahu's. I think everybody knows that by now. And, of course, being anti-Israel policy is not the same as being anti-Jewish. Worth [00:24:00] repeating. But you also do acknowledge things like that the U. N. General Assembly adopted 15 resolutions critical of Israel last year, and only seven critical of all the other countries in the world combined, despite facts, you report, like the number of children displaced in Sudan by recent fighting is three million more than the whole population of Gaza. And that some of the worst mistreatment of Arabs in recent years is by Arab government's behavior toward their own citizens. 

So, you understand why Israelis and many American Jews feel under siege and worry based on history, even if they hate Netanyahu and what he's doing in this war, what the antisemitism of today might grow into tomorrow. Yes? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yeah, absolutely. And, if you look at humanitarian crises around the world, then, the blunt reality is they tend not to get attention. Yemen for a long time was the world's worst humanitarian crisis. And I was writing about it. It was just impossible to get people to read about it or [00:25:00] care about it. And today you've got a horrific situation in Myanmar, in Sudan, Ethiopia and the Tigray region is on the edge of famine as well, and none of those areas are—well, Haiti as well—and, you know, none of those are getting just a tiny fraction of the attention that Gaza is. And so, you know, is there a double standard in that respect? Yeah, absolutely. But I think that there's also then a double standard in people who, become defensive about people who point out human rights problems in Israel. And, you know, we should be tough on human rights violations, whether they occur in Ethiopia or in Gaza. And Gaza is particularly complicated because it is our bombs that are being used to drop on civilians. And it is our diplomatic protection at the U. N. that is enabling a starvation to develop, you know, right in a region of plenty. \

[00:26:00] So, it's, there are plenty of double standards all around. And I think we need to interrogate them. And, you know, look at the end of the day, Brian, I mean, if you care about human rights of Palestinians alone, or if you care about human rights of Israelis alone, you don't really care about human rights.

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: Hear, hear. Um, you wrote, in your "What Happened to the Joe Biden I Knew" column, which was just before the Columbia encampment started the current wave, that you tell young people on college campuses that shouting is less effective than changing minds, and you wrote that you remind college age voters that Trump would be so much worse for Palestinians.

And Politico has an article called "Biden camp not sweating political fallout from latest round of campus protests". It says, "Biden condemned the anti-Israel protests and broiling college campuses this week, sparking backlash from younger voters, but those doing the protesting, they believe", the Biden camp believes, "are [00:27:00] a subset of a subset of the electorate, one that's drawn disproportionate amount of media coverage compared to its actual political clout". Quoting from Politico there, reporting on the Biden campaign. Do you have a take? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: So, people should be suspicious of my political take since my political career lasted about 10 minutes when I ran for governor of Oregon. So, be wary of my political views. But I have to say that I am, I do doubt Biden on this. You see public opinion moving very rapidly, and a majority of Americans now disapprove of the Israeli actions in Gaza, just drop like a rock. That will get worse if there's an invasion of Rafa or if there is a full blown famine that develops and, you know, Michigan is just a must-win state for Biden, and I don't see people in Michigan who would vote for Biden [00:28:00] instead voting for Trump, but I do see some of them just staying home and not canvassing and not supporting Biden, and that could cost him that state and the election.

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: Also, there could be a really, it's a question, could there be a lesson from perhaps the last time in US history that saw a college student so angry at a Democratic president? 1968, there was the turmoil at the Democratic convention in Chicago that year, very famous to people who were alive then or who know that history. And the Democrats may be regretting that they've chosen Chicago again this year with those historical echoes and campus protests peaking right now going into summer. The upshot in '68 was that backlash to the protests, I think it's fair to say, as a matter of history, contributed to the country electing Richard Nixon, maybe the closest historical analogy we have to Donald Trump.

So, do you think Biden has to do certain things to avoid history repeating [00:29:00] itself in a similar way this summer? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: I do think that Biden should be a little more wary than he is of the risk that these protests will continue indefinitely and not only complicate his reelection campaign, but also complicate the campaigns of Democratic candidates for the Senate and for the House.

I've spoke to several senators and House members who say that they really can't do public events right now because of the fear of disruptions. But I think that, you know, it's also, frankly, the protesters who should reflect on this a little bit. And my take is that in 1968, the more radical protesters did indeed help elect Richard Nixon and kept the US involved in Vietnam longer than it otherwise would have been, resulting in more deaths of Vietnamese and Americans, alike. And I think that while a majority of Americans now say in polls that they [00:30:00] disapprove of Israel's war in Gaza, that the kind of the over the top elements, you know, the antisemitism that we're seeing in some cases, the violence, the disruptions, I think that antagonizes a lot of people who are on the fence or even who are kind of mildly sympathetic in principle. And so, you know, I think there's plenty of people to reflect on all around. 

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: Could it be that among those miscalculating politically are the Columbia and other protesters? Before the encampments sympathy in this country was trending in the Palestinians direction and Biden was responding to the protest already happening by increasing his criticism of Netanyahu and starting to take some action, like allowing the latest UN ceasefire resolution to pass. But now the protesters' decision to occupy and disrupt campuses in the particular ways that they're doing and escalate from [00:31:00] demanding a ceasefire to demanding full scale divestment from Israel, or we're never going home, now we have Biden denouncing campus antisemitism as the core of his remarks this week, instead of denouncing Netanyahu. Do you have any political analysis of that? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yeah. I mean, I think that your point is right. It's not clear to me that a lot of the occupation efforts on campuses are doing anything at all for people in Gaza. And I think they may be creating a backlash that makes people, more opposed to their views rather than more aligned with their views.

And also, you know, protests like that tend to be... when we in the news media, when we cover protests, we tend to go toward the person with the most extreme sign, with the most extreme slogan. And so the protests and the occupations have tended to be a moment to showcase [00:32:00] antisemites, to showcase more violent people you know, on the police side as well. It cuts both ways. But you know, peaceful protest is great. It's an American tradition, but in this case, I wish some of the folks had been raising money for Save the Children in Gaza rather than occupying buildings in ways that may create a backlash that is of no help to Palestinians in Gaza or anywhere else. 

Meet The ‘Wrong Jew’ The Media Doesn’t Want You To Know Exists - Double Down News - Air Date 4-28-24

NAOMI WIMBORNE-IDRISSI: I'm the wrong kind of Jew that the media and politicians don't want you to know exist, but there are thousands of us and we're here saying "not in our name". When you see the coverage of all these demonstrations and things, you get the impression that no Jews are involved, that Jews are fearful, Jews hate what's going on. No, it's not true. There's hundreds of us here today. There've been thousands of Jews in this country alone taking the side of the Palestinians against the Israeli state. All over the world there must be hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who are now saying "not in my name". [00:33:00] 

One of the most ridiculous things that we've had to deal with, particularly in the last week or so, is the idea that the police are enforcing a no-go zone for Jews in order to defend all these hate marches, people who are supporters of terrorism. It's almost the reversal of the truth. We are saying, along with most sensible people around the world, that everybody, Palestinians included, deserve to be free wherever they live, including between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. 

People say, but as a Jew, are you not frightened? Are you not subjected to assaults and threats and abuse? And I say, well, actually, I do feel threatened, abused, negated, silenced, cancelled, because when it comes to the media seeking Jewish opinion about what's going on, they go to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, or the Chief Rabbi, or the Jewish Labour Movement, or, heaven [00:34:00] forfend, the Campaign Against Antisemitism. All these groups, which have support for Israel, sort of ingrained in their whole agenda and their whole raison d'être, if there is hatred and abuse directed at Jews, it's often coming from people of the Zionist perspective against anti-Zionist Jews like me. 

People need to take on board the fact that there are elders in the Jewish community, many of them Holocaust survivors and also the descendants of Holocaust survivors, who have been present on these demonstrations, given fantastic interviews themselves, explaining why, as victims of a past genocide, they will not tolerate an ongoing genocide that the world is witnessing in real time. It is so dangerous and divisive, the way this so-called conflict has been portrayed. Taking the Israeli line, calling it the "Israel-Hamas War", when this is clearly a war against the entire [00:35:00] Palestinian people. Collective punishment, ethnic cleansing, plausible genocide, and there is nothing religious about this war. This is a war of settler-colonialism against an occupied people. 

One of the little rays of hope in the current situation, and it's getting bigger, it's getting wider, it's getting brighter, is the growth of opposition to what Israel is doing and it's happening across the world and it's happening among swathes of young people, look at what's happening in American campuses. And of course among the many young people who are coming out and saying "not in our name" and we won't tolerate it and trying to shut down arms factories and calling for an arms embargo, are many many young Jewish people.

I've met a youngster today who's never been on a demonstration before. He's got family in Israel and gradually he's managed to feel empowered enough, feel confident enough, that he has to come and speak out alongside all [00:36:00] these other people who are demonstrating for just peace and justice, really. It's not rocket science, is it?

University Challenge feat. Basil Zacharia Rodriguez - Chapo Trap House - Air Date 4-23-24

BASIL ZACHARIA RODRIGUEZ: This is a movement for liberation, for life. It's a movement to stop genocide, which has killed more than 40,000 Palestinians just in the Gaza Strip over the last seven months. As these, you know, slanderous reports are coming out focused on Upper Manhattan, we've been hearing heart breaking, truly heart breaking, reports coming out of the Nasser Hospital in Gaza, where more than, I want to say, more than 200 people were found whose bodies were so inhumanely disposed of as though they weren't human and their organs were robbed, their skin was robbed, stolen for Israel's skin bank, which is the largest skin bank in the world. This level of dehumanizing in this year [00:37:00] is unacceptable. We will not be silenced with slander. We will not let our voices be sidelined to slander and we will continue to seek Palestine as our compass for liberation and look towards the Palestinian people who have been telling us what they have endured for years and years and years and generations upon generations. So, we're just going to say enough is enough. We're not going to respond to slander. We're just going to stay focused on our messaging and people will listen to us. 

WILL MENAKER - HOST, CHAPO TRAP HOUSE: I mean, it's an abject lesson in what the US state media considers violence or aggression. And I think they've all decided that violence and aggression is found by, you know, protests at a college campus and not mass murder being funded by the US government. 

But I want to take that as a jumping off point. Basil, as someone who has a family connection to Palestine and like has come up in this struggle, [00:38:00] in the activism on behalf of Palestine, which was for years, like, shouting into the darkness in this country, it felt like. But, like I also said on the same episode, that I feel like these arrests and like how heavy handed and even damaging to their own institutions these arrests have been, they're doing it to avoid losing an argument. Because I feel like last year, you know, if you had said Israel is a violent apartheid state, there would be a ton of arguments that people could muster and be like, Oh no, it's not, it's not really like that. It's not so simple. You're simply misinformed or that's antisemitic or whatever. But over the last six months, it just doesn't seem to me like there are many arguments left to deny what's going on. And like, I just really feel like that there's no more argument to be had. So, the arrests start happening.

BASIL ZACHARIA RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I think that is an accurate analysis. Um, I think that the truth of what is happening in Palestine [00:39:00] has never been more clear, has never been so undeniable. And for the school to not even engage with us and to just jump to arresting a protest that, again, even the most disgusting entity of the NYPD said was a peaceful protest, and had no threat to anyone, for them to arrest and brutalize students, their own students, who are enraged and heartbroken at their, at all of our own inherent complicity, not only as citizens of the US, but also as students at Columbia University in making the 1 percent even more money off of genocide. It just shows their true colors, in a way that is, again, undeniable. 

WILL MENAKER - HOST, CHAPO TRAP HOUSE: I guess my next question would be, obviously the actions of the Columbia University administration are one thing, but how [00:40:00] do you assess the actions, support or lack thereof, depending on, you know, who you ask? How do you assess how Columbia's faculty, how your professors, how have they responded to the actions of the administration?

BASIL ZACHARIA RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. I think there's been a mix of responses. I think that people have to sort of come to terms with their own positionality in the movement and come to terms with their own complicity in the movement, but a lot of professors have stood by us. Professors at NYU were even arrested for putting their bodies on the line to physically protect students.

So, there are professors here with us in the encampment. There are professors on our de-escalation team ready to, you know, try to de-escalate potential White supremacists who try to come through and attack people, which has been happening in the past week. But there are also professors who I think are comfortable in their, you know, salaried position, [00:41:00] and who don't want to risk anything. And I think that what happened on last Wednesday has opened people's eyes up a bit to the fact that no one is safe on this campus, and that is because of the fact that this campus is a battleground which makes profit from weapons, weapons that are used to kill our own students' family members. And as professors, they are legitimizing that as an institutional right, which it is fundamentally not. It is not a right for any school to also be making money off of weapons and off of genocide, especially of the Palestinian people who are students, are professors at this institution.

I think there's a mix of professors who are, you know, standing with us physically, professors who are really helping us, all hands in. Then there are professors who are, you know, they kind of agree with us, they agree people should have free speech, but they aren't really standing with us in the way we need them to, and then there are professors who [00:42:00] are, you know, outright attacking people, attacking protesters, attacking Palestinians, is what I mean. So, there's a big range. 

WILL MENAKER - HOST, CHAPO TRAP HOUSE: Well, yeah, you mentioned the money involved here. And I think something to keep in mind about an institution like Columbia, or NYU specifically, is that Columbia and NYU are in addition to being, you know, world class universities they're also the single largest landowners in the City of New York. I mean, they have real estate holdings that are unimaginable in the island of Manhattan, and they have endowments, like, in the billions and billions of dollars. So, like, how does this money play into their special relationship with Israel and particularly very well-heeled donors like Robert Kraft, for instance, who's now saying, Hey, I'm cutting off the spigot to Columbia if they don't, you know, get rid of these anti-Israel protesters. It's just like, but I mean, like, does Columbia really need all that fucking money? Like, I mean, they could sell one building and probably pay [00:43:00] for the loss of Robert Kraft's donations. 

BASIL ZACHARIA RODRIGUEZ: Right. This is a crucial point that we cannot miss, because Columbia University is the largest landowner in New York City. And, you know, as I said earlier, Palestine is a struggle that connects to everywhere. It's an indigenous sovereignty struggle. So, if we think about our own indigenous people here, as well as native Harlemites here, native people who grew up in Harlem, there is settler colonialism in the form of gentrification happening because of Columbia University. They have plans to expand from 116th all the way to 180th Street. They want to make all of that Columbia University. So, if you think about the homes that would be destroyed and bulldozed over, if you think about the people who would be kicked out, families who have grown up there their [00:44:00] whole lives, this is very, very parallel to what they're doing in Palestine, where they want to build a Columbia campus in Palestine, bulldozing over generations of Palestinians who have been there their whole life.

So, these struggles are interconnected, and as student organizers, we are specifically calling for the end of Columbia University settler-colonialism in Palestine and their settler-colonialism in Harlem and in New York. Another aspect is there is a donor, I believe his name is Jonathan Levine, who has made his support of the building of the Manhattanville campus, which is a newer campus that they are trying to build, which will be displacing so, so many, so many people from Harlem. This campus is contingent on the building of the Tel Aviv campus of Columbia university. So, in this way, the two struggles are inherently intertwined and people are making their financial support dependent on both the [00:45:00] expulsion of people from Harlem, Black and Brown people predominantly, and of Palestinians from Palestine.

From the Editor 5-7-24

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips starting with Today In Focus giving an overview of the protests. AJ+ focused on events at Columbia and the personal story of the co-president of the university's Palestinian students' union. Harvard Kennedy School looked at the impact of non-violent sustained protest movements. The Brian Lehrer Show discussed Biden and the politics of the war in Gaza. Double Down News highlighted the voice of a Jewish woman who wholeheartedly rejects the mainstream framing of the protest in the media. And Chapo Trap House made the connection between the mechanisms of colonialism in Gaza and gentrification driven by Columbia University. 

And that's just the front page. There's lots more to dive into. As I briefly described at the top of the show, we're running an experiment in which the show is both the same as in what you just heard could have been a standalone episode, but [00:46:00] also more for those who want to go deeper. 

If you're curious, the reasons for this experiment is the changing economics of podcasting. With the widespread adoption of automatically inserted ads in podcasts, it may now make economic sense to make longer shows with more ads, obviously, and frankly the "correct"—that's in quotes—the correct length of the show has always been a bit of a source of tension for me. It's not like there's only an hour of worthwhile material on any given subject. There's a ton of stuff that we've agonized over and lamented that it didn't make the final cut, but including everything I wanted to was always at odds with creating a consistent show where you, the listener, knew what you could expect rather than some episodes being wildly longer than others. 

Now, maybe I shouldn't have worried about that too much, but I did. But now I've had this idea that feels like we can sort of have it both ways. There will continue to be a consistent first [00:47:00] section of the show that is the style and length that you already know. And when a topic warrants it, there will be additional sections for those who want to go deeper. 

One note though. I like the metaphor of a newspaper to describe the front page and the following sections—you know, to continue, turn to page a 12 and all that—but there is a hurdle that current technology just won't let me cross. In a newspaper it's really easy to turn to page A12. In a podcast, it's a lot more complicated. So, in the show notes, there are timestamps for each section. And depending on your podcasting app, you may actually be able to tap the timestamp and go right to that point in the show. And this should work great for members—and members, by the way, already have full chapter markers. That'll work in addition to the timestamps, but for non-members, those timestamps are going to be more like time estimates, because non-members will [00:48:00] have ads automatically inserted into the show, and ads take time. So when time gets added to the show, the timestamps stop being accurate, but there's no way for me to know how inaccurate they're going to be. So I couldn't make adjustments ahead of time or anything like that. So it's an imperfect solution to say the least, but it's better than nothing. And of course, for those who just want to kick back and read the metaphorical paper cover to cover, none of this matters. You can just listen straight through.

If you have thoughts on all of this, positive or negative, or any ideas of how we could do things better. Please get in touch. Experiments are only valuable if you can actually interpret the results and your opinions are those results I'm looking for. So let me have them. 

And now we will continue with the rest of the show. In section A, we have more on the police responses to protests. Section B is a deeper dive inside the protests and their motivations. Section C gets [00:49:00] more into the politics and messaging around accusations of antisemitism. Section D dives into the stories around college administrations and the endowments protestors are demanding be divested from Israel and the war machine more broadly. And finally section E finishes the show with more media criticism around the protests.

A: CrackdownAtlanta Police Violently Arrest Emory Students & Faculty to Clear Gaza Solidarity Encampment - Democracy Now! - Air Date 4-26-24

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Professor Emil’ Keme, you were arrested. Why were you out at the protest as the people started to begin the encampment? And explain what happened to you.

EMIL' KEME: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Yeah, I was just going to work. I was going to my office to prepare my classes I was supposed to teach yesterday. And then I ran into some of my students who were participating in the protest, and I went up to say hi to them, and I also saw some of my colleagues. So I was talking to them, and then somebody had mentioned that the university had called the [00:50:00] police. And pretty soon, they got there, and I literally felt that I was in a war zone, when I saw the police with all the gear.

And then, like, they immediately began to forcibly remove and destroy all the tents and forcibly remove students. I saw then that — I started feeling the tear gas. And I held arms with some people that — you know, we were being pushed back out of the encampment. And the student that I was holding arms with, she was then arrested. And then, the next thing I know, I was on the floor, you know, being forcibly on the floor, and I was being arrested. But yeah, it was like a horrible experience, very surreal and, yeah, unacceptable, really [00:51:00] unacceptable. And it was just a horrible situation and a horrible experience.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Professor, the police are denying they used rubber bullets. What did you see?

EMIL' KEME: So, I did see somebody being tased. And then I saw the tear gas, and I felt it. I felt it in my eyes. I was also next to an older lady, and I was trying to reach her and tried to see if I could offer her some water. But then, you know, I did see the footage, some of the videos, of police using rubber bullets, as well. But it was very forceful, and the screams. And yeah, it was very violent and really unacceptable.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: The Emory administration has also had a similar response against Stop Cop City protests on campus. Can you talk about the connections between the [00:52:00] two?

EMIL' KEME: Yeah. I mean, the protesters were not only asking the university to divest from investing in Israel, but also Cop City. And, I mean, it is the right thing to do. You know, it’s the right thing to do, because we have to remember that the university is on Indigenous lands, and these are Indigenous territories. And there was an eviction notice written by Muscogee leaders about not building Cop City in Atlanta. And it is a just demand. And hopefully, the university will listen to what the students are saying about this, because I think it’s extremely important.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: I wanted to bring Umaymah Mohammad into this conversation. Umaymah, you’re an MD/Ph.D. student at Emory. Can you talk about these protests that you helped to organize and why you felt it was so key to take this [00:53:00] stand on campus?

UMAYMAH MOHAMMAD: Yeah, absolutely. So, we are at past the seven-month mark of this genocide. And on our campus and in our community, we have repeatedly organized peacefully to put pressure on our institutions, especially at Emory, to stop harassing and doxxing students and to stop repressing speech around Palestine and to divest from the Israeli apartheid state. And every single time, Emory shuts us down. Every single time, they crack down, and they punish students. Every single time, they silence our voices.

And at some point, we decided that we no longer accept our tuition dollars and our tax money going to fund an active genocide. And that was, I think, the main motivation for a group of students and community members and faculty and graduate students coming together so powerfully in this moment to say we [00:54:00] just reject this. We refuse to move until Emory listens to divesting from both the apartheid state of Israel and stop Cop City.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: I read an open letter that you had written. I mean, you’re particularly deeply concerned about healthcare. You quoted the Palestinian doctor Hammam Alloh, killed in November when an Israeli artillery shell struck his wife’s home. His father, brother-in-law and father-in-law also died. Democracy Now! spoke to Dr. Alloh on October 31st. This was his response when asked him why he refused to leave his patients.

DR. HAMMAM ALLOH: And if I go, who treats my patients? We are not animals. We have the right to receive proper healthcare. [00:55:00] So we can’t just leave. … You think I went to medical school and for my postgraduate degrees for a total of 14 years so I think only about my life and not my patients?

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Dr. Hammam Alloh would be killed several weeks later. Umaymah Mohammad, can you talk about this issue of what we’re seeing at this point, over 34,000 Palestinians killed, the number of doctors and nurses, staff, universities, and why this is of particular concern to you?

UMAYMAH MOHAMMAD: Yeah. So, as a future healthcare professional and a current medical student, I am deeply concerned about the lack of concern healthcare institutions in America have for what we’re seeing. And it’s not just in Palestine. Healthcare professionals largely aren’t invested in the health and care of [00:56:00] community members, like the police violence we saw on Emory’s campus. I mean, it’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that these people call themselves providers and care workers and are deeply disinvested from the structural and state violence of community members, both locally and internationally. And I used that quote in a letter that I wrote to the School of Medicine a few months ago because of the absolute silence from a healthcare institution on the decimation of the healthcare system in Gaza, on their own peers being murdered in cold blood by the IDF.

And so, I think one of the concerns that I have with Emory, and with the School of Medicine specifically, is that they have also, along with the greater Emory community, participated in suppressing Palestinian voices. So, a great example of this is very early on to this genocide, in October, Emory fired [00:57:00] a Palestinian physician for posting a private social media post on her Facebook in support of the Palestinians. And yet one of the professors of medicine we have at Emory recently went to serve as a volunteer medic in the Israeli Offense Force and recently came back. This man participated in aiding and abetting a genocide, in aiding and abetting the destruction of the healthcare system in Gaza and the murder of over 400 healthcare workers, and is now back at Emory so-called teaching medical students and residents how to take care of patients. I mean, the disconnect is, for me, very obvious. And it’s very frustrating that the School of Medicine and the greater Emory community continues to ignore these major disconnects.

Juan González, Veteran of '68 Columbia Strike, Condemns Current University Leaders - Democracy Now! - Air Date 5-1-24

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Yesterday we played archival clips of you and the other students taking over Hamilton Hall. What were your thoughts as you watched what happened with the student takeover [00:58:00] and then the police raid?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW! : Well, Amy, I think the similarities are really amazing in terms of the persistence of these students, the issues around which they were fighting, this opposition to a genocidal war occurring in Gaza.

And, you know, I was struck especially by the stands of these university presidents, not only at Columbia and Barnard, but also across the country. You know, the great Chris Hedges, I think, said it best, when he talked recently about the moral bankruptcy of these presidents of these universities who are condemning disruptions of the business as usual at the universities, while every single president of an American university has been silent about the massive destruction of universities in Gaza [00:59:00] and of high schools and schools in Gaza by the Israeli army. They are silent about what is occurring in education in another country, another part of the world, financed by the United States.

So, I think that the importance to me in terms of the similarities are the students understand that at times you must disrupt business as usual to focus the attention of the public on a glaring injustice. And I think that’s exactly what they’ve been able to do. The entire country today knows what divestment means, what divestment means from the Israeli government and the Israeli military, whereas, before, this issue was on the margins of political debate. No commencement in America will occur in the next month where the war in Gaza is not a burning issue, either outside with the protesters [01:00:00] or inside in the speeches and presentations. So I think that the students have managed to focus the entire attention of the country on an unjust war.

I don’t see how President Shafik survives. Many of these presidents across the country are going to be known not for whatever they accomplished previously, but they are going to be known throughout the rest of their lives as being the people who brought the police in to crush students who were maintaining a moral position of opposition to genocide.

So, I think the students are going to carry — those who were arrested are going to carry this badge of courage, as opposed to this profile of cowardice of the university presidents that dare to try to suspend or expel them. And the students’ lives have been changed forever — and, I think, for the best — in terms of the importance of dissent and opposition to injustice.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: Juan, I wanted to go back to 1968, the [01:01:00] student strike, students occupying five buildings, including the president’s office in Low Library, barricading themselves inside for days, students protesting Columbia’s ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium in a public park in Harlem. They called it Gym — G-Y-M — Crow. I want to go to a clip of you from the Pacifica Radio Archives, then a Columbia student, speaking right — it was before the raid, during the strike.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW! : Now we want to go into the dorms with all of you, with some of you who may not — who may not agree with a lot of what we’ve been saying here, who have questions, who support us, who want to know more. Let’s go to the dorms. Let’s talk quietly, in small groups. We’ll be there, and everyone in Livingston — in Livingston lobby, in Furnald lobby, in Carman lobby. We’ll be there, and we’ll talk about the issues involved, and we’ll talk about where this country is going and where this university is going and what it’s doing in the society and what we would like it to do and what we would — and how we would [01:02:00] like to exchange with you our ideas over it. Come join us now.

AMY GOODMAN - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: So, that is Democracy Now! co-host Juan González when he was a student at Columbia University in 1968. It was before the police raid. Juan, tell us what happened after the police raid of Hamilton Hall, as they did last night of Hamilton Hall, 700 arrests. In fact, Juan, you only recently graduated from Columbia. This is the 56th anniversary. What was it, 50 years later, a dean at Columbia said, “Please, we need you as a graduate”?

JUAN GONZÁLEZ - HOST, DEMOCRACY NOW! : No, actually, it was 30 years later they gave me my degree, because I was a senior then. I was supposed to graduate that year. And, you know, amazingly, being suspended from college is not a big deal. You know, it only delays your career a little bit, and I think you gain more sometimes if you were suspended for the right reason. So I don’t think that that’s a big issue.

But I want to raise something else about these protests that [01:03:00] I think people — I’ve seen little attention to. Back in the '60s, most of the student protests were led either by Black students who were in Black student organizations or white students. I was one of the few Latinos at Columbia at the time. And today, these student protests are multiracial and largely led by Palestinian and Muslim and Arab students. This is a marked change in the actual composition of the American university that we're seeing in terms of the leadership of these movements. And I think the willingness of these administrations to crack down so fiercely against this protest is, to some degree, they find it easier to crack down on Black and Brown and multiracial students than they did back then, when it was largely a white student population. And they always figured out a way to [01:04:00] rescind the suspensions or get the students their degrees, because they saw them as part of them. Now, I think, they’re seeing these student protests as part of the other, and they are much more willing to crack down than they have been in the past. And I think it’s important to raise that and to understand what is going on in terms of the changing demographics of the American college student population.

B: Inside the ProtestsSection B Intro

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Now in, during section B a deeper look inside the protests and their motivations.

Pro-Israel THUGS Attack Student Protesters - While Cops Rampage In New York - Owen Jones - Air Date 5-1-24

OWEN JONES -HOST, OWEN JONES: Back in the 1960s, students protesting against the Vietnam War were denounced and ridiculed by oh so clever newspaper colonists, who variously labelled them as naive, as dangerous, as dupes for the enemy. And those student protesters were vindicated not just partly, not just mostly, but entirely. And those oh so clever newspaper columnists got it completely and utterly wrong, as they helped justify a war which spilled rivers of blood.

So vindicated, in fact, that Columbia University, where once again student protesters [01:05:00] have been attacked by the police, that university venerates the protesters of 1968. Who were attacked by the police. Their official website includes a page headlined a new perspective of 1968. The absolute front of this institution claiming Columbia is a far different place today than it was in the spring of 1968 when protesters took over university buildings amid discontent about the Vietnam War, racism and the university's proposed expansion to Morningside Park, which then this website references how the New York City police stormed the campus, stormed the campus and arrested hundreds, And that the fallout dogged Columbia for years.

Well, history repeats itself, doesn't it? It doesn't often always repeat itself, but it often rhymes. When students protested against the Iraq war once again, they were denounced and ridiculed by oh so clever newspaper columnists. Once again, those student protesters were vindicated, completely vindicated, and those newspaper columnists once again have nothing more to be said about them, other than they helped justify [01:06:00] mass slaughter.

I think it's about time these particular newspaper columnists shut up. And listen to the protesters who keep getting vindicated. Over and over again. Today, again, Israel's genocidal onslaught. These student protesters are going to be even more vindicated than those before them, for reasons I'll explain.

Now, at Columbia University, the cops stormed in, get this, exactly 56 years to the day. When cops stormed Columbia University in 1968 to arrest Vietnam protesters. Now, you can hear tasers going off, uh, students screaming while they are assaulted by huge numbers of the police who arrived. As one U. S.

academic in New York puts it, Please, I know that what happened at Columbia tonight is sickening, but this is part two. And our City University students are largely working class students. Of color, but the most disturbing scenes and these were still obviously it's extremely important. We show solidarity with those at columbia The most [01:07:00] disturbing scenes was at university of california los angeles when pro israel thugs attacked The peaceful palestinian solidarity encampment in full view of a police force which did nothing

Now much of the mainstream media has been describing this as a clash between protesters That's a lie. Let's have, let's have a listen to ER's correct framing of what happened. 

AL JAZERRA NEWS CLIP: There are various reports online describing it as a, a, a, a violent, violent clashes, violent confrontations. But just to be absolutely clear about what has unfolded over the past couple of hours, you have a mob waving Israeli flags.

Whose identities were, were hidden beneath masks who came from outside of the campus. Uh, they, as our correspondent was saying, don't appear to be of university age and were armed with pepper spray and sticks and using whatever they [01:08:00] could to harass and instigate violence against the, the, the peaceful solidarity encampment of student protesters in the campus.

at UCLA. So, you know, not so much clashes as a mob attacking a group of protesters. 

OWEN JONES -HOST, OWEN JONES: Well, that's exactly what happened here. A violent mob of pro Israel thugs armed with weapons attacked a peaceful student protest against genocide. Now, for so long, we've been told that these protesters threatened the safety of their fellow Jewish students, willfully conflating opposition with their own.

So the crimes of Israel with anti semitism and inventing lies about what these students say and do. But know that given the crucial presence of Jewish students at these protests, those being attacked and arrested will inevitably include Jewish students. And above all else, it's protesters against genocide who've been vilified as violent and dangerous.

Well, you can see quite clear with your own eyes and ears. Who those labels really belong to. Now, unconditional support, of course, for those protesters. It's so important that wherever we are, whichever [01:09:00] country, whichever continent, we stand by these courageous protesters. And we also need to respond by making protests even bigger and more determined.

This shouldn't make anyone fear protesting, it should embolden us to protest. And the history of protest shows these crackdowns just spur people on to fight even more. You see, the defenders of Israel's mass slaughter of Gaza and some of the worst atrocities of our age. have been completely morally disgraced.

They've lost the argument in all the countries which arm and support Israel, including the United States, where by a big margin, Americans now say they disapprove of Israel's onslaught with more Americans than not describing it as genocide. They're desperate and they have no strategy. So all they've got left is beating up protesters.

But what's really happening here is the moral legitimacy of the U. S. Empire, ill founded though it always was, has been brutally exposed for everyone to see. And these protesters stood up and told their rulers who they really were. And all those elites have in response is smears and brutality. Well, it's not going to work.

Not this time. I cited before the Vietnam War. Well, a [01:10:00] pundit on CNN yesterday apparently said the anti Vietnam War protests were different from those today, which he described as very polarizing. The age old tendency by those who oppose today's protest to claim they would definitely support the protests of the past, which they only say they would do because those protests are later vindicated, but at the time they were vilified, and those sorts of people hated those protests when they actually happened.

When college students were protesting the Vietnam War, they were in a minority for most of the time. And I don't actually mean just amongst the general population of the United States. I mean even amongst college students. In 1967, according to Gallup pollsters, 49 percent of U. S. College students favored escalation in Vietnam.

They wanted more war with just 35 percent supporting de escalation. In 1969, half of U. S. college students said they approved of Republican President Richard Nixon's Vietnam policies compared to 44 percent who disapproved. But in the wider population in 1969, Nixon had 64 percent support for his approach to Vietnam with just 25 percent [01:11:00] disapproving.

The polling in October 1970 was also instructive. Nearly three quarters of Americans polled thought that a major cause of campus unrest was radical militant student groups. A large majority cited as a major reason irresponsible students who just want to cause trouble. Another significant majority blamed radical professors who encouraged student revolt.

A majority also blamed college presidents for being too lenient and permissive. Now, as you can see, it's quite handy that my research, uh, as a, uh, graduate into the Vietnam War protests of the United States comes in handy, but here's the point. Here's what we can learn from that comparison. The fail that faces pro Israel protesters It's going to be a lot worse, a lot worse.

You see, in the case of Vietnam, it took many years and the deaths of tens of thousands of US service personnel for the American people to turn against the Vietnam War. Protesters, for a very long time, were isolated and unrepresentative. That's why they were so courageous. Because they [01:12:00] were fighting a cause at the time, which was very unpopular in the case of Iraq, a large majority of Americans back to the invasion of Iraq.

Now, of course, the polling shows they regret it. They know that those who tries to fight to stop the war were correct. Now, the scale of the crime in this case is just too obscene and too evidenced in the case of it. And I'm in Iraq. There was this whole mantra that this was about freeing people from subjugation, that this was coming to their aid.

This time round, the onslaught is led by a state whose leaders openly denounce the entire Palestinian people as collectively guilty and speak about them in overtly genocidal ways and openly discuss their expulsion from their land. The atrocities and horrors are far more concentrated, proportionally speaking, a much higher rate of death and destruction, and indeed of humanitarian catastrophe.

A manufactured, Famine enveloping Gaza. Because of social media, there's far more access to and awareness of the atrocities being committed on a daily basis. Public opinion is far more hostile, far quicker. You didn't have a situation where, say, more Americans than not thought genocide was being [01:13:00] committed against the Vietnamese, or indeed Iraqis.

As is the case today with the Palestinians of Gaza. And furthermore, there is no plausible form of so called Israeli victory that the rest of the world could possibly regard as in any way positive. In Vietnam, it was defeat the communists, that was an obvious military endgame, and then Vietnam would somehow be free and liberated, and that'd be great for its people.

Well, obviously, it wasn't. That failed, but that was the general gist in Iraq. It was weapons of mass destruction being discovered in the Iraqi people, showing them immense gratitude at their so called liberation and a thriving, glorious peace descending upon Iraq. Oops. In this case, there was no plausible hypothetical outcome, which is good for Israel that is satisfactory to anyone who isn't a cheerleader of the Israeli state.

It's just more violent subjugation of the Palestinians, which the vast majority of people on the planet. So it's very clear to those who hitch their reputations to defending one of the great crimes of our age, what's going to happen. You face total moral disgrace and you also face accountability. You face becoming moral pariahs in your [01:14:00] societies.

You know it deep down and all you can do is lash out, smear those who took a stand correctly against one of the great crimes of our age and who have been vindicated over and over and over again in the worst possible way. But all your behaviour is going to do and is doing is increasing support for those protesting this horror and to embolden others to also protest.

What you are seeing here is an endgame. An endgame in which those who helped make this horror possible have whipped up a hurricane that's going to sweep them all away. And they're panicking about it. And guess what? They're absolutely right to. Sure, right now, there are students who are bruised and bleeding and scared and traumatised.

But they're right. And deep down you know they're right, and you know they're going to be vindicated. And that is going to give them strength. And that's what's going to give these protests strength in the weeks and months ahead. You can beat these protesters up. You can bat and charge them. You can [01:15:00] throw them in jail, but they're not going to stop fighting.

And they're not going to stop fighting because they know what the stakes are. They know they're right. And they know you're going to lose and you're going to lose in the worst possible way. 

Live from the Encampments - CODEPINK Radio - Air Date 5-1-24

GRACE SIEGELMAN: I can go first with Northwestern. Um, it's been. Amazing. We were there for two solid days last week. Um, and. It just watching like the programming that springs up so quickly just with who's there who's coming on to campus. Um, we were there for one day and they were having an art as resistance teach in and then actual art build, um, talking about different art pieces that has sprung up both from student organizing and academic organizing, but also just, um, anti war and anti imperialist efforts.

And then watching people actually do that in real time was so amazing. Um, They've had people discuss their thesis and like their own academic work in relation to anti war organizing, which is absolutely beautiful. Um, and they're the food from the [01:16:00] alumni networks that have come through medical supplies, uh, tent supplies.

It's been raining like crazy in Chicago. So they have had like a lot of, um, how to protect from the rain and thunder and wind kind of not trainings, but like just people coming in and being like, I don't have any experience in organizing, but I do have experience in keeping things dry from, like, Weather issues.

So, like, let me come and do this and then I can learn from you what's going on. Um, so just little things like that, seeing that happen in real time has been absolutely beautiful. And, uh, in conjunction with, like, the students that were already there and the faculty that were already there who are then, like, we're not in class right now, so we're going to do, like, a discussion and kind of, like, class on the quad.

Even though you're not going to be in class right now, we're going to do it here, which I think is So cool. Because then I get to go to a Northwestern class for free, which is great. 

DANAKA KATOVICH - HOST, CODE PINK RADIO: And I'll add, like, I, we had so much abundance on campus where it just, I'd [01:17:00] never have really felt like that before in, in society, right?

So, you know, they had so many water, like, cases of water donated that they, um, built a little, like, house with it, and that's where, like, the henna station was for the day. There was never, like, uh, Not someone coming up to you asking if they could like take any trash like it was like a lot of care for like not littering and like there was always someone helping out and like there was so much food so that you could we had a tent dedicated to giving out camping equipment and then a food tent and then an art tent like there was just so much abundance in that space.

But Jodi, how has it been at USC and UCLA? 

JODIE EVANS: Well, I want to say welcome to the local peace economy. So abundance abounds. And, you know, we've been trained the opposite with war economy and capitalism. So I think, you know, when we have these experiences, where, people are putting their bodies on the line for something that is breaking the hearts of so many [01:18:00] that the outpouring is enormous because we all want to be doing so much and it is so limited because we're up against idiots who are saying okay to genocide and yet the whole, you know, 90 percent of Democrats now are like stop this genocide instead of throwing more fire on it. So, yes, that is what you're experiencing it outpouring of yes, we're here for you. You are on the front lines. And so at USC and UCLA, we are really on the front lines.

I mean, the first day at USC was horrific. And because it's a private university, they were able to arrest 90 people like right away. No notice. Just get them out of here. You know, let's eradicate the problem. And, um, that was horrific. And they were able to lock down the school. So it was really getting crushed, but they are, you know, fierce and they're not, you know, backing down, [01:19:00] but it limits the capacity to bring anything in, to be of support and to have a relationship.

So here's like the private public. If we want to just look at the systems that we live inside of, go, go to UCLA. The camp has grown. I mean, when we, when I first got there, it was just, you know, kind of, cobbled together the first day, Thursday, and every day it's just grown. And now it's like, takes up between the two buildings.

They just gave up having a corridor between the two. And, um, that happened also, I think, with the university trying to keep everyone safe. So, Friday night, um, which was the second, end of the second day, had grown quite a bit, looks just like yours, an art tent, a food tent, a water tent, uh, you know, art classes, dancing, um, my friends, Ginger and Vivek, uh, Code Pink activists came, and they're both musicians, and they saw that, um, the, the counter [01:20:00] protesters On the other side, the Zionists have brought like a sound system and they were trying to drown us out.

And so Friday they brought a huge sound system for us. Um, and so more music was happening, live music was happening. I showed up and I just stayed outside and I was kind of playing. The, the guard to the gate and taking on the Zionist myself because, you know, could pink, we can, we're, we're about being disarming so I could just totally disarm all of them and they would just go away and, you know, out of frustration.

And, um, so then that was okay but then all of a sudden some maggot. Intense disruptors came which was a whole different energy. And they just wanted to cause trouble. And what was so impressive is the organizers just had everybody move to the side. So imagine like 500 people just moved and made a giant circle.

And so it became a fishbowl. So the disruption couldn't happen because you were in a [01:21:00] fishbowl, which was quite brilliant. I was like, as an organizer, I was like, I'm going to keep that one in my tool chest. Um, and then on being on the outside, then everybody got to see each other instead of being intense.

And. It just like allowed everyone to really be present with each other. And then, you know, the conversation could happen. And, and so that Friday night, the Zionist disruptors came and they all day Friday, they put up a GoFundMe and they raised 60, 000 in a day to create a counter protest to the camp. And, um, you know, we saw the GoFundMe, so we were also organizing to get everybody there for Saturday.

Um, oh, sorry. It was I guess it was Saturday for Sunday and, um, but then not that night. They kept everyone up till 6 a. m. They were trying to push in. They were being very loud and very violent and everybody had to keep, you know, start building ways that they could keep themselves [01:22:00] protected. So no one had slept.

And then there's this onslaught. They put up a screen, a giant sound system. They rented the ground next door so they could do whatever they wanted. And they put out a call and they bust in people. And it was quite oppressive. And so I think we had, there was the camp, there was, you know, one side of the protesters and other side of the protesters and another side of the protesters.

So we had them surrounded, um, with our chanting and to tell you that, like, I looked the first day I looked out at them and what they were doing. And it was just like, if you didn't have sound. And it was in black and white. You would think they were brown shirts. It was so fascist in its even look. I mean, it was chilling.

So then the same kind of felt with the, when they all came together, it was one message, one [01:23:00] flag won't, you know, like it was kind of just the, the, the flag symbol everywhere. And it felt super oppressive. I was taking pictures of both sides, and it was quite frightening.

And and also, um, the interesting thing is they were they wanted to hurt. They came to hurt. And they came to be in your face and be fierce and angry and mean and nasty and hateful. And I just was profoundly impressed with everyone's ability to just be Teflon. Um, there was nothing to engage with. Um, and even they would push somebody into somebody and say it was their fault and they wouldn't react and they would just everybody would hold so beautifully and in love and behind them, everybody would be singing and chanting.

And so the whole movement was quite like a murmuration 

The US college protests and the crackdown on campuses Part 2 - Today in Focus - Air Date 4-25-24

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Students have really [01:24:00] become politically involved in a way that In some cases, they never have been before. On the Columbia campus for several months now, there have been students who have engaged in demonstrations, called for a ceasefire, expressed their views one way or the other.

STUDENT 4: We really want the university to understand that divestment must happen and it must happen ASAP. We want the university to, at the very least, call for a ceasefire and acknowledge its complicity in the occupation and genocide of the Palestinian people. 

STUDENT 5: I'm Jewish. I'm Israeli. My mother's Israeli. I have family.

There and honestly we're in pain. Our, our community was attacked. All of the Muslim people who I know who I'm close with have reached out to ask if I'm okay and to see how my family's doing. It's just when it becomes impersonal, um, people feel much more comfortable calling for violence, and I think that's not okay.

MARGARET SULLIVAN: It's not at all surprising to hear chants or beats or things like that. But just in the past few days, it's gotten much louder, [01:25:00] particularly because students have set up an encampment right on the lawn of campus. 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: Margaret, you're on staff at Columbia alongside writing for The Guardian. How have you noticed this conflict has changed the atmosphere on campus and in the classroom?

MARGARET SULLIVAN: It's top of mind for a lot of students. I'm a little too young to have been a college student during the Vietnam era, but I think it has some of the flavor of that. 

ARCHIVE NEWS CLIP 1: It's been bought out by the military. 50 percent of the research done here at the university depends on defense money. And we can see when we look at the new buildings that are going up, we can tell 

how much this university is hooked into servicing the corporations and hooked into servicing the war machine.

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Students have a kind of idealistic approach to this, where they feel like they can make a difference by protesting. 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: Have you seen or heard things in your time on the campus that do strike you as anti [01:26:00] Semitic, or at least uncomfortably close to it? 

MARGARET SULLIVAN: There are things being shouted that are very anti Israel.

I think it is important to draw a distinction between criticizing the policies and the leadership of Israel and being anti Semitic. They aren't the same thing. So I certainly have seen a lot that's anti Israel. Most of what I've seen is people calling for a ceasefire, but I have not directly observed anti Semitic behavior.

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: And we know from surveys of Jewish students that many of them say they feel there has been an increase in anti Semitism since October 7. But do you see any difference between the kinds of things being chanted on the Columbia campus by students there and the things being done and said? at those protests that are just outside the campus, when you try to understand why some Jewish students might be feeling unsafe.

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Absolutely. There's a very big difference between what's going on on [01:27:00] campus, which has been Relatively restrained. I mean, even the New York City police department in making these arrests characterize the protesters as peaceful. There is, however, just outside the gates of Columbia on Broadway and on Amsterdam Avenue, a big, uh, um, Some much more virulent protests, much more anti Israel, much more offensive.

In some cases, cheering on Hamas. And I think it's important not to conflate the two because they are quite different. And I think that Columbia has done a pretty good job and is working on trying to make sure that those who are involved in this encampment or in any demonstrations on campus are protected.

Are indeed Columbia students.

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: All of that student activism at Columbia and universities across the U S has also drawn an extraordinary amount [01:28:00] of attention from the media, from political leaders and from business leaders. Why do you think that is? Why do you think so many people are so animated about the things going on at universities?

MARGARET SULLIVAN: There are all kinds of reasons for that coming from different directions. With students, there is less of an immediate connection with the Holocaust, with World War II. They tend to see Israel, some of these students, I don't want to be too sweeping here, but some of them tend to see Israel as a bully and not as a very vulnerable community.

Country that needs American protection. I'd say the thinking on that has changed in a generational way, 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: and that generational divide seems to be pretty vast. I mean, you've got, on the one hand, students who feel the Israel, as you say, is the bully, is the aggressive party here and then an American establishment that as we've seen over the past few months, doesn't see it that way.

[01:29:00] Sees that the US has a kind of special relationship, a special mission to protect Israel. 

MARGARET SULLIVAN: That's right. And we see that with president Biden, who is probably an interesting case study here because he's a man in his eighties. He has a very visceral connection with what happened in World War II and a very strong relationship with Israel.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: For 75 years, Israel has stood as the only guarantor security of Jewish people around the world. So that the atrocities of the past could never happen again. And let there be no doubt, the United States has Israel's back. We will make sure the Jewish and democratic state of Israel can defend itself today, tomorrow, as we always have.

It's as simple as that. 

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Many politicians of his era feel that way, not just because they're making political points, but they feel it deeply and emotionally. And that is just [01:30:00] something that. For many students who are 20 years old or 19 years old, it just doesn't mean as much to them. It's ancient history.

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: We've seen the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly try to evoke that terrible history to claim controversially that it's being repeated again in these protests. 

BENJAMIN NETENYAHU: Anti Semitic mobs have taken over leading universities. They call for the annihilation of Israel. They attack Jewish students. They attack Jewish faculty.

This is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s. It's unconscionable. 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: You talked about this generational divide within the American left, but a lot of the critics, a lot of the people who have made the most noise about these protests have come from the American right, including their undisputed leader, Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: They're closing Columbia now. I mean, it's just crazy. Columbia should gain a little strength, a little [01:31:00] courage and keep their school open. It's crazy. Because that means the other side wins. When you start closing down colleges 

MICHAEL SAFI - HOST, TODAY IN FOCUS: Roe has the right played in amping this whole thing up. 

MARGARET SULLIVAN: Some of the politicians in the United States, particularly those who are on the far right, are I would say clearly weaponizing this conflict.

So it's all part of this anti wokeness that we've seen throughout the country in recent years, certainly in Florida with governor DeSantis and book bans and all of that sort of thing. It's a way of saying these Democrats, these liberals, these progressives, these elite institutions. Are to be scorned and they're to be criticized, and we're going to, in some cases try to humiliate them. 

C: Politics of AntisemitismSection C Intro

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: You've reached section C getting more into the politics and messaging around accusations of antisemitism.

Nicholas Kristof On Biden Blind Spots, Double Standards, Campus Protesters Part 2 - Brian Lehrer: A Daily Politics Podcast - Air Date 4-26-24

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: how is Biden since October 7th [01:32:00] inconsistent with the Joe Biden you knew? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: So Joe Biden has he has always had a real mastery of international affairs from his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and really has first rate foreign policy aides around him. And yet he's made, I think, a series of miscalculations.

He did not expect the war in Gaza to last as long as it did. He thought it'd be over by the end of the year. I don't think he expected that it would be. As harsh as it proved to be in terms of, leveling entire neighborhoods I don't think that he expected Israel to throttle the aid that went into Gaza to the extent it did.

And, you know, for risk of a famine to develop. And I think that he believed that he could manage Prime Minister Netanyahu when in fact it sort of, it was more the other way around. And I think there, you know, aside from the practical miscalculations. Joe Biden [01:33:00] was always a man of enormous empathy, and he had a moral vision.

And in the case of Bosnia, he was outspoken, calling on the White House to do more to protect civilians there. During the Darfur genocide, he was outspoken. Uh, he was always urging me to write tougher columns demanding that the White House at the time, then George W. Bush would work more aggressively to protect civilians during that humanitarian crisis.

And I don't see that same. Emphasis on that same empathy for civilians in Gaza. You see, he is certainly showing a lot of empathy for people, for victims in Israel as is absolutely right. But I see something of an empathy gap. And I think that is affecting our policies toward Gaza. 

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: On the empathy, uh, gap between Biden's reactions to the victims of October 7th and the [01:34:00] victims since his reaction to the killing of the World Central Kitchen relief workers was an example you gave in your column.

Maybe you think that applies to Biden and the campus protests now too, you tell me, but why did you mention World Central Kitchen in particular? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Well, there had been already at that point about 190 aid workers in Gaza who had been killed you know, along with 100 journalists several 100 health workers.

And it was the killing of foreign aid workers with World Central Kitchen that really seemed to particularly outrage President Biden and in fairness, journalists and other people around the world. You know, that outrage at the killing of those foreign aid workers was certainly appropriate, but at the end of the day, it should be also outrageous that Gazan aid workers are being killed quite regularly.

BRIAN LEHRER - HOST, BRIAN LEHRER: A DAILY POLITICS PODCAST: Biden has tried to influence Netanyahu by persuasion, [01:35:00] not by cutting Israel off.

And it was interesting to me in your column that you see Biden is too confident in his ability to influence through relationships. And that that has applied to his relationships with congressional Republicans as well. Can you talk about that for a minute? 

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yeah. You know, there's something about politicians that in general, I think tends to breed self confidence.

Maybe it's the self selection process of running for office. And I think that Biden has a great deal of confidence in his ability to win people over, to charm them. And that's something I like about him, but I don't think it has been as effective as he would have thought in the case of Senate Republicans, for example, or House Republicans.

And likewise, I don't think it's been. As effective as he had expected in the case of Prime Minister Netanyahu and you know that I think that was kind of to be expected. Netanyahu has been a thorn in the side of every American administration, as [01:36:00] long as he's been in public life, the only American official who really figured Netanyahu effectively was James Baker when he was Secretary of State, and he did that simply by banning Then deputy foreign minister Netanyahu from the State Department and kind of marginalizing him.

So we didn't have to deal with him. So I think the idea that he could control Netanyahu and did not need to use leverage was a pretty dubious idea from the start. 

Manufactured Panic Over Peaceful Campus Protests Used To Distract From Genocide In Gaza - The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder - Air Date 4-23-24

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: This is how the Biden administration responded. This was their statement. Nothing really about what they're actually protesting for. While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students, And the Jewish community are blatantly anti Semitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.

They have absolutely no place on any college campus or anywhere in the United States of America. And echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organizations, especially in the wake of the [01:37:00] worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable. We condemn these statements in the strongest terms.

This is the White House Deputy Press Secretary putting out that particular statement. Um, once again, It makes it seem as though these protests are anti Semitic in nature, against Jewish people broadly. It furthers, in my opinion, a culture of violence towards Jewish people by continuing to conflate Zionism with Judaism.

Because as, This is not going away. If there are people who are making that link in their mind, that this, that Israel just represents Jewish people, I mean, what kind of thought process does that lead to for at least some? It's dangerous what they're doing. I mean, for Jewish people domestically in the United States, let alone, of course, what they're furthering.

MATT LECH: Yeah, I mean, Zionism is a project and they cannot be trusted as any sort of, um. [01:38:00] Moral arbiters on antisemitism because they're using it towards, uh, for a settler colonial project right now. Like that, that's where we're at. 

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Um, and if the Biden administration is really concerned about the safety on campuses, he could look at a little bit at some of the footage coming out of Gaza, where every single university has been destroyed basically where, um, the major university in Gaza months ago was just demolished, leveled.

To cheers from the IDF. This is a really cynical, I think, weaponization of one of the, one of the longest, um, or the most enduring, uh, hateful ideologies, anti semitism, to further this, again, racist colonial project, and that's where we're at right now. 

MATT LECH: That's actively right now. I mean, this is from the AP this week, and the first is early strike in Rafa killed a man, his wife, and their three year old child, according [01:39:00] to nearby Kuwaiti Hospital, which received the bodies.

It sounds worse than what's happened at Columbia. Uh, the woman was pregnant and the doctor saved the baby, the hospital said. The second strike killed 17 children and two women from extended family. The thing with anti semitism at Columbia is already against the rules. If anybody does anti semitism, they should face consequences for it.

Also, outside of the walls of Columbia, uh, if somebody goes on an anti semitic rant that's directed at person, yeah, like that is, can be hate speech that like these, uh, one sign here there, first of all, you should not take it as like definite as representative of Palestinian protests in general. You know, you could.

Often, I honestly wonder if it is a agent provocateur trying to make those protestors look bad, because the idea that these people are motivated by hate is one of the most disgusting smears I've had to deal, like, we've all had to like, endure from people like Jake Tapper and uh, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo.

I am sick of this sort of smear going out against kids that are just standing up for what the world [01:40:00] needs right now. 

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Yeah, and we know that, by the way, pro Israel organizations have made efforts to hire provocateurs in the past. Uh, Waleed Shaheed, uh, put this out there. This was from a few months ago, but it was, uh, the Shirion Collective put out a tweet asking for volunteers to wear keffiyehs and walk into demonstrations masked.

Okay, this is again, yeah, from a few months ago, but The point is that they advertised these tactics. Of course, and 

MATT LECH: we've seen them do, like, plant stuff on signs and do stuff like that. Like, it's because they need to take away, uh, um, eyes from the fact that, again, 17 kids just bombed, just dead in one go.

And we're talking about a sign. A stupid sign. A head of a ground invasion. That's not even indicative of what's actually going on. Because what the Zionists that are complaining about these protests are really afraid about is that their kids might see like, actually those kids are right. And my bigot dad, or whoever it is, [01:41:00] is actually supporting a genocide now.

And what the hell does that mean for my life? 

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Bingo Dango says Hasbaris all over the internet are trying to push the line that the Columbia protest is Unite the Right 2. 0, which is insane because I don't even remember any Zionist outrage about Charlottesville at the time that it happened. 

MATT LECH: It's a despicable smear by people who are trying to point the way away from a active genocide that's happening right now, and all those people, you should point the finger, you should not be defensive, you should point the finger right back and go on the offensive against them.

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: It's becoming easier to go on the offensive against Zionists because As this genocide continues, their position becomes, um, day by day, more and more untenable in terms of just normie people. I can speak to it anecdotally, Democrats who just watch MSNBC, they're starting to get uncomfortable and, you know, a family member the other day, I put it in the terms of racial segregation to her.

Israel and Palestine, and for the first time, she was like, Well, why don't they say that on mainstream media? Well, I wish they would. Yeah. Because honestly, that was part [01:42:00] of what we praised about Ta Nehisi Coates coming out fairly early on to describe what he saw in the West Bank. This is a great entry point for normie Democrats or liberals to view this in the correct framework.

Um, with all that said, Part of the reason that, um, Zionists are getting increasingly desperate is because they are losing the narrative just because of the facts on the ground, which should not escape people. That's what the focus should be. But this professor at Columbia has been getting a lot of attention for calling his own students terrorists, which I think creates a pretty unsafe environment for them.

Um, also echoed by the state of Israel, tweeting out, calling Columbia University students terrorists. Um, but this was him walking around, all hysterical, on, uh, on campus the other day, [01:43:00] again, professor at this university, observing the protests.

SHAI DAVIDAI: I know it's painful to say this, I know there's a fraught history in the United States, uh, with, uh, with U. S. colleges, but, uh, it's time to bring in the National Guard, because the NYPD is in over their head, uh, obviously the President Shafik and the administration, uh, are unwilling to do anything about this.

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: And then after that, by the way, cops were called. The NYPD was called to, uh, remove students, from campus and arrest, arrest them. Dozens have been suspended at this point from Columbia. Over a hundred were arrested for protesting on their campus using the tactics of, uh, apartheid, South, South Africa apartheid protesters from decades before and even before that.

1968, protests against the Vietnam War, which there are many [01:44:00] eerie Kind of connections, honestly, to this historical moment as well. Um, And then here he went on, uh, I 24 which is an Israeli channel, to if, to, to, I guess, continue this narrative. Saying yes. The National Guard should be called in on my own students that I'm supposed to be teaching and enriching their lives.

That's, that's ostensibly what professors are supposed to do. No, they're both, uh, they're terrorists and, uh, the, they should be basically removed from campus. He continued talking about this on Sunday. 

SHAI DAVIDAI: This is an important topic. This is not just about Columbia. This is every U. S. college. They have said that they are going to bring down Columbia first, and then as a domino effect, we'll have all other universities.

But I want to make clear one thing before I talk about my own actions. What we're seeing now at Columbia, and I don't use this word lightly, we're not seeing [01:45:00] ideological war. We're not seeing support for terrorism. We are seeing terrorism. Last night, we had at Columbia, a protest, one of the protesters in the student mob holding a sign calling the El Kassam Brigade, the Hamas military ring to kill Jewish students with a with a with a with a arrow pointing at the Jewish students that were standing there.

Right? We are seeing Hamas It's on campus and this makes President Minou Shafik a Hamas supporter. Every minute that she does not call, let in the NYPD because she's not letting them in. That's why you see the NYPD outside and the terrorists inside. We've had the leader of the domestic terrorist organization within our lifetime.

They had a wedding for her yesterday inside. She snuck in. You see the video you're showing right now. There is a suspended student, the one with the bullhorn. That's a suspended student. They've been suspended for two and a half weeks. They're a radical [01:46:00] organizer that brought in a PFLP terrorist to campus.

They're supposed to be 

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Alright, this is just nonsense, but this is the guy, this is the guy that, um, took a video of some Muslim students praying and called that terrorism. Just to give people a sense of what this really is. This is This is 

MATT LECH: hate. This is hate. 


MATT LECH: Hysterical hate. 

EMMA VIGELAND - HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Hysterical hatred cloaking itself in, in, in combating bigotry. 

'They're Obviously Not Antisemitic Protests': Jewish Yale University Professor Speaks Out - Zeteo - Air Date 4-30-24

RULA JEBREAL - HOST, ZETEO: Let us know what's happening really on Yale and how much misinformation and hysteria is out there versus what you are seeing on the ground. 

JASON STANLEY: So there's a tremendous amount of misinformation. And we've encountered this numerous times in the American past, uh, when there are anti war protests on university campuses.

That's what we have. We have [01:47:00] anti-war protests on university campuses. Uh, they're not violent anti pro-war protests. I, I visit, I visited the, uh, Yale encampment on Beneke Plaza before it was taken down. And, uh, and there was no violence. There were, there were people singing, uh, there were, uh, there were a small group of counter protestors, maybe five or six.

I didn't exactly, uh, somewhere between five and 10. Uh, there were. A lot of students protesting, uh, there weren't barriers between the small group of counter protesters and the protesters. I had students in both groups. I had many students protesting. I had, uh, I knew 1 of the counter protesters or she knew me.

Um, we'd friendly dialogue. I think, uh, this dude, there were many Jewish students protesting. So, uh, so there was a very large tent, uh, Jews for ceasefire. Now, uh, there was a Seder, [01:48:00] uh, that, that the Jewish students held, uh, or directed. So, uh, so it was an anti war protest against, uh, a war that is being funded by US, uh, Uh, and, uh, and students as they always have, uh, are protesting, uh, U.

S. support, uh, for what looks to be an ongoing genocide in Gaza. Uh, and so, so 

RULA JEBREAL - HOST, ZETEO: Jason, what do you think of, uh, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who released a video yesterday comparing U. S. students who are protesting, as you said, a war with Nazi Germany in the thirties? And Brett Stevens in the New York Times calling these protests anti Jewish protests.

Anti Semitic, anti Jewish. 

JASON STANLEY: Right. Those are two very different claims. I mean, both false, but one is a level of, uh, you know, of absurdity, uh, the Netanyahu's claim. I mean, uh, Netanyahu's [01:49:00] claim, uh, to make analogies between, uh, between protests, anti war protests and national socialism, which was all about total war is beyond absurd.

Um, so, and, and bears little comment. Uh, Brett Stevens, uh, Brett Stevens, his piece, uh, and claims, uh, That takes a little bit more unpacking. A note that in Bret Stephens op ed, the title was a parenthesis, what it's like to be a visible Jew on Ivy League campuses today. Now, what does that mean? What's going on there, uh, with that visible Jew?

Now, uh, you have to deal with the fact that one of the largest identity groups protesting out there on college campuses are Jewish Americans, uh, who are, uh, shocked and horrified by Israel's actions in Gaza. Uh, [01:50:00] so, uh, Uh, which is not to say that anyone supports Hamas. That is obviously, uh, not happening.

Um, but, but there are Jewish groups, there are many Jewish students who are shocked and horrified by Israel's actions. And then there are many Jewish students who are just sort of in between various views and don't know exactly what to think. And then there's a, Uh, a small group of, uh, of, of Jewish students who, as they have every right to do, uh, are, are counter protesting or strongly in support of Israel's, uh, actions in Gaza.

Now what, when Brad Stevens talks about visible Jews, what he's really saying is that the only real Jews are Orthodox Jews, uh, and that Jewish people like me. My son was bar mitzvah this week. I mean, Jewish people like me are not real Jews because we're not visible Jews. Uh, and so, uh, and the idea is that visible Jews are [01:51:00] somehow being targeted.

Now, this is. This is really upsetting, uh, because it splits, uh, Jews, American Jews, uh, apart from each other. It sends a message to groups of American Jews who are not Orthodox that we're not really Jewish. Uh, because you can't really say that we're being, uh, Attacked on campus and you can't even really say that visible Jews are being attacked on campus.

There are no such attacks. Uh, so, uh, but this divisiveness, this divisiveness of, of sort of breaking apart, uh, the American Jewish community, uh, is, is, I think, uh, reprehensible, uh, and I don't, and they're, they're obviously not anti Semitic protests. If you care about, um, Israel, then you don't want Israel committing genocide because that's a stain on the country that will last for generations to come.

So it's absolutely no wonder that Jewish [01:52:00] students are involved in this. 

RULA JEBREAL - HOST, ZETEO: So Jason, uh, there were, uh, on video some, uh, very, uh, alarming chance such as go back to Poland or a burn down Tel Aviv. Those, uh, those kind of statements and those kind of chance that were recorded on video are not connected directly.

But in the media, the narrative is, uh, This is the kind of protest that is basically dominating college campuses. Can you please elaborate on that? Have you ever heard any of these comments? 

JASON STANLEY: I have never heard such comments. And if I did, uh, I would probably, I would be very upset. And I hope that people would have been there too.

I don't want to return to Poland and I don't want Tel Aviv to be burned. I mean, I would be extremely upset if I heard such chants, if I heard. Anyone giving such chance I would approach them and speak to them about it. Uh, and, [01:53:00] and, uh, and if they were, um, I mean, it's hard for me to imagine any Yale student doing that, but kids are kids and people, uh, people can, but I mean, that would be horrifying to me.

I certainly. Didn't hear any such chance. My office is is near is right overlooks cross campus where the current protests are taking place. And, you know, I certainly didn't hear such chance. And I have multiple students who are involved in those protests and know, um, how strong I feel about, uh, about being Jewish. 

D: University admin, endowments, divestmentSection D Intro

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: This is section D which dives into the stories around college administrations and the endowments protesters are demanding. Be divested from Israel and the broader war machine.

Why Colleges Have No Idea How To Handle Student Protests - The Muckrake Political Podcast - Air Date 4-23-24

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: It's a regular thing for me on this podcast and anywhere I get interviewed to remind people that I was in academia for 16 years in the college administrators are some of the most inept, cowardly, oppressive human beings that you will ever come across.

Uh, we have seen that. That is one of the reasons why the situation at Columbia and now [01:54:00] at Yale have gotten completely out of control because leadership is not there in order to lead. It's there to shuffle people through on behalf of capital. That's it. That's the main problem when it comes to the president of Columbia and, uh, the presidents of NYPD.

I will, I want to go ahead and I want to say a few things because, and listen, as always, Nick and I are friends. We don't necessarily agree all the time when it comes to Israel and Gaza and what has happened. We've, we've fleshed this thing out. I would hope that this podcast is at times instructive and how people could not necessarily be completely on the same page and have a dialogue.

Let's go ahead and set a few, uh, baseline stuff. First things first, there is such a thing as anti Semitism. 

It is a poisonous, poisonous, uh, conspiracy theory, uh, white supremacist, right wing reactionary thing. Uh, it has been used to kill millions upon millions of Jews, not just in the Holocaust, but before the Holocaust.

It has been used as a means of the powerful replicating and expanding their [01:55:00] power. It is an awful, awful stain on the human condition, and there is no room for it. We have seen it with the right wing, and Nick, I'm going to go ahead and tell you, I have no doubt that there are anti Semitic things being said at these protests.

I have absolutely no doubt that there are. I have no doubt that there are things that are happening there that are, uh, um, upsetting and intimidating. I will also say that if I were to grab you like a crane game, and I were to take you through time and drop you onto a college campus in 1968, in the anti war movement or free speech movement, civil rights movement, the gay rights movement, the feminist movement, that you would hear some shit that's pretty offensive.

You would hear some people saying some things that would probably not be great. I mean, listen, um, I certainly in the 1960s would not have protested the Vietnam war movement by throwing my weight behind Joseph Stalin. I certainly wouldn't have done it by throwing my weight behind Mao Zedong. I certainly wouldn't be, you know, running around talking about assassinating figures.

I wouldn't have joined the weather [01:56:00] underground. That's not who I am. I wouldn't have bombed, you know, federal buildings. What I have heard from people who've been on the ground is that there is a massive difference between the campus community that is protesting here and people who are coming in from outside the campus community, it sounds like there are provocateurs, it sounds like there are people who are coming in who are radical and they want to come in and they, they want to spew either pure anti Semitism or anti Zionism as they understand it.

Um, I think that that quite frankly, I think that these protest movements and communities, it's on them to tell these people to knock it off or get out of there. But I do think that this is a moment that we should probably look through the lens and say, Listen, you don't want to be on the wrong side of history.

What has happened in Gaza is disgusting. It is okay that we have a protest movement about it. It should show you that there is a beating heart within the American population. I support this. I have solidarity with these people. But I also think [01:57:00] that there's no room for anti Semitism in these protests.

NICK HAUSELMAN - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: Thank you. Yeah, I agree. And I would definitely You know, if there were Jewish students who are walking across and seeing people dressed like in Hamas, uh, you know, with flags and, and their, and masks and chanting pro Hamas things, I would certainly understand if they felt. Uh, intimidated or scared, um, you know, and on the college campus, you know, that was what, you know, the administrators are supposedly in charge of trying to help that.

But I'm trying to figure out where to unpack all of this, because there are so many things that you said. Let's just focus on, I think when we talk about how you characterize the administration, um, you know, there, there is no one in our audience I don't think is going to defend them or is on their side necessarily, but.

Um, I think I like to deal in sort of, uh, concrete ideas and solutions. So I think that the answer, what they don't seem to understand, and I read references, what you were, how you characterize them is that they don't understand how to create a place to have the dialogue, 


NICK HAUSELMAN - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: So if they could, and by the way, they are probably so scared of some sort of, uh, you know, if you bring together these two groups to have a not even a debate, but just some, some, some sort of coming together, meaning where we can discuss things, right. They're probably so afraid of a spark happening or whatever that that was why they don't do it. But if they don't come down and they, and by themselves, you know, uh, the, the, the Dean of Columbia should come down and, you know, meet with them one on one and have that dialogue to have them feel heard at the very least, right, to, to begin the process of following this thing out.

And that I think is probably the biggest issue is that they don't, Think that they want to do that or have to do that or are scared to do that. 

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: Well, they don't believe it's the place of the university to have those discussions They believe that this is a job training center is what it is And quite frankly, I think the administrators we have in place.

I think people need to understand this in the past it used to be professors and teachers who would eventually become university presidents who were very interested in the academic and sort of the [01:59:00] Inquisitive world of the mind. Right. That, that the college was the square where people came together to have conversations, to experiment with things, to figure out who they were.

These are corporate executives, is what they are. They have no interest in the campus being that, and quite frankly, and I think this is what's been at play, Nick, I think with Shafiq and with other administrators, they're 1970s. They don't want that. They're frightened of that. And I think that everybody has in their minds that universities and colleges are like what happened in the sixties and seventies.

No, that was an aberration because this is where you get introduced into the capitalist system. They have no desire to do it. And for the record, Nick, while we're on the subject, remember a few years ago, when all of these right wing anti Semitic assholes were going to college campuses and giving speeches and the campus community would have to run them off, They didn't know how to handle that either.

They have no [02:00:00] idea how to have a university that is involved in these types of things. They have no appetite for it. They would much rather have the NYPD come in and carve people away. 

NICK HAUSELMAN - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: And to piggyback on what you said, like, it's probably fair to say that any of the, um, professors that would move up to become, you know, the heads of the school, um, were probably because they were well respected and well liked.

And they were good at their jobs. And to be good as a professor, you need to know how to communicate and listen and mediate. And I think that's that skill that some of these people don't have at all anymore. 

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: Well, just real fast. I want to say you become like a college president now by being a bootlicker.

Is you, you basically, you, you're, you, you deal with like, uh, the, the state representatives who tell you what to do, right. Or a chancellor of like a bunch of colleges who tells you what to do. You're, you're basically a middle manager going back to what we were talking about the other day. But Nick, here's the other problem.

It used to be the professors who were the leaders of a campus. They were the ones who helped facilitate conversations. They [02:01:00] were the ones who could do things like have teach ins, who could have conversations and, and, and, and basically like have all this stuff that you're talking about on campus. They have been reduced down to being like automatons.

They, they have too many classes, they have too many students, and they are constantly told that they're replaceable. So they're not actually campus leaders anymore. What you're seeing right now are students are actually organizing themselves when in fact in the past there used to be the ability for these things to take place and have conversations about them and bring people together for the, for that matter.

NICK HAUSELMAN - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: Absolutely. And by the way, the outside protesters, another layer here, which starts to make me understand a little bit why they might have wanted to broach the NYPD getting involved, because as a father of a daughter on campus right now, You know, I'm already nervous for her safety. And the last thing I want is people who are like, not part of the community, not part of the campus wandering around on campus.

Like that, that would not be, uh, I would not feel good about that at all. [02:02:00] Um, and then if it's now in an incendiary environment of a process, I, I totally, I understand that as well. Uh, and I, I'm not exactly sure. What the solution to that would be, because if you wanted more security and you didn't want to use NYPD because of what they stand for, I mean, is it as simple as saying, okay, we are going to have our security beef that up our own security, I guess, is that what you mean?

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: No, I, the answer isn't giving more money or more power to the security. It's, it's, what has happened, Nick? Shafiq threw like a hornet's nest into a giant hornet's nest. You know what I mean? And it just took off from there. It has now turned into an oppositional thing. Like it is now this president who, by the way, for people who don't know.

The students who got arrested were evicted from their housing immediately in New York City. They were given 15 minutes to go and get their belongings, okay? And then thrown out on the street. On top of that, they were completely thrown off campus. They, you know, suspended, all that. What has happened [02:03:00] is this has turned into an adversarial, uh, situation.

And so now why wouldn't you welcome in anybody who wants to protest with you? There's safety in numbers, aren't there? You know, the NYPD coming in and get you like this has been a Very very peaceful protest and it has gotten worse and worse and we got to talk about this nick Um the biden administration has weighed in with a statement.

Um, unfortunately, Biden's statement only talked about the alarming rise of antisemitism, which is a problem. However, it has no place on college campuses, uh, has called it quote unquote, the antisemitic, antisemitic protest. I got to tell you, Nick, first of all, I think this is disappointing. I think that this is where the democratic party is supposed to stand in and work with people.

But of course, this is the party that now supports this war and owns this war. We are working. Toward a DNC convention that is going to be really ugly in August in Chicago. And it's, I told [02:04:00] everybody that it could very well look like the 1968 Chicago convention. Everything is in place for that right now.

This is turning into a major, major political problem for the Biden administration and his reelection campaign. 

Columbia University President Cowers Before Republicans - The Bitchuation Room (with Francesca Fiorentini) - Air Date 4-27-24

FRANCESCA FIORENTINI - HOST, THE BITCHUATION ROOM: One of the students that was suspended is Ilhan Omar's daughter. Um, and here she is with a Palestinian, um, uh, fellow student and they are Columbia, they work, I guess, Columbia students speaking on MSNBC. 

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Do you feel it's because of the nature of these protests and what they're supporting? Do you do other student groups have this kind of target on their back?

Or do you feel that you are being targeted because of the fact that it is in solidarity with Palestinians and against what Israel is doing to Palestinians? 

IRSA HIRSI: Oh, this is 100 percent targeted. Every single protest that we have, there's a group of counter protesters that bring all of their items, their, their flags and things like that, and they're not seen as having unsectioned protests or really receive the kind of disciplinary warnings that many of our fellow organizers receive just for being [02:05:00] seen at these protests.

And so there is definitely some hypocrisy here, especially you can kind of see it with the students that were, uh, Um, that were, uh, sprayed us with the chemical weapons and the fact that there is no public information as to what happened to them, but rather the university is actively discussing what is happening to the students here and making it a whole public spectacle rather than when we haven't done anything to physically harm students, whereas those that sprayed those chemical weapons physically harmed students.

MARYAM ALWAN: Yeah, I think it's a testament to the Palestinian exception to free speech. Um, I thought I came to Colombia because I thought it was a progressive space for people who care about social justice and human rights. And at every turn I have been shown that that doesn't apply to Palestinians like myself.

You know, my peers, my classmates have friends and family that are still trapped under the rubble and Gaza and we are being criminalized on our own campus. Quite literally being taken out in zip ties because our president thought that we were a threat. [02:06:00] 

FRANCESCA FIORENTINI - HOST, THE BITCHUATION ROOM: So that was Mariam Alwan, the last voice there. And I just thought that was, you know, the Palestinian exception to free speech.

Is this a perfect way to put it? Um, And they're so inspiring. Um, what's, what's leadership doing, Neda? What's, uh, you know, I think there's, there's no accident here that, uh, hundreds of students are arrested at Columbia the same week that their president, um, goes in front of Congress and gives, again, the most.

Elitist and back, like, spineless, indefensible display. Like, just, like, if you were a Columbia student, or an alum, or an administrator, this is embarrassing. You didn't learn from the Princeton president? You didn't learn, or Harvard president? Like, practice a little bit, and here, here you are, uh, this is, uh, uh, Ms.


REP. LISA MCCLAIN: My question to you, are mobs shouting, From the river to the [02:07:00] sea, Palestine will be free. Or long live the infantata. Are those anti semitic comments? When I hear those terms, I find them very upsetting, and I have heard That's a great answer to a question I didn't ask, so let me repeat the question.

When mobs or people are shouting from the river to the sea, Palestine must be free, or long live the Infantata, are those anti Semitic statements? Yes or no? It's not how you feel. It's, I hear them as such. 

MINOUCHE SHAFIK: Some people don't. We have sent a clear message. So is that yes? So is that yes? We have sent a clear message to our community.

I'm not asking about the message. 

REP. LISA MCCLAIN: Is that fall under definition of anti Semitic behavior? Yes or no? Why is it so tough? 

MINOUCHE SHAFIK: Because it's a, it's a, it's a difficult issue because. I realize it's a hear it as anti Semitic, other people do not. 

REP. LISA MCCLAIN: Is when people can't. [02:08:00] answer a simple question and they have a definition, but then they can't, well, I'm not really sure if that qualifies.

So I'm asking a simple question. Maybe I should ask your task force. Does that qualify as anti Semitic behavior? Those statements? Yes or no? Yes. Okay. Do you agree with your task force? We agree. The question is, so the question, so yes, you do agree that those are, that is anti Semitic behavior. Yes or no? And, you should be, there should be some consequences to that anti Semitic behavior.

We're in agreement. Yes? Yes. Thank you. I yield my time. 

FRANCESCA FIORENTINI - HOST, THE BITCHUATION ROOM: This, like, I could talk forever about this and I won't, but this is so much more significant than, this is, this goes beyond Palestine, but, but it is amazing that the issue, this is a Michigan Republican, um, McLean, what is her [02:09:00] name? Lisa McLean. And. You know, this is at a time when, you know, universities are already on the ropes for being woke, for being expensive, for being elite, for being all the things, and then this is their fucking undoing.

They can't stand up and say, no, the intifada, not infitada, but also fritatas are not inherently anti semitic, is not inherently anti semitic, that is not what it means. It doesn't mean that it's not. Death to Jews. End of story. That's, and to, just before we go on, I'm sorry, to underscore how ill equipped these elitists are to deal with a clear issue of freedom of speech, here is another representative asking her whether she wants Columbia University to be condemned by God.

And she fucking engages this question earnestly. 

REP. RICK ALLEN: Are you familiar with Genesis 12 3? [02:10:00] 

MINOUCHE SHAFIK: Probably not as well as you are a Congressman. 

REP. RICK ALLEN: Well, it's pretty clear. It was a covenant God made with Abraham. And, uh, that covenant was real clear. Uh, if you bless Israel, I will bless you. If you curse Israel, I will curse you.

And then in the new Testament, it was confirmed that all nations would be blessed through you. So. You do not know about that. 

MINOUCHE SHAFIK: I have heard that now that you've explained it. Yes, I have heard that 

REP. RICK ALLEN: before. It's now familiar. Uh, do you consider that a serious issue? I mean, do you want Columbia University to be cursed by God?

Of the Bible? 

MINOUCHE SHAFIK: Definitely not. 

FRANCESCA FIORENTINI - HOST, THE BITCHUATION ROOM: So I feel like that example of this. Like libs will never get [02:11:00] it and they will never save us. Like In just one, that dude is very serious about God cursing Columbia University because they are, he's a clear Christian Zionist, he doesn't want anything to be, you know, anyone to criticize the state of Israel because all the Jews need to go there before Jesus comes back and kills a third of them, or two thirds of them, and she's like, Entertaining this, of course not, representative.

And he's like, good, like these are the people who are defending us. I think fucking not, this is so serious to me. It's just terrifying that these people are leading these institutions. Like fucking anyone could have, are you, this is the thing I said last time, have they not been watching? Do you just, like, literal ivory tower, does the ivory tower not get Fox News?

Do you not [02:12:00] know that the shit's changed out here?

Why are college endowments so massive? Part 1 - Good Work - Air Date - 10-26-23

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. All schools with students who could probably Venmo someone to have me killed. But even more impressive than how rich their students are is the size of these universities endowments. Over the last few decades, the story of higher education's concentrated wealth has been told through the growth of endowment funds.

Many of which are larger than the GDPs of entire countries. And I'm not talking fake countries like Luxembourg. I mean real ones, like Estonia, Honduras, and Iceland. Or Iceland is fake, but you get the point. And yet, as endowments have balked up, the cost of attending these upper echelon universities has also gone bananas mode.

An endowment is a donation of money or property to a nonprofit organization, which then invest the endowment and uses the resulting investment income for a specific purpose. But to understand college endowment specifically, we should first refer to the American Council of Education.

Who's president suspiciously looks like a man I bumped into at a swingers party in Hoboken last night. It was a good [02:13:00] time. Higher ed institutional endowments are defined as an aggregation of assets invested by a college or university to support its education and research mission in perpetuity. So it's basically a big investment account made up of charitable donations, money that a school uses to function today and well into the future.

Sometimes these donations are made for a specific thing, like a new dining hall or professor's salary, and sometimes they're unrestricted gifts. People often think of an endowment as a humongous Santy Claus bag that colleges can reach into and make it rain whenever they want. But the reality is much more complicated than just that.

MELISSA KORN: We refer to it as an endowment, but it's generally a collection of hundreds or even thousands of smaller investment funds that are each endowed for different purposes. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: That's Melissa Corn, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who focuses on higher education. And I don't mean students smoking reefer at UC Boulder.

I mean Princeton. 

MELISSA KORN: So, to talk about the endowment spending is a lot more complicated than just writing one bigger [02:14:00] check in a given year. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: So instead of one big bag, endowments are more like a collection of fanny packs, each stuffed with an individual donation, sometimes given for a specific spending purpose.

And while colleges, like the alma mater of Ted Kaczynski, have endowments of over 50 billion dollars, it's not like that for everyone. In one survey of 670, 000, 78 academic institutions, 20 percent reported having endowments worth over 1 billion. But over 50 percent had endowments of less than 250 million.

BRIAN GALLE: Now, let's be clear, there are lots of institutions around the country that don't have substantial endowments and don't have this. Opportunity, but there are others that do. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Brian Gaul is a professor at Georgetown University's Law Center who has previously written about the rising cost of college and how well endowed they are.

And just like when you see a hot dad pushing a $5,000 stroller around West Village, whenever you look at these elite colleges, you wonder. How they made all their money 

MELISSA KORN: because they've been collecting money for a really, really long time, and they have very sophisticated investment [02:15:00] managers handling that money.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Thank you, Melissa. Your reportering allows us to dust off the rarely used good work formula for big swing and endowment. Pile of money, plus sophisticated investment managers, plus loss of time, equals ginormous pile of money. Now, compared to everyone else, these top tier schools have been rich for a long time.

But it wasn't until the year 1985 that these endowments really kicked into high gear. That's the year a rootin tootin cowboy by the name of David Swenson swaggered into a little one horse town called New Haven, Connecticut. There's 

MELISSA KORN: certainly a cult of personality that was around David Swenson. He was seen as just a fantastic thoughtful, smart investor who was very successful in growing Yale's endowment.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: In the 80s Ivy League sex symbol, David Swensen revolutionized endowment investing by coining what became known as the Yale model. 

MELISSA KORN: He really helped shift to these kind of higher return investments. So shifting away from kind of the more generic stocks and bonds stuff. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Today that looks like investing in your usual house in Connecticut stuff.

[02:16:00] Private equity. Hedge funds and real estate. And boy, did Swenson's model cook. When Swenson took over at Yale, the endowment was about 1 billion. When he died in 2021, it was about 31 billion. Shabooya! No matter how good you excel, chimps think you are at your jobs. Ain't none of you putting up wilt numbers like my boy D.

Swizzle. In fact, the Swensen model was so successful that in the years since, other elite colleges have either basically copied Swensen's approach or hired his employees to help run their endowments. 

MELISSA KORN: Many people who worked for him have gone on to really successful careers at other investment arms of universities, so clearly something worked well.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: The wealthiest 15 universities ended 2022 with an average endowment of over 21 billion dollars. Higher education has so much money tied up into it, you'd think it was the pantaloons of Mr. Monopoly.

 But all of this money begs the question, why? 

BRIAN GALLE: Economists say that the reason that an institution like, uh, A college should have an endowment as basically as a [02:17:00] rainy day fund. If you have a sudden downturn in your revenues, you, you know, your students all have to stay home because there's a pandemic, you still have to pay the rent and you have to pay the salaries of all the tenured faculty like me and so on.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: So it is a good idea to have money saved in case the proverbial sh hits the proverbial fan. This is true for everybody, but especially colleges, whose society relies on to crank out aimless 20 somethings. regardless of the economic environment. And yet, during the pandemic, while rainy day endowment spending did help some schools weather the storm, some of the most loaded colleges still face salary freezes.

But another reason why colleges need big stockpiles of money in addition to unpredictable economic phenomenon is the predictable economic phenomenon of inflation.

I'm sorry, that's inflation. 

BRIAN GALLE: The other thing that colleges and universities sometimes say is like, their costs go up faster than inflation. So the argument that a university might offer is we're saving up money now. [02:18:00] Because we're afraid that education costs are going to keep getting expensive in the future.

So to make our tuition affordable in the future, we've got to put money away today. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: And look, ask any one of my drinkin pals from my Lehman days and they'll tell ya. I'm all for stockpiling money, but watching Dartmouth stockpile billions of dollars for the future can be a tough pill to swallow for families who might need to shoulder the burden of higher tuition, even when there might be very good reason for schools to be financially prepared.

MELISSA KORN: It's a tough question, because I, I understand when you look at the returns over a long period of time, you look at inflation, say if the school is really trying to be as much of a power in a hundred years as it is now, yes, they need to keep earning. And growing at this rate in order to just keep up with inflation, let alone anything else.

But that's really hard to stomach when you see students struggling with debt, parents struggling with debt. There's a hardship for families while these schools are just sitting on this growing nest egg. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: And finally, besides rainy day funds and preparing for [02:19:00] inflation, there's one more reason why schools stockpile money that I think we can all agree with.

Being rich is absolutely dope. 

BRIAN GALLE: Rich and influential institutions generally are not that eager to give up their wealth and influence. And if you ask them, why are you so rich and influential? I think the question answers itself. It's because it's good to be rich. And it's good to be influential. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Now you're speaking my language, professor.

Being rich buys you influence. You think that he called it FTX Arena because they liked hanging out with this guy? But in the world of higher education, being rich also buys you something else. Prestige. 

BRIAN GALLE: Non profit educational institutions. don't maximize either revenues or the number of students that they admit they maximize prestige.

Calls for divestment from Israel face resistance - The World - Air Date 5-1-24

MARCO WERMAN - HOST, THE WORLD: A lot of eyes around the world are on college campuses across the U. S. and at major universities in other countries where pro Palestinian demonstrations have become progressively volatile. Divest from Israel is one of the rallying cries from student protesters. They are pointing to [02:20:00] successful efforts in the 1980s to force universities to divest from companies that did business in apartheid South Africa.

Years later, a similar effort was aimed at investments with fossil fuel companies. But divestment campaigns are not what they're cracked up to be, argues Vitold Hennisch. He's the Vice Dean and Faculty Head of the Environmental, Social, and Governance Initiative at the Wharton School. Hennisch told me it helps to first understand what major university investment portfolios look like.

WITOLD J. HENISZ: They own some stocks directly, like any investor, they may hold and purchase stock certificates, but they also invest indirectly and still be a range of asset managers. Some in the private equity space, some who hold large portfolios. Sometimes they're investing with people who invest in other people. So there are a lot of indirect holdings and those are much more difficult to kind of do.

track down and account for, especially when some of those investment managers might be making trades every day or every week. And so it's really hard to actually roll that up to know what the university owns at a given moment in time. 

MARCO WERMAN - HOST, THE WORLD: So given that [02:21:00] when you hear about these calls for divestment in this case from Israel, let's set aside for a moment the question of whether that demand is reasonable.

How feasible is that? 

WITOLD J. HENISZ: Well, it's certainly easier with the direct holdings, and it becomes increasingly difficult as you move into indirect holdings, especially with large portfolios of companies. And, you know, it's not impossible, but it's costly. I think the bigger question is, you know, what goal is served by this?

What purpose? And is it worth bearing those costs? And so, you know, it would be costly. It's not easy, but but let's really look at the efficacy of it to decide whether it's worth undertaking those costs. 

MARCO WERMAN - HOST, THE WORLD: What about zeroing in on weapons manufacturers? Would it be possible for universities to sell holdings in funds and businesses?

That make weapons uniquely. 

WITOLD J. HENISZ: Yeah. That's one of the, one of the longest standing divestment campaigns, uh, actually starting in the Quaker movement. That's, uh, you know, prominent here in Philadelphia where the warden school is based, uh, and other pacifist investors, uh, to rule out weapons manufacturers from portfolios because of the concern about association with war [02:22:00] and, uh, or landmines.

Or other weapons. You know, even that becomes tricky. You know, when Russia invaded Ukraine, suddenly, uh, investing in weapons manufacturing seemed a lot more legitimate or, uh, reasonable for many people. And so, you know, all of these ironclad decisions of what's acceptable or what's not acceptable seem simple at first until you get into the nuance of execution or the, you know, the context, uh, of actually making that happen in over the long term.

And, and you start realizing that some exceptions are worth discussing and, and describing and going into detail. 

MARCO WERMAN - HOST, THE WORLD: So it calls in the 1980s for divestment from South Africa did have a big impact in what ways was that social movement successful in it in accomplishing its goals? 

WITOLD J. HENISZ: Well, everyone always points to that movement.

Uh, you know, we always go back and it's pretty amazing. We have to go back 40 years to find a case of 35 to 40 years to find a case that people think was successful. So something about the power of divestment that we should, uh, Delve into more, I hope. But even the South African case where there were prominent campaigns across university campuses, [02:23:00] including at Columbia, have been questioned in the academic research.

How important was the divestment campaign versus shifts of opinion among the South African business community, uh, among, uh, you know, prominent South Africans looking at different alternatives. I'm not saying it didn't play a role. But the, there is, uh, research suggesting the role has been exaggerated and that there were many factors in play.

And we really have to look at the whole system to understand, uh, the shifts that occurred around the end of the apartheid era. And so divestment was not the sole factor or the only factor in play. At best, it was part of a larger, uh, de legitimation of the apartheid era regime. 

MARCO WERMAN - HOST, THE WORLD: Yeah. Let me just double check what you're saying.

You're saying we don't need to go. As far back to South Africa, that there are more recent success stories. 

WITOLD J. HENISZ: No, I'm saying we, we do, we have to go back 35 years to find an example that people think worked, and even that example may not have worked as well as people thought. So I think we really need to talk more about the challenges of divestment and why it often [02:24:00] fails to achieve its objectives to give you the logic behind what the challenges are of divestment.

What we're doing is we're saying, I really care about an issue. Let's use the example of fossil fuels. I really care about the climate transition. So I want to divest my portfolio from stocks that I don't think are aligned with my values. Fossil fuel companies. I want to divest from all the fossil fuel companies.

Now when I sell someone's buying those fossil fuel companies And presumably they care less about the climate transition than I do. So what have I done? I've taken ownership of a fossil fuel company And i've transferred it from someone who cares about the climate transition to someone who doesn't care Let's make it concrete.

If university endowments sell, maybe the Saudi Saudis and the Russians are buying oil companies. Are we better off on the climate transition if we do that? We have to remember that every sale has a buyer and if the people who care sell The people who don't care or who are opposed to us are buying.

We're giving up our voice and we're giving it to the other side. [02:25:00] Is that in our interests? That's the problem behind divestment campaigns. It sounds powerful. It sounds like you're doing something, but what you're really doing is walking away and disengaging from the issue. Disengagement sounds a lot less powerful and exciting than divestment, but we use the divestment term and we keep sticking with it.

And pointing to an example 35 years ago as a potential success story. I think we should really raise questions about the power of divestment campaigns. They're much more limited than we think. 

Why are college endowments so massive? Part 2 - Good Work - Air Date - 10-26-23

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Since 1990, just a few years after David Swenson took over Yale's endowment, average tuition and fees at public four year universities have nearly tripled after adjusting for inflation. Inflation. And nearly doubled at private institutions. In 2022, the average tuition price at a U. S. private college was just under 40, 000 a year, which is 4 percent higher than it was the previous year.

40? thousand dollars. Which, if you quickly search on Craigslist, could get you a John Deere backhoe, a Steinway piano, or this adorable coffee shop in Brooklyn. Bet you feel dumb now, [02:26:00] juniors at Emory. Three years of tuition down the drain when you could have been living it up, backhoe salon style. Instead, you're just hungover, cheating on your communications homework.

Idiots. Tuition increases have culminated in a dramatic rise in student debt. But wait a minute. Shouldn't these big ol endowments we were talking about earlier help foot these tuition bills? 

BRIAN GALLE: Colleges couldn't allocate more of their endowment towards tuition. There's no question about that. They could do that.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: But that ain't really how the cookies crumble. According to a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, wealthier colleges and universities only modestly increase the generosity of aid packages. Colleges and universities appear to use greater endowment wealth to increase spending and become more selective, resulting in higher institutional rankings.

Which sounds pretty good. Especially when you remember that these universities are non profit, so their endowments aren't taxable. However, schools will tell you that it's not as simple as just reallocating endowment spend towards financial aid. Like we said earlier, charitable gifts are given by donors for specific purposes.

If I give Seton Hall a million bucks to build the [02:27:00] Dan Toomey naked statue of journalistic worship, I'd be pretty pissed if it went towards something stupid like free textbooks. You've got a lot 

MELISSA KORN: of money from very wealthy alums, business tycoons who say, I have this pet project, I have this passion, there's this research thing I want to fund, I want my money to go here.

And if you don't put it there, I'm going to pull the money. But 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Come on, can't you just level with people? Can't you say, Hey, Jason Momoa, we know you want us to build that underwater powerlifting temple in your honor, but what if we'd used your donation to help send a few more kids to school? Well, according to Melissa, in a perfect world, it's part of the job of development offices to work with donors and direct gifts towards the areas of greatest need.

MELISSA KORN: The development office of the university is doing its job. They are trying to bring in as much unrestricted money as possible, because that allows the school to spend the money in ways that they see 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: fit. Which is not to say that these elite schools aren't trying hard to make their educations more accessible.

MELISSA KORN: The wealthiest universities [02:28:00] have made a concerted effort to lower the cost for the neediest students, so they, even if they're only putting in a small percent of their endowments toward financial aid, that's a small percent of billions of dollars. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Indeed, some elite schools like Princeton, Brown, and Cornell have virtually eliminated tuition for low income students.

An initiative these schools continue to pursue. In Princeton's budget for this year, they increased undergrad financial aid by 26%. Princeton is now free for most families who earn less than 100, 000 a year. But even with steps like this, universities are still spending just a sliver of their endowments that continue to grow.

And while others across the country struggle to meet the price of higher education, it makes a newsboy like me wonder if we've experimented with any other measures. Berea College, for example, is a small liberal arts school in Kentucky who's used their wealth to take the radical step of eliminating tuition for students.

ABBIE DARST: Berea College is a tuition free institution. We were founded in 1855, and we haven't charged tuition for our students since [02:29:00] 1892. And the way that that works is, basically, we fund our tuition through a grant. mostly through our endowment in 1920. Our board of trustees decided that they would take all of our unrestricted bequests and place those into our endowment.

Now that endowment has grown to where it can sustain supporting the majority of the money we need to run the college and pay for the tuition of all of our students. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Maria is able to pull this off by dedicating a full 5 percent of their endowment return each year towards tuition being extremely frugal with other operating costs.

and keeping their student body small. Tuition is also supported by federal grants and about five million dollars annually in donations. And Berea's roughly billion dollar endowment is a pretty common size for a highly ranked liberal arts college. They just spend a ton of money covering tuition so they can't afford dorms that look like Hogwarts.

But it's hard to look at the way Berea spends money and not wonder if the Ivies of the world could be doing more. Like this. Teach more students? I don't know. 

BRIAN GALLE: The other thing that's out there is the opportunity to expand, so [02:30:00] like franchise. I mean, in a way, the University of California system has done this, instead of just having Cal, we now have UCLA and Irvine and San Diego and UCSF and all of those have really exceptional programs, and I don't know if we could have like a Harvard Western Mass.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: I don't want that many pretentious kids around the U. S.

has basically stayed the same. But one population that has grown expediently on elite college campuses over the past few decades has been big money guys on the boards of trustees. 

MELISSA KORN: There are a lot of private equity, venture capital, real estate folks on those boards who happen to have, you know, private equity firms that the endowment then puts money in, which is very convenient and not illegal.

It's not wrong for them to do it. They just close it, so it's, you know, You know, if it's seen as a conflict of interest, it's out there in the public. No one's hiding it, but they still do it. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Going back to our rootin tootin cowboy, David Swenson, for a moment, [02:31:00] the Yale model inspired colleges to be involved in private financing in more ways than one.

In 1989, amongst the wealthiest universities, only 17 percent of board members were financiers. That number jumped to over 30%, where it's stayed since 2014. And a bunch of those folks come from private equity and hedge funds. The same investment funds who rely on endowment capital to fund their operation and pay out their huge fees.

So we know endowments serve to make prestigious schools like these We know endowments are one of the biggest source of funding for high performing investment funds like hedge funds and private equity. But will the richest schools in the world ever find a way to use the immense wealth at their disposal to make all of this less expensive?

Brian, no more sitting in the back of class. If universities were to start spending their endowments broadly, where would you like to see that allocated? 

BRIAN GALLE: You know, on affordability. We know that people who graduate from the most select schools Universities tend to do very well professionally, and we also know that it's exceedingly difficult to get into one of those places [02:32:00] unless you're very rich.

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Maybe even more optimistically, could these elite universities ever figure out how to share some of their immense wealth with these less prestigious schools who don't have these kinds of. ball dropping endowments and likely never will. 

MELISSA KORN: A lot of historically black colleges, for instance, have very small endowments.

Uh, for a number of reasons, including that historically the students who went there came from backgrounds of more modest means and, you know, had to borrow money to attend college. So when they get out of school, they're not putting money into their bank accounts, they're repaying loans. And you have this intergenerational wealth concern, wealth issue.

Graduates of these schools, even if they're very successful, often can't afford to give millions back to their institution. The endowments stay small and it feeds on itself. 

DAN TOOMEY - HOST, GOOD WORK: Elite colleges stay elite because their financial infrastructure is made to uphold and exponentially grow wealth. Pretty much forever.

But the system is designed to do more than just prepare for the future. It's designed to build prestige. But good lord, how much money does one need to be prestigious? I feel like after, after the 10 billion mark, we all get the [02:33:00] point. Maybe these rich schools could try a little harder to make the system more affordable and serve more people across the board, which is something we clearly need.

Like instead of building a new DJ training center, Looking at you, NYU. Perhaps the endowment stockpile could be spread amongst the schools that need it. How do you like them apples?

E: Media CriticismSection E Intro

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: And finally you've arrived at section E which finishes the show with more media criticism around the protests.

@katzonearth - cc @CNN Standards & Practices - Air Date 5-1-24

DANA BASH: The fear among Jews in this country is palpable right now. 

JONATHAN KATZ: So that story by Dana Bash on CNN is one of the worst pieces of journalism I have seen on an American news channel in my life. Take that for what you will. She's talking about campus protests for Palestine against genocide in solidarity with Gaza.

This is how she starts 

DANA BASH: inside politics. I'm Dana Bash. We start with destruction, violence, and hate on college campuses across the country.[02:34:00] 

JONATHAN KATZ: So I'll give you a spoiler here. She doesn't give a single example of violence, destruction, or hate on an American college campus. I'm not saying that. Those couldn't happen. I'm just saying she doesn't have any examples of them, which is a really telling thing if you're going to do a story, if you're going to do an opening package on your show about an epidemic of violence, destruction, and hate on American college campuses.

Instead, she gives examples of police attacking student protesters on college campuses. That's different. That's the opposite. She says, for instance, the NYPD was able to clear Columbia University after protesters barricaded themselves inside a campus building she also uses one other example at UCLA. This is what she says about that.

DANA BASH: Around the same time that UCLA, pro Israel, and pro Palestinian groups were attacking each [02:35:00] other, hurling all kinds of objects. A wood pallet. 

JONATHAN KATZ: Attacking each other. Here's how the Los Angeles Times reported it. Over several hours, counter demonstrators, meaning pro Israel counter demonstrators, hurled objects, including wood and a metal barrier, at the camp and those inside.

Fights repeatedly broke out. Some tried to force their way into the camp, and the pro Palestinian side used pepper spray to defend themselves. Fireworks were also launched into the camp. Here's what that looked like.

The guy yelling free Palestine is being ironic. He's a pro Israel counter protester. You can look at that video yourself. You'll see that people who are getting attacked are the ones wearing keffiyehs. The, the Gaza Solidarity encampment, uh, the LA Times also reports that [02:36:00] the pro Israel counter protesters were shouting Second Nakba, a reference to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs, non Jewish Palestinian Arabs from 1947 to 1949 in what is now the state of Israel.

So, um, there's other videos of just these guys relentlessly beating the Palestinian, pro Palestinian protesters. Um, so again, not really an example of violence and hate coming from the pro Palestinian side. Maybe there are examples like that out there. Dana Bash didn't have any. She then simply repeats a statement by New York mayor, Eric Adams, claiming that professional outside agitators were involved in the Columbia protests.

Maybe there were, but also that is a thing that authorities always claim is happening in every protest. And the only example that, uh, the NYPD or the New [02:37:00] York mayor have come forward with as proof that there are outside actors in that protest was a bike lock that was available for purchase on the Columbia University.

Department of Public Safety website. Okay. Then she gets into her analysis. 

DANA BASH: Many of these protests started peacefully with legitimate questions about the war, but in many cases they lost the plot. They're calling for a ceasefire. 

JONATHAN KATZ: Okay. So right off the bat, this is wrong. The protests on most of the college campuses, at least the ones that I'm familiar with, are calling primarily for divestment.

They're calling for their institutions to divest from Israel, to stop investing in Israel, to stop study abroad programs to Israel. Um, they're not so much calling for a ceasefire. Some people are, I am, um, but I don't think actually that's the point of most of these protests. So that's just a fundamental error.

Um, then she says this. 

DANA BASH: They lost [02:38:00] the plot. They're calling for a ceasefire. Well, there was a ceasefire on October 6th, the day before Hamas terrorists brutally murdered more than a thousand people inside Israel and took hundreds more as hostages. 

JONATHAN KATZ: So that's a talking point that you hear all the time. You hear it on pro Israel lives here on TikTok.

It's wrong. It's a lie. This is a story from the Associated Press from September, 2023. Okay. October 7th, the month before October, September. In September, Israel strikes Gaza for the third straight day as West Bank violence escalates. And you can go into more detail than that. There was functionally no ceasefire.

I don't know what people are talking about. I understand, to a certain extent, trolls trying to use that talking point. I don't understand a reporter for CNN just straight up repeating that lie. It's just, it's just not true. It's just fundamentally not true. Moving on. 

DANA BASH: Hostages. This hour, I'll speak to an American Israeli family [02:39:00] whose son is still held captive by Hamas since that horrifying day that brought us to this moment.

You don't hear the pro Palestinian protesters talking about that. 

JONATHAN KATZ: So I don't know if protesters are talking about it, but I'll talk about it. This is from a story in the Times of Israel, right wing Israeli newspaper Um, the headline is no doubt Netanyahu preventing hostage deal charges ex boastmen of families forum.

And this says, we later found out that Hamas had offered on October 9th or 10th to release all of the civilian hostages in exchange for the Israeli military, not entering the strip, but the government rejected the offer. I don't know. I didn't watch her segment. I don't know. Maybe she asked the family about that.

Alright, now she brings it all home. 

DANA BASH: In protesters talking about that, we will. Now, protesting the way the Israeli government, the Israeli prime minister is prosecuting the retaliatory war against Hamas is one thing. Making [02:40:00] Jewish students feel unsafe at their own schools is unacceptable. And it is happening way too much.

Right now. 

STUDENT: I'm a UCLA student. I deserve to go here. We pay tuition. This is our school and they're not letting me walk in. 

JONATHAN KATZ: So again, maybe there are actual examples of this but that example that she's talking about that's this guy He is well, here's who he is 

STUDENT: last couple of weeks We have witnessed broken mosque protesters setting up encampments all over the country While they cower behind their masks and hide who they are We stand tall and proudly invoice our message to the world, Israel is not going anywhere!

JONATHAN KATZ: I mean, come on. That, that guy is clearly not being prevented from going through the encampment because he's Jewish. He's prevented from going through the encampment because he's a pro Israel troll. He's their political opponent who, look at his [02:41:00] Instagram page. He goes around harassing the protesters.

That's your example? That's your example, Dana? That's your example that you're going to use to lead into that? 

STUDENT: Just let me and my friends go in. 

DANA BASH: Again, what you just saw is 2024 in Los Angeles, hearkening back to the 1930s in Europe. 

JONATHAN KATZ: It's just dishonest. And yeah, maybe the fear among some Jews in this country is palpable right now. I think it is. Might that have to do with misleading reports like this one?

Jewish Columbia Student Debunks Media Narrative About Protest - The Rational National - Air Date 4-24-24

DAVID DOEL - HOST, THE RATIONAL NATIONAL: So, Columbia University Apartheid, I V S C U A D.

This is a piece from November, but this is the overall, this is what they're about. Clem University Apartheid Divest is a coalition of student organizations that see Palestine as the vanguard for our collective liberation. We are a continuation of the Vietnam anti war movement and the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa.

We support freedom and [02:42:00] justice for the Palestinian people and for all people. We know that true collective safety will arise when everyone has access to clean air, clean water, food, housing, education, health care, freedom of movement, and dignity. And this was just, you know, short, this was a month into, uh, Apartheid Israel's bombing campaign of, of civilians in Gaza.

And so this was what the group was saying at the time. They are calling their main. Demand here is financial divestment calling, uh, or saying divest all of Columbia's finances, including the endowment from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine.

Ensure accountability by increasing transparency around financial divestment. Investments. And, uh, Rifka Brown goes on to say, From what I can tell, the sole demand of Columbia University Apartheid divest is that the university divest as it already has begun to do. From eight companies that uphold Israeli Apartheid.

Eight companies. [02:43:00] Columbia has an endowment of 13. 64 billion. We're talking about pennies. Now what she likes to hear is a bit outdated in terms of, uh, this piece here. So this may include more companies at this point. I'm not sure, but some worth noting, I mean, Caterpillar Hyundai, uh, Hewlett Packard, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which this is where we get to the connection to media, I often see segments on NBC.

And I'm likely others sponsored by Boeing massive advertiser of many of these media companies as is Lockheed Martin as is as are many of these when you begin to challenge corporate power that is when the media turns on you that's why they turned on Bernie or I wouldn't say turned on but that's why they were always against Bernie Sanders that's why they've been more willing recently to To discuss the obvious genocide happening in, in, in, uh, occupied, [02:44:00] in the occupied territories, but when it comes to these protests, now that they can instead focus on these protests and demonizing the protests, they're able to completely ignore the actual situation going on in Gaza by demonizing these protests and making them seem scary, anti Semitic.

And part of that being because these protests are calling to divest from massive corporations that also support those same media companies. Now, this is the stuff you're not hearing in, in the press, 28 unions representing tens of thousands of workers signed a solidarity statement demanding the immediate reinstatement of all student and student workers disciplined for pro Palestine protests and the end to the repression of protests on Columbia's campus.

In addition to that, massive faculty walkout at Columbia opposing the university's decision to call an NYPD on Palestine solidarity protests. Weird how this wasn't a bigger [02:45:00] story. When you have the faculty walking out in solidarity with the students. This gets to this piece from Zateo. This is, uh, Mehdi Hassan's new media outlet.

This piece written by a Jewish student at Columbia. Saying, don't believe what you're being told about campus antisemitism. Smears from the press and pro Israel influencers. Are a dangerous distraction from real threats to our safety. So I am going to link to the full piece below. It's really worth the read.

Um, because there's details here that I'm not going to get into because, you know, the piece is too long. I'm not going to read the whole thing. But it's, it's worth checking out yourself. But this goes around how the media is clearly not focusing on the correct things. So he goes on to write here, Columbia responded by imposing a miniature police state responding to the protests, and this was like 24 hours later.

By the way, the protests were barely even, uh, you know, starting, and Columbia had already sent in the police. [02:46:00] Just over a day after the account was formed, University President Manoush Shafiq asked and authorized the New York Police Department to clear the lawn and load 108 students, including a number of Jewish students, onto Department of Corrections buses to be held at NYPD headquarters.

One Jewish student told me that her fellow protests were restrained in zip tie handcuffs for eight hours and held in cells where they shared a toilet without privacy. And even the NYPD chief said that students were peaceful, yet they were treated like this. Since then, dozens of undergrads have been locked out of their dorms without notice.

Suspended students cannot return to campus and are struggling to access food and medical care. The often off campus actions unaffiliated individuals simply do not characterize this discipline student campaign. Speaking to The, uh, people that have been caught doing anti semitic stuff within these groups, there, there is Information out there that I'm not, there's so much to go over in this story that honestly it's, it's too much, but [02:47:00] there is some speculation that some of these protests are being infiltrated for obvious reasons to try and, and discredit them and resulting in a lot of the media coverage focusing on these, uh, one off antisemitic incidents.

Involving individuals that have nothing to do with this, with this, with this campaign. The efforts to connect these offensive but relatively isolated incidents to the broader pro Palestinian protest movement mirror a wider strategy to delegitimize all criticism of Israel. As its national discourse over campus anti Semitism reached a boiling point over the weekend, the Gaza Solidarity encampment saw CUAD organizers lead joint Muslim and Jewish prayer sessions and honor each other's dead.

This is wholesome, human stuff it doesn't make for sensationalist headlines about Jew hating Ivy Leaguers. On Monday, I joined hundreds of my fellow student workers for a walkout in solidarity with the encampment. Later that night, a Passover Seder service was held at the encampment. Would an anti Semitic student movement welcome Jews in this way?

I [02:48:00] think not. And then this is the piece that, if there's anything from this that you need to read, it's this. Here's what you're not being told. The most pressing threats to our safety as Jewish students do not come from tents on campus. Instead, they come from Columbia administration, uh, from the Columbia administration, inviting police onto campus, certain faculty members, and third party organizations that dox undergraduates.

Frankly, I regret the fact that writing to confirm the safety of Jewish Ivy League students feels justified in the first place. I have not seen many pundits hand wringing over the safety of my Palestinian colleagues mourning the deaths of family members. Or the destruction of Gaza's cherished universities.

We should be focusing on the material reality of war. And this is what a lot of the media was doing, to be honest, before these protests were calling to, uh, uh, calling on the university to divest from Israel. 

It's just ridiculous for national media [02:49:00] organizations to be focusing on campus protests at all, regardless of what's going on, as opposed to the actual demolition and ongoing genocide in Gaza. 

Closing credits

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: That's going to be it for today. As always keep the comments coming in. I would love to hear your thoughts or questions about this or anything else. You can leave us a voicemail or send us a text at 202-999-3991 or simply email me to [email protected]. The additional sections of the show today included clips from Democracy Now!, Owen Jones, Code Pink Radio, Today In Focus, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Majority Report, Zeteo, The Muckrake Podcast, The Bitchuation Room, Good Work, The World, katzonearth from TikTok, and The Rational National. Further details are in the show notes. Thanks everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their research work for the show and participation in our bonus episodes. [02:50:00] Thanks to our Transcriptionist Quartet, Ken, Brian, Ben, and Andrew, for their volunteer work helping put our transcripts together. Thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work behind the scenes and her bonus show co-hosting. And thanks to those who already support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships. You can join them by signing up today at bestoftheleft.com/support, through our Patreon page, or from right inside the Apple podcast app. Membership is how you get instant access to our incredibly good and often funny weekly bonus episodes, in addition to there being no ads and chapter markers in all of our regular episodes, all through your regular podcast player. You'll find that link in the show notes, along with the link to join our Discord community, where you can also continue the discussion. 

So, coming to from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington DC, my name is Jay, and this has been the Best of the Left podcast coming to you twice weekly, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show, from bestoftheleft.com

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  • Jay Tomlinson
    published this page in Transcripts 2024-05-07 18:08:27 -0400
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