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What a future for the pro-Palestine student movement in the United States?

Photo: Mary Altaffer Associated Press Demonstrators in front of an encampment set up on the campus of New York University on April 22

France Media Agency in New York

Posted at 2:24 p.m.

  • United States

The pro-Palestinian demonstrations which have shaken American campuses for several weeks seek new life on Friday, after dispersals by the police, mass arrests and a severe call to order by the White House.

Early in the morning, police smoothly dismantled an encampment at New York University (NYU), at the institution's request.

On other campuses, the police have intervened manu militari in recent days, such as at Columbia, in New York, and at UCLA, in Los Angeles. Nearly 2,000 people in total were arrested, according to a report established by several American media.

Since April 17, a new wave of mobilization for Gaza has swept across American campuses, from the Atlantic coast to California, evoking (to a lesser extent) the demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to demanding an end to the conflict in Gaza, these students are calling on universities to sever their relations with Israel and disengage from their investments linked to this country. They also denounce the almost unconditional support of the United States for their ally.

Israel is engaged in a massive offensive in the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for the attack of Hamas on October 7 on its soil.

Thursday, during a speech, Democratic President Joe Biden, long silent on the demonstrations, insisted that “order must prevail”. This earned him both criticism from the right, who considered him too complacent, as well as indignation from supporters of the demonstrators. “There is a right to demonstrate, not a right to cause chaos,” said the octogenarian, candidate against Republican Donald Trump in the November presidential election.

His Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, sent a letter to university leaders in which he said he was “incredibly concerned about reports of anti-Semitic hatred against students on some campuses,” according to CNN. “.

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Freedom of expression

The protests have reignited the debate in the United States — already tense, even violent, since the Hamas attack — over freedom of expression, anti-Zionism and what constitutes anti-Semitism. On the one hand, students and teachers accuse their universities of seeking to censor political speech; on the other, several figures, including elected officials in Congress, say that activists are fueling hatred.

The issue could undermine Mr. Biden's race for the House -White. “This could be Biden’s Vietnam,” left-wing Senator Bernie Sanders warned on CNN. “I really fear that President Biden is putting himself in a position where he alienates not only young people, but a large portion of the Democratic base,” he added.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump called the demonstrators “radical left-wing weirdos” who must “stop now.”

The mobilization inspired pro-Palestinian activists to around the world, including at McGill University in Montreal and at the prestigious Parisian school Sciences Po.

In contrast to other institutions, Brown University, in the American state of Rhode Island, agreed with the demonstrators on the dismantling of their encampment in exchange for a vote on possible “divestment”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116