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

Pro-Palestinian protesters continue weekslong call for Tel Aviv site shutdown

Members of various student groups took part in a rally at Washington Square Park in solidarity with Palestinians during the ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Spencer Mulvaney
NYU students gathered in Washington Square Park to protest the right of pro-Palestinian expression on campus as well as shutting down NYU’s study abroad site in Tel Aviv. (Spencer Mulvaney for WSN)

Around 50 students gathered by the Garibaldi statue in Washington Square Park for a pro-Palestinian rally on Tuesday, reiterating demands for NYU to protect pro-Palestinian speech on campus, shut down its study abroad site in Tel Aviv and call for a permanent cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. NYU has repeatedly opposed calls to shut down its Tel Aviv program.

The rally, which included members of Jews Against Zionism, NYU’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America and Students for Justice in Palestine, was the latest of many near campus since the start of the war in early October. Protesters chanted in solidarity for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while two New York City Police Department officers stood behind the crowd.

“The Palestinian people are crying — the children, elderly, mothers, fathers, teachers and doctors are being brutally massacred every moment,” a representative from YDSA said at the rally. “The Israel genocidal campaign is a brutal reality that is actively ripping apart families, destroying lives, displacing millions as we stand here today. We must never let ourselves become desensitized to the human, individual cost that a number could never accurately reflect.”

The rally comes after university president Linda Mills released a student conduct report last week, which disclosed that NYU is reviewing more than 90 conduct cases and has issued student suspensions “related to current concerns.” Over the last few weeks, the university has also increased the presence of Campus Safety and NYPD officers at its Washington Square and Brooklyn campuses.

An anonymous representative from Jews Against Zionism said they think Mills’ 10 Point Plan for Student Safety and Well-being ignores student concerns and that the increase in law enforcement on campus would put Black and brown students at risk.

“We know that the NYPD does not keep us safe. Linda Mills is putting the Black and brown students at NYU in imminent danger of police violence,” the representative said. “She is employing surveillance in order to scare us, but it will not work. We will not carry on with business as usual, and we refuse to be complacent in genocide.”

The ongoing war began after the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked nearby Israeli towns on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 Israeli civilians and taking more than 200 hostage. A temporary pause to the conflict — which began on Nov. 24 in exchange for the release of dozens of Israeli hostages in Gaza and 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israel — ended on Friday. The Israeli military has killed more than 15,800 Palestinians in the fighting so far, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

A group of people hold two large banners on a stage in Washington Square Park. On the left is an orange banner with “BLACKROCK” written in the middle, and drawing of red hands pointing to words such as “ISRAELI APARTHEID” and “CLIMATE DESTRUCTION.” On the right is a yellow banner that reads “N.Y.U. FUNDS GENOCIDE IN GAZA”.
(Spencer Mulvaney for WSN)

An anonymous representative from the student environmentalist group Climate Care Collective who also spoke at the rally said they think NYU’s Tel Aviv site contributes to what they called “genocide and ethnic cleansing” in the Gaza Strip.

Pro-Palestinian students have called for the site to be shut down multiple times over the last few weeks. Some students have alleged that the site violates academic freedom and the university’s Code of Ethical Conduct and Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policies due to an Israeli law that bars foreigners who have endorsed a boycott of the country from entering. The university has repeatedly rejected calls to end its operations at the site, saying that shutting it down would violate academic freedom.

The Climate Care Collective representative also criticized Larry Fink, a member of NYU’s Board of Trustees and the CEO of the asset management firm BlackRock, for the firm’s holdings in major weapons manufacturers, which the speaker said create the weapons being used by the Israeli military. BlackRock has investments in various weapons manufacturers, owning around 7.90% of L3Harris Technologies, 10.60% of Leidos, 6.90% of RTX and 6.80% of Lockheed Martin.

“As a trustee of NYU, Larry Fink holds sway over the policies, investments and priorities of the school. And from these decisions comes NYU’s continued complacency in the face of genocide and ethnic cleansing,” the representative said. “This is crucial in understanding why NYU continues to put band-aids on gaping wounds and why pro-Palestinian voices are continually repressed on campus.”

The university did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Contact Jennifer Wu and John Kim at [email protected].

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