America is witnessing student revolts; US citizens need to wake up to what’s happening

Dr Amira Abo el-Fetouh

There is no doubt that the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the face of the brutal Zionist aggression has inspired the people of the free world. By sacrificing their lives for their country’s freedom and independence, they are breaking the chains that shackle them. After more than 200 days of the Israeli genocide, people around the world have been inspired by Gaza’s brave resistance. The student protests we are witnessing in American universities is an expression and embodiment of this fact.

Students at Columbia University in the US began a campus sit-in on 18 April to protest against the university’s financial investments in companies that support the Zionist occupation of Palestine. They were shocked into their revolt by the scenes of the massacres committed by the Israeli occupation army. The revolt has spread to other universities, including NYU, Yale, the University of North Carolina, the University of Texas and MIT, among others. Similar student revolts have been seen in universities in France, Turkiye, Malaysia and Indonesia. French students at the Sorbonne in Paris carried out a major protest while French President Emmanuel Macron was visiting the campus.

These protests, especially in the US, have terrified the Zionist entity and prompted it to resort to its default response narrative which claims that accusations of Israeli brutality and racism are “anti-Semitic”.

It is a tired, overused response that nobody with any credibility believes any more.

Predictably, though, that’s what Israel’s extreme far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, called condemnation of his rogue country’s genocidal onslaught against the Palestinians in Gaza.

Ben-Gvir’s comment coincided with a statement by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on X, in which he claimed, outrageously, that: “Anti-Semitism on campuses in the United States is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s. The world cannot stand idly by.” He was obviously trying to invoke German Holocaust guilt, which has served Israel so well for many years. However, it was ironic for him to mention the Nazis because, in doing so, he exonerated the Palestinians even though he probably thought that his choice of terminology would criminalise them. Nazism was a European creation and the Jews who were oppressed and persecuted by its followers were also European. Establishing the Israeli entity on Arab Palestinian land, and punishing the Palestinians for European Nazi crimes against European Jews is just one of the major injustices that the people of occupied Palestine have faced for more than seven decades. Why should they have to pay the price for crimes committed by Europeans?

US President Joe Biden hasn’t helped the situation by also accusing student protesters of “anti-Semitism”. They can accuse him and his administration of all sorts of things in the name of freedom of speech; and insult countries and politicians around the world; but woe betide anyone who criticises the Zionist state of Israel and its leaders. How logical is that?

Nevertheless, the demonstrations in American universities send a message direct to Biden, the main supporter of the genocide in Gaza, and to Netanyahu, its main perpetrator. The student protesters are the future, and they are leading the movement for change in the world. Their revolt against the Zionist “self-defence” narrative and the crimes of the Zionist state confirms that an important transformation is on the cards, and not just in the US. They could — and hopefully will — have an important impact on the US presidential election in November.

This explains the US and Israeli anger and accusations of “anti-Semitism”, with both Biden and Netanyahu “crying wolf” and unable to understand that the old rhetoric won’t wash any more; and that the world is changing.

Biden’s blatant bias towards the Zionist state has been public knowledge ever since he said in 1986 (and repeated last year), “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.”

His response to the student campus revolts does not befit the leader of the country supposedly founded on the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and freedom of opinion and expression. The US has thrown all of its principles to the wind for Israel, silencing and gagging its citizens, and facing the demonstrations with police brutality. American students have exposed the true face of their country; its democratic mask has fallen off.

The US politicians bought and paid for by the pro-Israel lobby are no better than the worst tin-pot dictators in the world. They have failed to respect their own founding principles, and shown scant regard for academic freedom. With their uncivilised attack on students and their right to protest, the US authorities confirm the truth of what Indian freedom fighter Gandhi said when asked by a journalist, “What do you think of Western civilisation?” His response was simple: “I think it would be a good idea.”

The world is now witnessing how America has violated its own Constitution by arresting students and threatening their professors; restricting academic freedom and freedom of speech; and breaking up peaceful demonstrations by force. The First Amendment of which US citizens are so proud has been violated beyond repair, surely. Remember this the next time a US official condemns other nations and governments for their supposedly “undemocratic” behaviour.

When democracies send security forces onto university campuses, we know that they are on a slippery slope to authoritarianism and ultimate collapse. The United States of America is at a crucial stage of its existence. Are the American people aware of this? And do they understand the potentially catastrophic consequences of trashing their Constitution — at the cost of billions of taxpayers’ dollars — for the sake of the Zionist, apartheid, genocidal state of Israel? If they don’t, then they need to wake up quickly.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.