In the days following the brutal attacks from Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, colleges around the U.S. are scrambling to get hold of bitter divides that have popped up on their campuses.
Politico reported this week that college administrators are currently at odds with multiple student groups who are far-left and are pushing a narrative that’s pro-Palestinian.
College presidents have called for compassion and calm in the situation, but some student associations have fought back against that, heavily criticizing Israel for its actions to hold control over Palestinians throughout the region.
The messaging from some of these student groups has also caused quite the uproar in Washington as well, from politicians on both sides of the aisle.
One message that has drawn considerable backlash was a note written in the newsletter for the student bar association at the New York University School of Law. Its president, Ryna Workman, urged others to “not condemn Palestinian resistance.”
“This week, I want to express, first and foremost, my unwavering and absolute solidarity with Palestinians in their resistance against oppression toward liberation and self-determination. Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.”
Workman’s missive has been shared widely on the social media platform X, and it has since received significant backlash in response from lawmakers, advocates and leaders.
New York Democratic Representative Ritchie Torres, for example, wrote back scathingly:
“If you are speaking to an Israeli mother whose child has been beheaded, I cannot think of anything more callous and cruel than telling a grieving mother: you had it coming.”
Alumni and students at the school who are Jewish said they would be taking action against Workman. Officials at the university also swiftly looked to distance themselves from the newsletter.
A spokesperson for NYU, John Beckman, issued a statement that said:
“The statement issued by the Student Bar Association does not in any way reflect the point of view of NYU. Acts of terrorism are immoral.”
Linda Mills, the president of NYU, and Evan Chesler, the school’s board chair, even said Hamas’ actions were a “multi-pronged and deadly terrorist attack on Israel.”
Following her comments, the law firm of Winston & Strawn actually rescinded a job offer that they had extended to Workman, according to the Politico report.
It’s not uncommon for ideological battles on campuses to serve as an indicator of culture war issues happening across the country. They also sometimes serve as indicators for divisions that occur in the Democratic Party.
Some of the leading progressive lawmakers in the country have started to distance themselves from rhetoric that is anti-Israel.
Over the weekend, for instance, the Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City chapter promoted a rally that was pro-Palestinian. But, one of the DSA’s members who is a member of Congress – firebrand progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – spoke out about the antisemitic messages that were said at the rally.
At many other universities, the administration is at odds with these pro-Palestinian student groups. This clash has happened not just at NYU, but at Ivy League schools Harvard and Columbia, as well as Stanford and more.