Students at area colleges are sending messages supporting the same Palestinian cause championed by the Hamas terrorists who killed more than 1,000 Israelis in Saturday’s horrific attack. It’s a sign, Republicans say, of the far-left extremism that makes up part of the progressive base of the Democratic Party.
While most Pennsylvania elected officials, including Democrats Gov. Josh Shapiro and progressive U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, loudly declared their support for Israel and denounced the violence from the Palestinian terrorists, liberal student groups sent a very different message.
“We…hold the Israeli government accountable for the ongoing violence,” announced student organizations at Philadelphia’s La Salle University. “The events occurring are not isolated; for the past two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in open-air prisons. Israeli authorities have threatened to escalate the conflict, resulting in casualties in Gaza. In the days ahead, Palestinians will face the brunt of Israel’s aggression, and the blame solely lies with the apartheid regime.”
In Delaware County, Swarthmore College’s Students for Justice in Palestine posted a statement that “honors the martyrs” who murdered Israelis, raped women, and took children hostage.
“Since early Saturday morning, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have valiantly confronted the imperial apparatus that has constricted their livelihoods for the past 75 years. In an unprecedented violation of Zionist intelligence and military rule, the resistance [Hamas terrorists] broke its people out of the open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip.
“Swarthmore Students for Justice in Palestine enshrines the right of the Palestinian people to resist the Zionist regime by any means necessary and honors the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for liberation,” the Swarthmore students posted on social media.
That statement inspired a response from Dave McCormick, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
“This is despicable. Glorifying Hamas terrorists who have slaughtered innocent women and children as ‘martyrs’ is unacceptable. @swarthmore: Step up, demonstrate leadership, and condemn these disgusting comments immediately,” McCormick tweeted.
Swarthmore officials did not respond to a request for comment.
The anti-Israel response appears to be part of the culture of elite, liberal universities. For example, local supporters of Israel quickly pointed out that UPenn hosted a Palestinian Writers Festival last month featuring several openly antisemitic participants. Among them, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Noura Erakat, a Rutgers University professor who called Zionism a “bedfellow” to Nazism.
Radio talk show host Dom Giordano said the leadership of those institutions is partially to blame for their students’ attitudes. “I think the position of the La Salle groups that supported this is indefensible. La Salle has a teachable moment to address this or support it with their silence. They should have a forum for faculty and students to discuss.”
La Salle University, a Catholic institution, posted a statement that conflated the violent attack committed by Hamas terrorists with Israel’s self-defensive actions in response.
“Over the weekend, the world witnessed the sudden violence taking place throughout Israel and Gaza. The reports, images, and videos we are seeing in the news and social media are disturbing and anguishing,” the university wrote. “We pray for peace in this part of the world and for those touched by this violence while we mourn the loss of life.”
Those views are hardly exclusive to Pennsylvania institutions.
When 35 Harvard student groups released a letter of solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza (“We hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence”), several high-profile alums reacted in horror.
Former Harvard president Larry Summers, who previously served as U.S. treasury secretary, decried the university’s “neutral” stance in response to the student declaration. “I am sickened. I cannot fathom the administration’s failure to disassociate the university and condemn this statement,” Summers said.
At New York University Law School, the student bar association president released a statement standing with the terrorists.
“I will not condemn Palestinian resistance,” wrote Ryna Workman, who called the terrorist attacks “necessary.” Instead, “I condemn the violence of obfuscating genocide as a ‘complex issue.’”
At the University of Virginia, the Students for Justice in Palestine said, “The events that took place yesterday are a step toward a free Palestine. They reflect the power and resilience of the Palestinian people in the face of 75 years of continued brutal oppression…We stand in solidarity with Palestinian resistance fighters.”
Students at California State University at Long Beach made the most graphic statement with posters portraying a paraglider like the ones used by Hamas terrorists to attack an outdoor concert and kill hundreds.
“We will be rallying and marching in support of the Palestinian liberation and against Zionist occupation in Palestine,” the student group said.