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Humanity in Action statement in response to crackdown against peaceful student protesters on college campuses in the United States

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Over the past weeks, university students and faculty on campuses across the country have engaged in demonstrations against the war in Gaza. These demonstrations, which have followed over six months of protests against the war around the country, have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Humanity in Action is troubled by the response of many university administrators to these demonstrations and encampments, which has included suspensions, evictions from student housing, arrests, and the violent beating of students and faculty by police. We reject calls for escalation that include calling in more police, the national guard, or federal troops to remove these students from protest sites. The right of students to organize and protest peacefully is a central pillar of a free democratic society and must be protected and upheld. At the same time, we condemn the use and spread of vile Antisemitic rhetoric, whether from protesters themselves or from outside actors. There is ample space to oppose Israel’s actions in this war without crossing the line into bigotry or hate.

We support any of our Fellows who are engaged in constitutionally-protected peaceful protest. Humanity in Action teaches our Fellows to understand the lessons of history, to engage in productive cross-cultural dialogue, and to take action to advance justice, equity, and human rights. We thus join the call for university administrations to respond peacefully to these protests, to engage in dialogue, and to take meaningful steps towards deescalation.