The Social Justice Language of the Pro-Hamas College Kids

Columbia University is now famous in Israel. Not only did they get their own viral Eretz Nehederet sketch, they also got a front-page article in the Times of Israel!

Here is the reason that Columbia made the news:

To break this down for you — because it’s hard to believe it’s real— the women’s college of Columbia University sponsored this ‘resistance’ event in honor of ‘Palestine Solidarity Month.’ It’s worth mentioning that March is also Women’s History Month, so one might inquire as to why the Barnard Center for Research on Women would leave that out. The outside groups joining the event were Within our Lifetime and Samidoun.

Within Our Lifetime is a re-brand of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). I wrote about them in my own exposé of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is SJP’s partner campus organization.

I will admit, I had never heard of Samidoun until I saw this flyer. Here are the highlights:

  • They are banned from Germany for their ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the German government has designated as a terrorist organization.
  • American banks and virtual money companies (i.e. Paypal) have severed ties with them because it’s illegal in the US to fundraise for known terrorists.
  • Charlotte Kates and Khaled Barakat, the individuals representing Samidoun at this event (they are husband and wife), are banned from entering the European Union.
  • Canada recognizes Samidoun as legitimate non-profit organization, so they are still able to fundraise there. Ms. Kates and Mr. Barakat both reside in Canada.

For your viewing pleasure, I give you the representatives of Samidoun along with their newest student recruits:

I encourage you to listen to the way that the male student in particular attempts to frame his arguments. His statements are utter gibberish, but it’s actually important to pay attention to the language he’s using:

  • “the pursuit of national liberation”
  • Defining Hamas’s “military actions” (I assume he’s referring to the October 7th massacres?) as “guerrilla warfare” grounded in “Maoism.”
  • It’s “inspirational” to see the “resistance struggle” overcome an all-powerful US-funded military.

Let’s move on down south, to the University of South Florida. These brave activists plan to free Palestine — wait for it — via a hunger strike.

There now exists an entire lexicon in the West that promotes shrouding terrorism in social justice language. It’s mostly rooted in the ‘oppressor vs. oppressed’ binary that has swept up the progressive left (read: I am a liberal who finds it all highly embarrassing). In reality, it’s just convenient, pre-packaged language designed for those who do not actually understand what they are discussing, so they would rather resort to moralizing. What makes this phenomenon particularly dangerous is that their educators are not only endorsing this behavior, they’re actively teaching it.

I believe the common thread running through these campus demonstrations is as follows: the college administrators are afraid of the students. So rather than taking decisive action to 1) put an end to the nonsense; 2) actually educate students on what they are yelling about; or 3) enforce their code of conduct, they instead choose to ignore them and hope it goes away. This refusal to communicate is disrespectful both to the students–all students–and to the overall university community. No matter the “cause,” one can only tolerate being ignored for so long before they do something egregious in pursuit of the attention they’re seeking.

The pursuit of truth is no longer about facts. It’s about ideology. As long as this remains the case, higher education in the US will continue on its current downward trajectory.

Your ideas for finding our way out of this educational mess are greatly appreciated.

About the Author
I am a higher education professional and college counselor based in Baltimore, MD.
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