Protests Begin At MIT

Protests against Israeli ties at MIT have spread to the prestigious university’s campus, with students setting up an encampment on the Kresge Lawn. This follows a similar protest at Columbia University last week that garnered attention from the White House.

The group behind the MIT encampment, led by student Francesca Riccio-Ackerman, has called on the institution to cut ties with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). According to Riccio-Ackerman, MIT has received over $11 million in research funding from the Israeli Ministry of Defense since 2015. The encampment’s banner reads “Scientists Against Genocide Encampment.”

The President of MIT Israel Alliance, Talia Khan, expressed her fear of going near the encampment in a tweet. She also shared a video showing protesters walking in a circle, chanting, and playing drums.

At Columbia University, Rabbi Elie Buechler issued a warning to Jewish students against returning to campus due to “extreme antisemitism.” This comes after days of protests in support of Palestine, which have led to numerous arrests and concerns over safety. Buechler serves as the Rabbi for the Columbia/Barnard Hillel.

The situation at Columbia University has even drawn attention from the White House, with Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates condemning calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students. He said that such rhetoric has no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States.

Meanwhile, the New York Police Department has offered to provide walking escorts to Jewish students during Passover. This comes after numerous reports of incidents targeting Jewish students on campus, including a video showing a woman screaming “We are Hamas!” while a man was wearing a yarmulke and an Israeli flag.

The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict has sparked protests at universities nationwide, including at the New School, Yale, the University of North Carolina, and Washington University. At Harvard University, the fallout from the administration’s response to the conflict led to the resignation of President Claudine Gay in January.

In her testimony before Congress, Columbia University President Nemat Shafik defended the college’s actions against antisemitism. She said that the majority of protests on campus have been peaceful. Shafik also noted that the university is working closely with the FBI and the NYPD in instances of hate crimes.

However, House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik accused Columbia University of fostering a “hotbed of support for terrorism from radicalized faculty and students.” Meanwhile, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx played a clip of students chanting “Intifada!” and “We will honor all the martyrs!” in reference to Hamas militants.

Current students have spoken out about the political climate at Columbia University, claiming harassment and violence. In one case, a student accused administrators of sitting idly by while antisemitism has flooded every aspect of campus life. As tensions continue to rise, calls for the resignation of President Shafik have intensified, from both students and government officials.


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