The Guardian • Issue #2097

Anti-genocide encampments go global

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2097
Palestine Solidarity Protest in San Francisco.

Palestine Solidarity Protest in San Francisco. Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy – flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

Massive pro-Palestinian demonstrations and occupations continued across universities in the United States, Europe, and Australia as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes under increasing pressure at home.

The student protests have led to a brutal crackdown by police, particularly at US universities. From New York to California, students protesting against Israel’s assault on Gaza have been sleeping in tents at college campuses and occupying the central squares of campuses.

With the Gaza death toll surging to nearly 34,500, protesters around the globe are following the example set by US students and demanding that unis cut financial ties to Israel and divest from companies they say enable the Netanyahu government’s genocide.

In Paris, at the renowned Sciences Po university, protesters blockaded a central campus building, forcing classes to be held online.

Canada’s first campus protest for Gaza has been set up at McGill University in Montreal, where protesters are demanding a divestment of funds “implicated in the Zionist state as well as a cut in ties with Zionist academic institutions.”

In Australia, students at the University of Sydney’s Camperdown campus set up a pro-Palestinian encampment last week, also calling for the university to “cut ties with arms manufacturers.”

Last week, Netanyahu described ceasefire protesters around the world as “anti-Semitic mobs calling for the annihilation of Israel,” and claimed they were attacking Jewish students and faculty members. His allegations have been slammed as slander by major political figures, including US Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most prominent Jewish member of the US Senate.

Sanders said Netanyahu’s claims “insult the intelligence of the American people” and that the Israeli leader was using false allegations of anti-Semitism to distract attention from the policies of his “extremist and racist government” in Gaza, the West Bank, and inside Israel itself.

“No, Mr Netanyahu, it is not anti-Semitic or pro-Hamas to point out that, in a little over six months, your extremist government has killed over 34,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 78,000, 70 per cent of whom are women and children.”

The Israeli Prime Minister faces mounting pressure at home, with thousands hitting the streets across Israel to demand his resignation and imprisonment. In Tel Aviv, three separate protests converged near Azrieli Mall, while dozens of demonstrators, led by relatives of hostages, attempted to block Ayalon Highway, reported The Times of Israel.

Some protesters bypassed police barriers, and others ended up in skirmishes with police. Seven protesters were reported to have been arrested.

Netanyahu’s police forces also attacked local offices of the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) in an effort to disrupt planned May Day marches that are to centre on demands for a ceasefire and an end to the occupation.

People’s World, edited for space
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