Campus Protests in the West Accelerate the Palestinian Quest for Freedom

Student Protest Palestine 1

“If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.”

–Joe Biden (Senate Speech, 1986) 

We are all Palestinians today. Especially in the wake of Israel’s genocidal invasion of Gaza on October 2, 2023, any decent, informed, and intelligent person, irrespective of one’s faith and ethnolinguistic background, anywhere in the world must be pro-Palestinian. Barring most Western governments and their leaders in government and opposition, people around the globe are in solidarity with the hapless victims of the ongoing Zionist genocidal invasion of Gaza. 

Millions of youths, especially in the West, have already come forward in support of the victims of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza. They also demand Palestine to be free from Israeli occupation since 1948. America provides $3.8 billion annually to Israel for the purchase of American weapons. Additionally, since the Israeli invasion of Gaza in October, the Biden Administration has given around $26 billion to Israel, citing the need for Israel to “defend itself from anti-Semitic Palestinians”. However, most Millennials and Generation Z worldwide no longer believe this cliche. As of early May, Israel has killed around 35,000 Palestinians (including half of them children) in Gaza. There’s no reason to be moved by Biden’s late and worthless “kindness” towards the Palestinian victims of the Israeli genocidal war in Gaza by his decision to suspend further delivery of 2,000-pound bombs and artillery shells to Israel by his government — since he knows now that these weapons kill innocent Palestinians! It has come too late and too little to “save Palestinian lives”. 

Last month, the United States refrained from vetoing the Security Council’s decision, which called for an unconditional ceasefire in Gaza. The latest Volte Face and the apparent neutrality of the Biden Administration regarding the Gaza War befools nobody. We believe these farcical and melodramatic gimmicks by Biden are an attempt to gain support from Arab, Muslim, and liberal young voters in the US to secure a second term in office. 

It’s important to acknowledge that all US presidents, from Truman to Biden, except possibly Carter and Clinton, can be considered war criminals based on any definition of the term. This acknowledgement should form the foundation of any discussion on the US’s controversial pro-Israeli and anti-Arab/anti-Muslim policies from 1919 onward. The conflicts between Zionists and Palestinians, which have resulted in genocide, started soon after the League of Nations arbitrarily brought Palestine and Jordan under the British mandate in 1919, primarily due to British involvement and US apathy. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine is a Western genocidal war against freedom-loving Palestinians. Those who speak out against the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza are often branded anti-Semites by Western governments and Israel. We live another “Longest Day” in human history with resilience, courage, and optimism despite Zionist and Western terror. However, I believe the ongoing campus protests in the West accelerate Palestinian freedom. 

The world has witnessed a surge of campus protests across North America, Europe, and beyond following the “Million People’s March”. This has given me renewed hope for the people of Gaza and has made me realise that my optimism is not unfounded. I firmly believe that a Free Palestine is a dream and a shared destiny of every freedom-loving and justice-seeking person on earth. It may take time, but we must continue to stand together and fight for what is right. YouTuber Maher Musalli – a Saudi human rights activist – has recently affirmed that no global authority exists to stop Netanyahu’s genocidal warfare in Gaza. Twitter has removed Musalli’s video due to its anti-Israeli content. His video also highlights an American assertion that says, “You Gazans have liberated America”, as he learnt about the hypocritical and double standards of Israeli and US governments towards Palestine. Here lies the flicker of hope in these candid words of the American!

The Arab world, particularly the Muslim world at large, has been coerced into submission and a deafening silence. This has been facilitated by autocratic rulers who are protegees of Western powers, possibly except Iran, Turkiye, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Despite these challenges, there is a flicker of hope for oppressed people across the world, particularly the Palestinians. In the West, millions of young people from the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts, including those in Israel, are championing the cause of freedom, optimism, and hope for the underdogs in Palestine. They tell us without any ambiguity: “Support Palestine today for a better world tomorrow!” This positive development emphasizes the need for continued advocacy and activism to support the oppressed in and beyond Palestine.

I wish Western leaders complicit in the genocidal warfare in Gaza — who are the descendants and successors of imperialist marauders, at least since the days of Columbus, who killed, raped, dehumanized, enslaved, and plundered hundreds of millions of indigenous people in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania – start acting like civilized human beings, rather than continuing the legacy of their warmongering ancestors. I demand that they reflect, repent, and transform their behaviour to adhere to the basic principles of humanity, which they have disregarded for the last five centuries. 

The younger generation has been exposed to many ideas, including the “New World Order” and the “War on Terror”. However, most of them in the Western world have developed their rationale for distancing themselves from the narrative of unjust invasions and the mass killing of innocent people by Netanyahu and his promoters in powerful Western capitals, Washington, London, and elsewhere. This pattern of behaviour is reminiscent of previous leaders such as the rough and tough Papa and Baby Bush, the deceptively gentle Blair, the smooth, suave, and intellectual Obama, and the “mad” and unpredictable Trump, all of whom have contributed to the destabilization of the world order.

It’s worth noting that after the assertive, brave, and humane generation of anti-war protesters from the 1960s and 1970s disappeared from the social and political movements arena, the West experienced a false dawn of hope and euphoria. This happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union, which Francis Fukuyama ineptly called the “End of History”. The West has become too complacent and indifferent towards the suffering of humanity outside of North America and Western Europe, as well as its allies in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the compliant oil-rich Arab World. After the end of the Cold War, the West and its allies indulged themselves in phoney wars against their own Frankenstein’s Monsters like Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and the Taliban through the ubiquitous War on Terror. This has resulted in collective amnesia and the criminally induced fever of the War on Terror following the mysterious and catastrophic 9/11 across the West.

In Washington in 2023, Joe Biden told Israeli President Isaac Herzog, “If there were no Israel, we’d have to invent one” (referring to his 1986 Senate speech). The views of Biden, Trump, and many White Americans regarding Israel are similar. Despite this, the ongoing Gaza Massacre is a tragedy that the whole world is witnessing in real time. As the violence continues, it has sparked a movement among college students worldwide who are now passionate advocates for Palestinian rights and condemn the actions of the Israeli government. This surge in activism is a testament to the power of the younger generation, who will one-day lead state affairs and shape the policies of governments worldwide. We must listen to their voices and take action now to ensure a better future for all.

In an exciting development, the UN General Assembly voted on May 10th to grant Palestine full UN membership. All countries except the US, Argentina, and seven small ones voted favourably, while 29 abstained. Disregarding the decision, the Israeli representative tore down the UN Charter. Israeli defiance of international law, including the UN, has been emboldened by the American blank cheque. In this regard, Joe Biden is unambiguous.  Western support for Israel without any conditions is in line with Theodor Herzl’s ideas mentioned in his pamphlet “The Jewish State,” published in 1896. According to him, Israel would be a “Western rampart in the heart of the Arab World”. It would help in protecting the strategically significant regions of the Middle East and North Africa for the West.

Western support for Israel has been driven by the desire to control the vast oil fields in the Gulf, as well. In twenty years, most motorized vehicles will run on electricity instead of fossil fuels. What a US general said quite candidly during the First Gulf War in 1991, that the root cause of the war was oil and that America was jealously guarding its interests in the Arab World by keeping control over the oil fields across the region for its allies to use, will no longer be relevant in the coming years. I believe America’s Military-Industrial Lobby’s overpowering influence as warmongers in the world will be neutralized as well by the emergence of China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, and democratic Saudi Arabia and Egypt as superpowers in a multipolar world. 

Today’s youth are surpassing their predecessors in terms of knowledge and capacity. Driven by a strong passion for democracy, freedom, and human rights, their colour-blind stance on race is a testament to their progressive outlook. Their potential as thought leaders is unmatched, and they will be the driving force behind a new era of change and progress. I firmly believe in the power of truth, justice, and natural law, and therefore, my optimism is a resolute affirmation rather than a mere hyperbole. The Millennials and Generation Z in North American, European, and Australian campuses show unexpected passion for the Palestinian cause. Their voices are being heard today, and their actions will matter in the coming decades. As they become the law- and policy-makers in the West, especially in the US and UK, which have been the main supporters of Israel since before its establishment in 1948, their opinions and actions will carry significant weight. Within the next ten years or even sooner, there will be an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and an end to the Israeli occupation of all Arab lands.

Taj Hashmi is a historian-cum-cultural anthropologist and security analyst, Taj Hashmi, Ph.D., FRAS, is a retired professor of Security Studies at the APCSS, US. He has written several books and hundreds of journal-articles, and newspaper op-eds. As an analyst of current affairs, he regularly appears on talk shows about Bangladesh, South Asia, and World affairs. His latest book, Fifty Years of Bangladesh, 1971-2021: Crises of Culture, Development, Governance, and Identity, was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2022. Tel: 1+ 647 447 2609. Email: [email protected]

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