New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Faculty form group in support of Palestinian students at protest

A group of professors at NYU said they are forming a group to support Palestinian students at a Tuesday pro-Palestine protest in Washington Square Park.
Alex Tey
NYU professors launched the organization Faculty for Justice in Palestine at an Oct. 17 rally in Washington Square Park. (Alex Tey for WSN)

Professors at NYU announced that they would start a chapter of Faculty for Justice in Palestine at the university amid hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters at Washington Square Park on Tuesday. The group has released a statement condemning “the brutal killing of civilians” in the Israeli military’s ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip and calling on other faculty to promote pro-Palestine speech.

CAS professor Andrew Ross, who signed the statement, said the group formed after faculty members said they noticed a lack of support for Palestinian students. The group’s statement currently has over 100 signatures from professors. 

“We are concerned human beings and citizens of this community,” Ross said. “We live in a country that has given full-throttle support to the Israeli assault in Gaza right now and that should be a matter of concern and outrage on the part of most students in this country.”

Dozens of NYPD officers formed a line to separate hundreds of pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protestors.
(Krish Dev for WSN)

The protest, organized by NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine, called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank amid the escalated conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Israeli military. Many pro-Israel students came together in counterprotest and out of respect for Israelis who have been kidnapped or lost their lives in Hamas attacks.

Last week, Hamas sent a rocket attack into nearby Israeli towns, killing more than a thousand Israeli civilians and taking nearly 200 hostage. The attack was followed by Israeli military airstrikes in Gaza and a total blockade on the region, cutting over 2 million civilians off from food, water and electricity. The military also used the chemical white phosphorus in the air over populated areas in the region and ordered the displacement of over 1 million Palestinians to southern Gaza.

Pro-Israel protestors shout while holding up posters of missing people in Israel.
Pro-Israel protestors shout while holding up posters of missing people in Israel. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Senior Zack Goldberg, one of the counterprotesters, said he feels the NYU community has generally been supportive of its Jewish students in the aftermath of Hamas’s attacks on Israel.

“I’m an orthodox Jew, and I outwardly wear my head-covering and other pieces of clothing to show that I feel confident,” Goldberg said. “Thankfully, I feel like NYU is a real safe space for me. I’ve seen issues where people are tearing down posters of kidnapped children, which is very problematic, and some really hateful things were said in this protest, but otherwise, I feel pretty confident. Some students from other classes and from previous years have sent me beautiful emails asking how I’m doing, and, overall, it’s been a positive experience.”

On Tuesday, a massive blast struck a hospital in Gaza City, killing at least 500 Palestinians. In a recent trip to Israel, President Joe Biden supported Israel’s claim that the attack did not come from its military and was instead a misfire by a Palestinian militant group. More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7 in what major news publications are calling a “humanitarian crisis.” 

NYPD officers block off an entrance to Washington Square Park.
NYPD officers blocking off an entrance to Washington Square Park. (Krish Dev for WSN)

First-year Eli Pearl found the police presence at the protest and the burning of an Israeli flag particularly shocking. However, he said he feels conflicted about the protests because of his Israeli background.

“On one hand, my cousin is in the Israeli Defence Forces, and I don’t want him to die,” Pearl said. “On the other hand, when I read news of this hospital being bombed, I’m not going to support that because it is complete and objective insanity. When I hear about settlerism and people getting kicked out of homes, insanity is the only way to describe it.”

Pro-Palestine protestors burn the Israeli flag.
Pro-Palestine protestors burning the Israeli flag. (Krish Dev for WSN)

A junior, who requested to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, said he attended the demonstration in support of Palestinian students on campus. The student said NYU has been alienating Palestinian students, and criticized university president Linda Mills for not publicly addressing the thousands of innocent Palestinians who have died due to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas.

“Israel is literally committing war crimes against Palestine, forcing the movement of people, using banned war chemicals, bombing hospitals and targeting civilians — it’s just disgusting,” the student said. “NYU is vocal about what happened in Israel but not about what Israel is doing to Palestine.”

A protestor holds a sign saying “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA PALESTINE WILL BE FREE.”
(Krish Dev for WSN)

Mills released a statement to the NYU community last week, calling the rocket attack on Israeli towns by Hamas a “deadly terrorist attack on Israel.” Over 30 on-campus student groups criticized Mills’ statement for her failure to address the Palestinian casualties resulting from the Israel-Hamas war.

Most recently, the Student Bar Association at NYU’s law school initiated the removal of its president, Ryna Workman after they wrote in a newsletter that “Israel bears full responsibility” for the loss of life in the conflict. Workman also lost a job offer at an international law firm following their message.

Ross said that NYU does not speak for the whole university community, which he said is an important distinction to make. He said he is not anticipating a university response to the group’s statement.

“Across the country, over the last decade or so, campus voices that do speak up with pro-Palestinian views are subject to censure and punishment, including people being fired from their jobs,” Ross said. “This is largely in response to outside pressure brought to bear on university administrations but it is clearly, in many cases, violations of academic freedom.” 

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Contact Adrianna Nehme and Krish Dev at [email protected].

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Adrianna Nehme
Adrianna Nehme, News Editor
Adrianna Nehme is a sophomore still trying to decide what to major in. Originally from a small town in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois for high school — where she was also the news editor for the school paper! She loves experiencing music live at concerts, seeking restaurants to try in the city and reading fiction novels — her all-time favorite is "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. Check out her latest adventures on Instagram @adrianna.nehme.
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.
Alex Tey
Alex Tey, Editor-at-Large
Alex Tey was previously WSN’s editor-in-chief. She is now at large. Watch out!

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *