A 2024 Pro-Palestinian College Protest photo example.

2024 Pro-Palestinian College Protests / Gaza Solidarity Encampments

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Updated May 04, 2024 at 08:21PM EDT by Steve.

Added Apr 30, 2024 at 07:41PM EDT by Steve.

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Overview

The 2024 Pro-Palestinian College Protests and Gaza Solidarity Encampments refer to the pro-Palestine protests that occurred in April 2024 (and onward) concerning the 2023-2024 Israel-Hamas Conflict and the United States government's involvement in aiding Israel and the IDF. The protests also called for divestment of funds aiding Israel. The protests started at Vanderbilt University in March 2024, notably spreading to the University of Columbia in New York and other campuses. The student-led protests and public occupations of university campuses then spread nationwide, earning news headlines, support and controversy. Discourse and memes also spawned from the protests, such as the Jug of Justice regarding a video of a California Polytechnic State University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt) student "bonking" a police officer with a water jug.

Background

Vanderbilt University

On March 16th, 2024, students at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee reported that the school had canceled a vote to divest the student government from companies supporting Israel.[10] On March 26th, Vanderbilt students then occupied a campus building to protest. Some students were expelled and a Nashville reporter was arrested at the scene.[11][12]

On March 26th, 2024, students at Vanderbilt set up a "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" on campus (shown below).[13]


Jack Petocz @Jack_Petocz Follow Vanderbilt's Gaza Solidarity Encampment reaches day 28! VANDERBI PROTESTERS=3 EXPELLED RAPISTS=0 EXPELLED 6:47 PM Apr 23, 2024 2.8M Views

University of Columbia

On April 17th, 2024, students at the University of Columbia in New York, New York set up a pro-Palestinian encampment on their campus on the same day that the college's president Nemat Shafik was questioned before Congress.[1] Shafik had been heavily criticized by Republicans in Congress who accused her of not combatting "antisemitism on Columbia’s campus."[1]

Multiple photos and videos of Columbia students starting the encampment went viral on Twitter / X, such as a photo tweeted by X[2] user @_sarahkhan on April 18th, receiving over 1,800 likes in 13 days (shown below, left). On April 17th, X[3] user @ColumbiaSJP tweeted a comparison photo between the 2024 encampment and a 1968 Columbia encampment concerning the U.S.'s involvement in the Vietnam War,[4] gaining over 15,000 likes in two weeks (shown below, right).


目 WE SHALL NOT BE MOVEN LIBERATED ZONES 1968, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 14 HOMER HEL LIBERATED ZONE NOT WAR 2024, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

In the following days, pro-Palestinian protesters from the tri-state area flocked to Columbia to show support.[1] At the same time, pro-Israel counter-protestors arrived, evident in a video tweeted by X[5] user @rubin_a1 on April 17th, who stated that Columbia President Shafik failed the university's Jewish students and should step down, receiving over 2,000 likes in two weeks (shown below).


On April 18th, 2024, 100 protestors were arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD).[6] Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian encampments spread to other American universities, including the University of Michigan, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of North Carolina (UNC), Harvard University, New York University (NYU) and Yale University, among others.[1][7][8][9]

As of May 4th, 2024, pro-Palestinian encampments remain largely active at many American universities and colleges.[1]

Developments

Mass Arrests at Columbia

On April 20th, 2024, more than 100 Columbia students were arrested by NYPD officers in riot gear who stormed the lawn encampment and occupiers in the university's Hamilton Hall.[14] Photos and videos of the scene went viral on X[15][16] on the day of (examples shown below).


WKCR-FM NY @WKCRFM ON BROADWAY 113TH GOO W 114 St 9:05 PM Apr 30, 2024 8.7M Views New Put Lib

"Jew" Shirt Lady at Yale Pro-Palestine Protest

'Jew' Shirt Lady at Yale Pro-Palestine Protest refers to a woman wearing a T-shirt with "Jew" written on it in blue at a pro-Palestine protest at Yale University. The viral video was posted by her husband William Iannuzzi (@BordwellNole) on Twitter / X in late April 2024, who wrote, "My wife is a brave Jew. We stood alone at Yale University today. She wore no mask and was proud. Notice the horde hiding behind their masks." After its upload, the video inspired mass discourse and debate related to the 2023-2024 Israel-Hamas Conflict. Many people criticized the woman and her husband for calling the protesters a "horde." Others found the video cringe and near-sighted, evident in viral quotes and replies.



Jug of Justice / Bonk the Police

Jug of Justice and Bonk the Police are pro-Palestine symbols and catchphrases started by a viral video of a student protester at California Polytechnic State University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt) hitting a police officer in the head with a large, empty water jug while the crowd of students was trying to keep the cops from entering a doorway. The original video was a Facebook livestream shared by a local Humboldt County journalism outlet Redheaded Blackbelt. It was quickly reposted and went viral on Twitter / X, TikTok and Instagram, among other platforms, in late April 2024. In turn, the water jug and the idea of "bonking" police (akin to the Bonk Cheems meme) became pro-Palestine and ACAB symbols for the pro-Palestinian student-led protests and encampments. The water jug notably became an exploitable added to recognizable anti-police imagery.



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