Arrest War Criminals, Not Peaceful Students Activists

After 200 days, with over 14,000 children killed and millions more in or facing manufactured famine in Palestine, our government and academic institutions have finally decided to do something about it: crackdown on those peacefully opposing it.

Last Thursday, April 18, marked the beginning of a rapidly growing protest movement when 108 students at Colombia University were arrested and some have been suspended. Over 100 student groups, including Jewish groups, organized the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on greenspace in the center of campus, demanding the university to divest from Israel. It was inspired by previous student demonstrations and sit-ins at Colombia protesting the Vietnam War and divestment from Apartheid South Africa.

Colombia’s president’s decision to send in the police to disband the protest has garnered widespread condemnation.  The New York Police Chief reported no violence and said the protestors were peaceful.

Many at Colombia, including Professor Joseph Slaughter, say that the president’s decision was a clear violation of university rules. Fifty-four Colombia Law School faculty signed a letter saying, “While we as a faculty disagree about the relevant political issues and express no opinion on the merits of the protest, we are writing to urge respect for basic rule-of-law values that ought to govern our university.”

Similar encampments and protests have spread across the nation, including at the University of Minnesota, where 8 students and a staff member were arrested in the early morning of April 23. UMN Divest says that the students could possibly be banned from campus for a year and face other legal charges.

Mass Graves

The protests come in the wake of continued revelations of serious war crimes that are being carried out by Israel in Gaza and as Israeli settler violence sores in the occupied West Bank. Civil defense crews have discovered more than 300 bodies in mass graves outside of Gaza’s two largest hospitals that were sieged by Israel.  

According to the reports, the graves were found hidden buried under piles of waste. The bodies have been identified as including women, elderly, children, patients, and medical staff. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman with the UN’s human rights office, said some of the bodies were “found with their hands tied and stripped of their clothes.”

The UN has demanded an independent investigation into the mass graves. It is unclear if it will be allowed to happen.

Defund Genocide, Not Food Aid

One would think that given near-constant revelations of war crimes being committed by Israel, there would be some semblance of accountability, let alone justice.

The US is quick to act and does so boldly for any actions committed against Israel. Months ago, Israel made an accusation that the main lifeline and aid agency for Gaza, UNRWA, had workers with connections to Hamas. The US then cut hundreds of millions of dollars worth of desperately needed humanitarian aid. To this day, and after a UN investigation, there still is no evidence to support this claim. The Biden Administration has continued not to restore funding to UNRWA.

This pales in comparison to how the US continued to fund Israel’s war machine in the billions despite constant war crimes being not just alleged but proven (commonly filmed proudly by Israeli soldiers themselves).


It’s remarkable that all this coincides with the criminal trial of former President Trump. He’s being charged with a relatively minor crime of falsifying business records over a $130,000 “hush-money” payment. This has been all over the news. The New York Times in particular, the most influential newspaper, is obsessed with it.

Now compare this to not only the media coverage of the mass graves, but of another domestic trial filled against President Biden for his complicity with Israel’s crimes. Speaking anecdotally, there was hardly any coverage of this despite the court ruling that Israel (with the backing of the US) is plausibly committing genocide.

The case was dismissed for jurisdictional grounds, but the U.S. judge “implores” the Biden Administration to stop its “unflagging support” for Israel’s ongoing siege of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

With every non-violent student that continues to be arrested, the hypocrisy will only deepen. International rule-based order’s mask of legitimacy isn’t slipping but collapsing before our eyes.

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