Under attack for solidarity with Palestine, NYC students are fighting back

‘All Students and Youth for Gaza’ rally and march, New York City, Feb. 8. SLL photos: Stephen Millies

A thousand people came to New York City’s Washington Square Park in Lower Manhattan on Feb. 8 to show their solidarity with Palestine. “All Students and Youth for Gaza” was the rally’s call.

Many were college students under attack for protesting the slaughter of 30,000 Palestinians, although older folks also came. Hundreds of Palestinian flags were flown, accompanied by many signs. 

Speakers included representatives from the Palestinian Youth Movement, Resist 4 Return, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Amin Husain, an adjunct professor at New York University, described how he was suspended for speaking out against the genocidal bombing of Gaza. The Palestinian scholar has been absurdly labeled an “antisemite” even though he’s a Semite. 

Surrounding the rally were lavish buildings belonging to New York University. Wealthy donors to NYU, which has an endowment of nearly $6 billion, are propelling a witch hunt against any pro-Palestinian voices. Similar inquisitions are taking place at Columbia, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and other schools.

Caesar, a Dominican student at the State University of New York campus at Purchase, described how he was suspended after a Zionist assaulted him. He quoted Malcolm X: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” 

A Columbia University student described how campus Zionists, who are Israeli army reservists, used “skunk spray” on pro-Palestinian protesters. This is a chemical formula developed by that apartheid army for crowd control. Yet it’s the protesters who are being attacked by the school’s administration, not the thugs who sprayed them.

Columbia officials suspended both Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. So much for freedom of speech on the campus!

Other solidarity messages were given by speakers from The People’s Forum, a Stony Brook University student, as well as representatives from the Hunter College Palestine Solidarity Alliance and the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at NYU.

People then marched over 35 blocks north to Grand Central Terminal before going over to the big reference library on Fifth Avenue. Numerous cars and trucks honked their horns in support of Palestine.

NYU’s dirty laundry

Just behind the Washington Square rally was NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst library. It’s named after a big NYU donor and pharmaceutical executive who hated Jewish people.

In one of his letters to fellow bigot Richard Nixon, Bobst complained to the U.S. president about the alleged “malicious action of Jews.” Bobst was accused by his granddaughter and great-granddaughter of raping them. 

One of the architects of the 12-story library was Philip Johnson, who accompanied the Nazi army during its invasion of Poland. Johnson did so as a correspondent of the pro-Hitler “Social Justice” newspaper published by the fascist priest Charles Coughlin.

None of this prevented the Zionist regime from hiring Johnson to redesign Al-Quds (Jerusalem). (“Father Coughlin” by Sheldon Marcus.) 

A block east of Washington Square Park is the still-intact building, now owned by NYU, that housed the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. A fire there on March 25, 1911, killed 146 workers, who were overwhelmingly young women, including many teenagers.

Almost all the victims were from Italian and Jewish immigrant families. The company refused to hire Black workers.

To avoid being burned alive, many women leapt to their deaths. None of the Jewish workers cried out the Zionist slogan “Next year in Jerusalem!” as they fell. Why should they have?

The two Jewish capitalists who owned the factory had locked the doors, guaranteeing their deaths. What common interest did these murdered workers have with their killers?

Zionism is racism, and capitalists, like those who owned the Triangle Shirtwaist firetrap, are the enemies of all workers.

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