Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: UC Berkeley Students Demand Ceasefire in Israel-Hamas War
In a powerful display of solidarity with Palestine, more than 400 UC Berkeley students recently participated in a nationwide walkout, urging a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The protest, organized by student activists, also called on the university to divest from arms manufacturers that supply weaponry used by Israel.
The war, which has been raging for the past 19 days, has tragically resulted in the loss of thousands of lives. According to reports, Hamas launched a surprise attack, leading to the deaths of 1,400 Israelis. Israel retaliated with airstrikes, causing the deaths of 6,500 Palestinians.
During the demonstration, student organizers led passionate chants denouncing what they described as Israeli brutality and expressing their support for Palestine’s right to what they deemed justified resistance. UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian criticized the university for failing to remain neutral in the conflict and accused it of acting like a desk in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
To further emphasize their stance, 250 UC Berkeley faculty members signed a statement condemning the perception of Hamas attacks as a freedom fight and expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism. While pro-Palestinian movements have gained significant support on campus, concerns have been raised regarding the potential increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ expressed compassion and respect for the voices of the participants, but she maintained her opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Despite this disagreement, the protest drew parallels with historic protests against apartheid in South Africa and criticized UC Berkeley’s academic programs and study abroad initiatives in Israel.
In an effort to correct any misconceptions, it has been clarified that a statement issued by UC Berkeley faculty was not authored by Berkeley Hillel, a Jewish student organization.
The walkout at UC Berkeley represents the growing call for peace and justice in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As the movement gains momentum on campuses nationwide, it underscores the urgent need to address the ongoing violence and foster dialogue towards a lasting ceasefire and resolution.