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Tags: campus | protest | free speech | limits
OPINION

Target Actions of Haters, End Illegal Rallies

protesters face officers
(Getty)

Micah Halpern By Tuesday, 30 April 2024 03:13 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

I enjoy speaking to people, eliciting their thoughts, opinions, hopes, and fears. And while anecdotal evidence is not scientific, it is often very reliable.

In Yiddish, people would call me a "shmoozer" — a professional conversationalist. I call the many informal conversations I have "informal polling."

Of late, Jews in my sphere have been speaking about how sad, upset, and even frightened they are while witnessing pro-Hamas, anti-Jewish rallies on campuses across the United States.

Some are truly afraid because their children and grandchildren attend those colleges and universities. Some are upset because it reminds them of Germany in the 1930s. Some are saddened because they view this rabid, almost unchallenged, hatred as illegal and anti-American. Students I speak to are shaken, some deeply hurt, by the open and unfiltered Jew hatred on campus.

Non-Jews I have polled feel exactly the same way as do the Jewish people I have polled. They, too, articulate the worry that these rallies in support of Hamas symbolize the destruction of America. They, too, are incensed by the chants of "Death to America" and "We are all Hamas." They are astonished that the keffiyeh-wearing, pro-Hamas protesters carry green Hamas and yellow Hezbollah flags.

That outside money and outside leadership are directing these rallies should be obvious even to the untrained eye. What was once a hunch is by now a foregone and simple conclusion. Almost all the tents are the same; they were purchased en masse. Signs and slogans are identical. Chants are the same, and the speeches being read off cellphones are all the same.

Follow the money. That is how you find out who is funding these horrific, hateful, obtrusive, and often illegal rallies. A recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece penned by Ira Stoll documents the facts simply and vividly — even to the exact dollar figure earned by paid agitators. In exchange for eight hours of work per week for three months, fellows from the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights earn between $2,888 and $3,360 per month. That is by no means chicken feed.

Several charitable foundations back many of the behind-the-scenes organizations that seem to be behind the organizations that create the protests.

Over time, I will not be surprised to learn that some of the money can be traced back to Qatar and Iran, even to Hamas and Hezbollah. These groups subsidize what I am calling "Stipend for Stupidity."

Students often fall prey to peer pressure and mass hysteria. It is up to the so-called adults in the room, the heads of the universities these protesters attend, to act to stop this illegal incitement and unwarranted hate. Free speech has limits. Incitement to violence and preventing others from acting and freely moving and speaking — actions these protests so blatantly and aggressively engage in — are just a few of the limits of free speech.

While it is true that many of the protesters proclaim their right to speak and protest, most want speech to be free only when it is speech that they and their cohorts-in-crime personally agree with. When a recent graduate student was arrested on a New York City subway platform for drawing pro-Hamas, anti-Jewish graffiti, he had the gall — the chutzpah — to claim that he did not know that it was illegal to draw graffiti.

Cities, states, and universities alike around the world must take steps to retake control and reestablish law and order. Everyone must feel safe.

A new low was just reached in this war against Jews and Israel when London thought it best to cover their Holocaust Memorial in HydePark. Authorities were afraid that the monument to the 6 million Jews annihilated by Nazis would be vandalized and sprayed with graffiti. The answer to this hatred is not taking things away or covering them up. Rather, protect them at all costs. Leaders must show the world their message. Surround them with police, set traps to arrest the criminals, charge them with hate crimes.       

The answer to Jew hatred is not getting rid of the target but rather targeting the illegal actions of the haters. Getting rid of Jews or Jewish reminders will not solve the problem.

Know that not all is lost. Impacted and inconvenienced by these hateful and loud attention-grabbing rallies, my informal polling tells me that most students disagree with them. Proof is that the student council at Columbia University, the epicenter of these rallies, just elected a new student council president. Her name is Maya Platek; she is an Israeli.

The academic year is ending. The time to end illegal rallies has come. 

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern," a weekly TV program, and "My Chopp," a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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MicahHalpern
Of late, Jews in my sphere have been speaking about how sad, upset, and even frightened they are while witnessing pro-Hamas, anti-Jewish rallies on campuses across the United States.
campus, protest, free speech, limits
806
2024-13-30
Tuesday, 30 April 2024 03:13 PM
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