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  4. US: New York student asked why she is protesting against Israel, says 'I don't know' | VIDEO

US: New York student asked why she is protesting against Israel, says 'I don't know' | VIDEO

Massive pro-Palestinian protests are taking place at US universities, demanding they sever financial links with Israel. Police at the University of Texas at Austin aggressively detained dozens on Wednesday in the latest clash between officers and those protesting the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New York Published on: April 25, 2024 16:03 IST
US, pro-Palestinian protests, Israel Hamas war
Image Source : REUTERS Police surround students protesting against the Israel-Hamas war at the University of Southern California.

New York: As pro-Palestinian protests are flaring up across several universities in the United States, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani posted a video which showed two students from the New York University, who don't seem to have a clue why and for whom they are protesting. One of the protesters said that she "did not know what the NYU is doing" while another student wished she was "more educated".

When asked about the protest, the unnamed student said, "The goal is to show our support for Palestine, and demanding that NYU stops... I honestly don't know all of what NYU is doing." She then turned to another student and asked why NYU was protesting against Israel. The second student replied, "I wish I was more educated," to which the first girl said, "I'm not either".

The first student then explained that she studied at Columbia University, which has turned into a flashpoint for anti-Israel protests in all universities, and was told that the students of NYU needed their support. "I heard there are lots of cops, some people said it was getting dangerous," she added.

Giuliani has repeatedly criticised the pro-Palestinian protests in several prestigious US universities, saying they have gone out of control. "Regardless of your opinion on Israel, you don't have the right to infringe on the ability of others to attend class or to feel safe in my city," he said in an earlier post on X. He also visited Columbia University on Tuesday and called for president Minouche Shafik to resign over handling of the crisis.

“[Columbia has] to beat Harvard at something, so I guess they figured they gotta beat them at Jewish hatred,” Giuliani said while slamming the rivalry between the two universities who are currently witnessing massive protests as the nearly seven-month Israel-Hamas war continues.

Student protests at US universities

The pro-Palestinian protests at US universities flared up on Wednesday, as police bulldozed into student protesters at a Texas university and arrested over a dozen people including a local news photographer.   The clashes between police and students were widely reported from the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.

Demonstrators chanted, "Free, free Palestine" as they marched and carried tents on campus. As tensions flared, police were seen pushing back protesters, some of whom fell to the ground. "We want the university to disclose its financial holdings and divest from its relationships with financial institutions. And we want the university to recognize and acknowledge to its student body that there is a genocide happening to our families in Gaza,” a protest organizer who wanted to remain anonymous told Reuters.

Pro-Palestinian groups have called on universities to end investments in companies that support or profit from Israel's military actions in the occupied Palestinian territories. Some Jewish students say the protests have veered into antisemitism and made them afraid to set foot on campus, partly prompting a heavier hand from universities.

Police first tried to clear the encampment at Columbia last week, when they arrested more than 100 protesters. The move backfired, acting as an inspiration for other students across the country to set up similar encampments and motivating protesters at Columbia to regroup. At New York University this week, police said 133 protesters were taken into custody, while over 40 protesters were arrested Monday at an encampment at Yale University.

President Minouche Shafik of Columbia University has come under scrutiny from both faculty and students for summoning the police last week to disband a pro-Palestinian encampment. Several Republican US House Representatives from New York have demanded the resignation of Shafik, expressing a lack of confidence in her leadership amid the crisis.

Netanyahu reacts to protests in US

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the pro-Palestinian demonstrations on US college campuses in a video statement released Wednesday, saying the response of several university presidents has been “shameful” and calling on state, local and federal officials to intervene.

The war in Gaza continues to reverberate through US university campuses where students have camped out in tents as they protested Israel's actions in Gaza, where more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed due to Israel's military offensive in retaliation to an attack by Hamas-led militants on October 7, resulting in the deaths of 1,200 people and over 250 people taken hostages.

Student governments at some colleges in recent weeks have passed resolutions calling for an end to investments and academic partnerships with Israel. Such bills were passed by student bodies at Columbia, Harvard Law, Rutgers and American University. Officials at several universities say they want to have a conversation with students and honour their right to protest, but have echoed concerns of rising antisemitism.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | US college protests flare as police detain anti-Israel protesters, Netanyahu calls demonstrations 'shameful'

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