‘This is 1984’: Faculty participation in pro-Hamas demonstrations a ‘wake-up call’ for Americans, professor says

Mass participation of faculty in pro-Hamas demonstrations marks an inflection point in American history, according to Asaf Romirowsky.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

University faculty have been joining pro-Hamas demonstrators in taking over US campuses over the past week, fueling concerns that higher education institutions have become hatcheries of dangerous, anti-Western political ideologies that foster hatred for Israel and could hasten a new age of antisemitism.

A wave of anti-Israel demonstrations has erupted on university campuses across the US over the past week, beginning at Columbia University in New York City.

Since last week, college students have been amassing in the hundreds at a growing number of schools, taking over sections of campuses by setting up “Gaza Solidarity Encampments” and refusing to leave unless administrators condemn and boycott Israel.

Footage of the protests has shown demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas, calling for the destruction of Israel, and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus.

In many cases, activists have also lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

On many campuses — including George Washington University in Washington, DC, New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, and the University of Southern California, among others — members of the faculty have attached themselves to the anti-Israel, pro-Hamas demonstrations.

In some instances, faculty attempted to prevent police from dispersing unauthorized demonstrations and detaining lawbreakers, resulting in their arrest.

That happened, for example, on Thursday at Emory University in Atlanta, where economics professor Caroline Fohlin intervened to stop the arrest of a student.

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In response, officers tackled her to the ground while she said repeatedly, “I’m a professor!”

At Northeastern University in Boston, professors formed a human barrier around a student encampment to stop its dismantling by officers, and at the University of Texas at Austin, members of the group Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine have openly called for the resignation of their president, Jay Hartzell, because he requested police assistance in restoring order.

At Columbia University, anti-Zionist faculty at the school, as well its affiliate Barnard College, staged a walkout in support of the demonstrations and demanded the abeyance of disciplinary sanctions against anti-Zionist students — dozens of whom cheered Hamas and threatened more massacres of Jews similar to Oct. 7 — who have violated school rules.

“We are working to overturn the student suspensions that have been issued and to ensure that administrators are not allowed to summon the NYPD [New York City Police Department] on a whim, when there is self-evidently no danger,” the faculty said. “Most of all we want you to feel at home here.”

Mass participation of faculty in pro-Hamas demonstrations marks an inflection point in American history, according to Asaf Romirowsky, an expert on the Middle East and executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Since the 1960s, he told The Algemeiner on Friday, far-left “scholar activists” have gradually seized control of the higher education system, tailoring admissions processes and the curricula to foster ideological radicalism and conformity, which students then carry with them into careers in government, law, corporate America, and education.

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This system, he concluded, must be challenged.

“The cost of trading scholarship for political propagandizing has been a zeal and pride among faculty who esteem and cheer terrorism, a historical development which is quite telling and indicative of the evolution of the Marxist ideology which has been seeping into the academy since the 1960s,” Romirowsky said.

“The message is very clear to all of us who are looking on from the outside at this, and institutions have to begin drawing a red line. The protests are not about free speech. They are about supporting terrorism, about calling for a genocide of Jews.”

Romirowsky pointed to Columbia University temporarily banning Shai Davidai, an outspoken Jewish professor, from campus as a portent of the gradual embrace among progressives of anti-Jewish attitudes not seen in higher education since Nazis took over German universities in the 1930s.

What the country is witnessing, he continued, is a synthesis of Marxism and fascism which cannot tolerate a liberal-democratic state in which Jews have an active role in public life nor the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.

“This is 1984,” he continued, alluding to George Orwell’s classic novel about a dystopian state.

“As we can see, these rallies are not peaceful as their supporters have insisted. They are violent, verbally and physically. People are ending up in the hospital with injuries. This is analogous to Nazi Germany, and that should be a wake-up call to the American people. If these are the institutions that should be the vanguard of American democracy and Western values and this is what they are producing, we should be seriously questioning the functionality of higher education as a whole.”

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Information about the beliefs of the organizers of the pro-Hamas demonstrations have circulated on social media all week.

On Thursday, it was revealed that a principal organizer of protests at Columbia University, Khymani James, filmed himself proclaiming that Zionists, a category that includes a vast majority of Jews around the world, should be murdered and that they are fortunate that he has not begun killing them himself.

“I think that taking someone’s life in certain case scenarios is necessary and better for the overall world,” James said.

“Be glad, be grateful, that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists … they don’t deserve to live comfortably, let alone, Zionists don’t deserve to live … they shouldn’t live in this world … so yes, I feel very comfortable calling for those people to die.”

On Friday, US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and her daughter — Isra Hirsi, who was recently suspended and arrested for trespassing — were filmed greeting and hugging James while someone nearby said, “We are family, we are family.”

It has been widely reported that Columbia officials are negotiating with James personally to reach a compromise that could end in the university adopting aspects of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in exchange for the end of the demonstration there. Those discussions are ongoing.