I Don’t Believe American Students Suddenly Care Deeply about the Palestinians

By Michael Brown Published on May 1, 2024

No, I don’t believe for a split second that suddenly, college students all over America really care about the plight of the Palestinians. I don’t believe this any more than, a few years ago, people around the globe were suddenly concerned about the plight of black Americans when they marched for BLM. Not a chance.

I do believe this is just the latest manifestation of raging against the machine, of standing up to “the man.”

Khymani James, one of the Columbia University anti-Israel protest leaders (who is black and identifies as trans, nonbinary, and queer) said that just as in the past, Haitian revolutionaries had to “kill their masters in order to gain their independence,” Hamas and the Palestinian people, must kill their white supremacist masters today.

“What is a Zionist?” he asks. “A white supremacist.”

That about sums it up.

A Broader Question

To be sure, there are Muslims worldwide who, on some level, stand with the Palestinians (although not when it comes to their home countries absorbing Palestinians into their own societies as equal citizens). And there are students in America who, no doubt, are moved by the images of suffering Palestinian families.

But these same students were not equally moved by the incredibly graphic images of Israelis massacred by Hamas or by the documented reports of the women who were raped, mutilated, and murdered. Nor have they been moved by the suffering of the more than 130 hostages, including babies, who have been in captivity for more than 200 days in complete violation of every international or universal standard of ethics. The protesters’ compassion is not just selective; it is hypocritical and skin deep.

Without a doubt, these are not simply, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protests. They are pro-Hamas, anti-Jewish protests.

That’s why, at Princeton University, a Hezbollah flag was found at the anti-Israel encampment.

That’s why protesters at Columbia chanted, “We are Hamas.”

So, on the one hand, as I and others have argued, these protests are just the latest manifestation of antisemitism and have little or nothing to do with compassion for suffering Palestinians.

But there is something else going on, and these protests represent something larger, as did the BLM protests of 2020.

Terrorism Is Trendy

Back in the 1960s and 70s, the trendy thing was wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt. He became an iconic, god-like figure, often pictured side-by-side with Jesus on hippie garb. He made rebellion chic, even violent rebellion. He stood up to the man!

After that, it was the latest iteration of LGBTQ+ Pride, with each wave surpassing the previous one (accordingly, trans pride now takes precedence over gay pride, which in turn took precedence over black pride or feminist pride, etc.).

In 2020, it was the BLM logo. Now it’s the keffiyeh or the colors of Hamas.

Terrorism is cool, as long as it’s against the machine, represented by white European Jews in particular and the university establishment in general.

As Matt Walsh wrote, “instead of race riots, right on cue, we have this insurgent movement to ‘free Palestine.’ Which is really just a race riot, repackaged, and draped in a green, black, and white flag.

“These students [meaning, at Columbia University], for the most part, don’t necessarily see this as a BLM reboot, but that’s what it is, and that’s what political forces much more powerful than the students are determined to turn it into. Those forces see an opportunity that really has very little to do with Israel or Gaza. And if they succeed, there will be a lot of violence and disruption this year that extends far beyond Columbia and Morningside Heights.”

Marxism and Murder

Similarly, Bill O’Reilly noted that, “The lead group generating the chaos is ‘Students for Justice for Palestine.’ Founded in 1993, it is based in Berkeley, California. A prominent leader is Dr. Hatem Bazian, a lecturer at the University of California. That means taxpayers are funding him. SJP apparently keeps no books, but it is estimated it has a presence on more than 200 campuses.”

O’Reilly points out that, “Bazian is quoted as saying: ‘How come we (Americans) don’t have an intifada in this country?’ He added, ‘They’re going to say that it’s a Palestinian being too radical. Well, they haven’t seen radicalism yet.’”

Put another way, “On with the uprising! Bring the Intifada home!”

Or, instead of chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” substitute, “From sea to shining sea, America will be free.”

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This is what underlies the spirit of these protests — a spirit that claims to stand for the oppressed but instead stands for uprising, for overthrowing authority, and ultimately for murderous, barbaric evil.

It is a spirit encapsulated by the words of Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad, spoken last November: “We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do it again and again. The Al-Aqsa Deluge [the name Hamas gave its 7 October onslaught] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth. Will we have to pay a price? Yes, and we are ready to pay it. We are called a nation of martyrs, and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.”

Enough, then with the pious platitudes of the protesters (putting aside those who sincerely care). They are standing with evil. They are playing with fire. Eventually, they will be burned.


Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Can You be Gay and Christian?; Our Hands Are Stained With Blood; and Seize the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival. You can connect with him on Facebook, X, or YouTube.


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