HRC / AVI Campus Media Fellow Published In The Jerusalem Post: The Two Faces Of Campus Protests: Pro-Israel vs. Pro-Palestine

June 3, 2024

On June 1, 2024, one of our Campus Media Fellows, Judah Eisen, was published in The Jerusalem Post, about how protests on University campuses have taken one of two forms: peaceful, passionate, and vibrant, or violent and aggressive filled with hate.

This violence, hate, and anger must not be taken lightly or before you know it, the whole world can be affected by this radical idea, leaving Jews with no hope for survival. 


The two faces of campus protests: Pro-Israel vs. Pro-Palestine

By: Judah Eisen

The last few weeks have been particularly disconcerting for most Jewish students on campus. While Israel continues to fight for its life militarily, chaos has erupted on campuses worldwide. 

Students have set up encampments on university campuses, demanding divestment from any company doing business with Israel, blockading campus areas in violation of university policies. They have threatened to remain until their demands are met. 

Protests have taken one of two forms; peaceful, passionate, and vibrant, or violent and aggressive filled with shouting and hate. This is the key difference between the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protests.

On the Palestinian side, I see people in masks, shouting hateful messages about Israel and so-called “Israeli apartheid and genocide.” They do not look like a group of proud individuals coming together to stand in unity and promote peace, but rather an angry mob trying to keep Jews and others supporting Israel from their campuses. 

The pro-Israel side promotes peace and calls for Israeli hostages to be released. Here, at the University of Toronto, the pro-Israel side is blocked from the campus by the anti-Israel protesters in their encampment. 

Their messaging is utterly negative, routinely calling for intifada and “resistance by any means.” Any means connotes violence and non-peaceful protest. I do not see any positive wish, hope, or plan in their messaging.

It also does not make sense that supporting Hamas, which has harmed Palestinians so deeply, is in any way pro-Palestinian. For example, Hamas has stolen aid from trucks and has prevented movement of civilians to safe areas. 

As a supporter of Palestinian rights, I feel that Hamas is a direct impediment to the well-being of the average Palestinian resident of Gaza. 

Supporting Hamas contradicts what Palestinians need for their well-being. 

On top of this, it has become increasingly apparent that many students do not know why they are protesting.

When interviewers approached the encampments to ask people why they were there, almost all of them either refused to speak or said that they did not know and they wanted to show support to their classmates. 

The combination of ignorance and rage results in a protest movement that makes no sense to those of us who grew up with this history.

DO THEY KNOW what an “intifada” would mean for the Jewish people? Do they understand that it would not be a “civil uprising,” but a vicious attack on Jews all over the world? I’ve even seen signs and chants across the internet praying for a Hamas uprising or hoping to be “saved” by Hamas.My reaction to this is: “How could any right-minded human chant in support of a terrorist group who, on October 7, unprovoked, killed and raped 1200 men, women, and children? How could someone be so blind to the truth?” 

While Hamas makes it clear that they will stop at nothing to destroy Israel and have all of its people murdered, so-called liberals across the world protest in support and chant for their success. 

The main issue with having uneducated young people protesting for a “free Palestine” is that their words have a very strong impact. If I were someone who knew nothing about the history of Israel and Palestine, I could easily be persuaded by the anger of the anti-Israel mob and side with them. 

This anger has been seen before in recent history, when the Nazis convinced millions of Germans to hate the Jewish people. The Holocaust started with a small group of protesters who had a radical idea. 

Over time, these protests grew into large rallies filled with millions of Hitler supporters, chanting for the destruction of the Jewish people. We have seen through this experience that radical ideas can spread over time and space and infect millions of people. 

It is clear that what we are seeing now is not so different from how the Holocaust started: a radical idea, an angry protest, and a supporting group that is large and furious enough to make a difference. 

These waves of violent and angry protests calling for the destruction of Israel must not be taken lightly. 

Before you know it, the whole world can be affected by this radical idea, leaving Jews with no hope for survival. 

We should all do everything we can to prevent this.

Judah Eisen is a student at Western University and a Campus Media Fellow with HonestReporting Canada & Allied Voices for Israel.

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