Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel on Saturday, October 7th, killing over 1,300 Israeli civilians and kidnapping over 150, including teenagers, small children and the elderly. Simultaneously, thousands of rockets have been launched from Gaza at communities all over Israel. Anti-Israel college students at UC Davis are calling the horrific carnage a form of “resistance.”
Hamas is a militant Islamist organization founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Beginning as an Islamic charity organization, Hamas later began pursuing a policy of Jihad against the state of Israel, vowing to eradicate its Jewish citizens. The organization is a designated terrorist group, utilizing human shields, hostage-taking, and the deliberate targeting of civilians to achieve its aims.
Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a network of pro-Palestine student groups across the U.S., Canada and New Zealand that claims to hold a progressive and anti-colonial stance, but often utilizes tactics such as intimidation, harassment and propaganda to isolate and demonize Jewish students, particularly Israelis.
UC Davis is unfortunately no stranger to such tactics.
A 2020 report by then-student Samantha Boudaie found that 73.5% of Jewish students at UC Davis had “seen something on campus that made them feel uncomfortable as a Jewish student.” And 46.9% of Jewish students had “personally experienced or witnessed” antisemitic incidents on campus, with the majority of these incidents being anti-Israel or “anti-Zionist” in nature. Students claimed in personal accounts that they were targeted for their support of the Jewish state or for their Israeli nationality. Nothing has changed in the years since.
SJP at UC Davis is currently under investigation by the UC Davis Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program (HDAPP) for a number of recent antisemitic hate incidents, including calling Jewish students antisemitic slurs both in person and online, antisemitic vandalism including drawings of rockets, calls for violence, praising and honoring convicted terrorists, and constant verbal harassment of Jewish student organizations while tabling on campus.
It is therefore no surprise that this same organization has reacted to the recent slaughter of civilians with contempt. Direct quotations from their Instagram page include such statements as “This resistance is 100% predictable and justified” and “supporting Palestinian liberation is supporting whatever means necessary it takes to get there.” It is morally reprehensible to condone the killing of any civilian, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or religion. Attempting the justification of horrendous acts such as rape and murder must be met with condemnation by the university administration, fellow students and the broader community.
SJP chapters and affiliated organizations across the country are engaging in similar acts, showing that the situation in Davis is not an isolated incident. The “Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee” has released a joint statement with 35 other student organizations holding Israel “entirely responsible” for all unfolding violence, despite the attack coming unprovoked, during a time of increased peace negotiations in the region. Young protestors in Times Square have brandished Nazi swastikas in an attempt to scare away supporters of Israel. Thursday, October 12th was named a “National Day of Resistance,” coinciding with further incitement and anti-Israel demonstrations on college campuses. At UC Davis, this manifested in an aggressive rally that ended at a meeting of ASUCD, the university’s student government.
At the meeting, SJP affiliates mocked Israeli students who recounted the loss of friends and family, interrupted speeches with profanities, and even threw objects at Jewish students who were present. From New York to California, members of the American pro-Palestine movement are showcasing their support for a terrorist group. A comparable reaction would be if 9/11 resulted in increased support for Al Qaeda.
The Jewish people are tired. We are tired of having to repeatedly declare that we have the right to live. We are tired of having to reaffirm our connection to the land of Israel despite thousands of years of history, archeology and genetics corroborating our claims. The question we are all asking now is when is it going to be enough? How many more children have to be kidnapped? How many more families have to be decimated? When will our lives have meaning outside of our own community? The brutality of Hamas’s attack is inexcusable, regardless of the material conditions of Gaza’s residents (which Hamas has itself contributed to) or the strategy employed by Israel in its retaliatory operation.
The Jewish people are tired. We are tired of having to repeatedly declare that we have the right to live.
We call upon UC Davis Chancellor Gary May to officially condemn this support for terrorism from student organizations at UC Davis and elsewhere. Your Jewish and Israeli students are waiting.
Gabriel Gaysinsky is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis studying International Relations and Middle Eastern/South Asian Studies. He is a 2023-2024 CAMERA Fellow, Director of Engagement of Aggies For Israel, and an elected senator within ASUCD, the student government of UC Davis. Originally from Haifa, Gabriel hopes to utilize his experience and knowledge to pursue interfaith dialogue and peaceful solutions in Israel/Palestine.