Press Releases

Stop Suppression and Complicity in University Campuses, Stop Suppression in Palestine
Stop Suppression and Complicity in University Campuses, Stop Suppression in Palestine


As the genocidal war on the Gaza Strip and oppression in the West Bank continue, direct actions in support of Palestine and against the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime are on the rise and continue challenging colonial complicity. While students have been protesting since October 2023, the new wave of demonstrations in US universities – marked by the setting up encampments on campuses – represent the required kind of direct actions, aimed at disrupting the status quo with the goal to end colonial states’ complicity with genocide and oppression. However, in the same way Palestinian resistance is demonized and suppressed, so too are the students’ actions in solidarity with Palestine.

States, governments and corporations are not the only institutions complicit in the Israeli genocide.  According to an Education Department database, “about 100 U.S. colleges have reported gifts or contracts from Israel, totalling $375 million over the past two decades.” Student movements and groups, which have historically and globally led the charge in resisting oppression, are seizing the growing momentum to hold the academic sector accountable for its role in supporting the Israeli regime. Despite crackdowns by university administrators and police, the campus protest movement enters its third week. Inspired by previous boycott and divestment campaigns, students across the US and other European universities, demand the end of financial and institutional ties with Israel.

Student committees at Columbia, Harvard Law, Rutgers and American University, among others, have passed resolutions calling for an end to investments and academic partnerships with Israel; but the answers from most administrations are to continue with their complicity, providing bogus justifications. For example, American University’s President rejected a resolution to end investments and partnerships with Israel, citing the university’s “longstanding position” against the BDS movement. As more than 30 states have enacted laws or directives blocking agencies from hiring companies that support the movement, the current repression faced by students’ movements can be analyzed as the culmination of the shrinking spaces environment (that is) imposed on anyone challenging the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime in general, or its ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip in particular. 

Resorting to law enforcement agencies and threats to the continuity of their education, university administrations have tried very hard to silence, punish, but also distract those involved in organizing actions in solidarity for Palestine. For instance, in attempt to divert the attention from their complicity in the ongoing genocide, Columbia University offered to “make investments in health and education in Gaza, including supporting early childhood development and support for displaced scholars”, while persisting in its refusal to divest from Israel. BADIL applauds and stands with the  Columbia students’ committee that refused the unacceptable bargain that justifies support to the oppressor by offering support to the oppressed. This approach is immoral and illegal as it violates the international obligation to support peoples’ struggles for self-determination and the movements in solidarity with those struggles.

Such a diversion method was also used by Northwestern University administration, which committed to implement encrypted measures, at odds with reality, such as providing “immediate temporary space for MENA/Muslim students”, and supporting “visiting Palestinian faculty and students at risk.” While such a dubious answer to legitimate demands is unacceptable, institutionalized academia has long stood against the struggle of student activists and today is not different. Harassment levels from faculty, but also fellow students, have increased, while state and federal governments have placed pressure on universities to continue their crackdown on those expressing their solidarity with Palestine by calling for an end to academic institutions' complicity.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, along with the White House, have called for these protests to be shut down, indicating their recognition and fear of the potential influence, impact, and power such movements have to bring about change. So, it comes as no surprise that suppressive measures have been used to demonize and end these actions and those implementing them. Unfounded and dubious allegations that the encampments are illegal, violent and unsafe, have led to the majority of university encampments being forcefully dismantled and the participants threatened with or subjected to arrests and potential “criminal” charges.  It must be reiterated that what is happening globally across university campuses is not criminal, anti-semitic or inciting violence and hatred, but rather the expression of the will of the masses opposing and rejecting colonial domination, oppression and complicity. 

As such, BADIL and the Global Palestinian Refugee and Displaced Persons’ Network (GPRN) stand in support of the student movements and their actions, encouraging additional and more innovative means and tactics to continue to express their rejection of colonial oppression and complicity no matter where it exists.