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Anti-Israel protests sweep across elite universities just before Passover

Anti-Israel encampments swept across elite universities on Monday, as antisemitic and pro-terror demonstrations at Columbia University reached a fever pitch at the start of Passover. 

As Columbia held classes remotely following a weekend of hateful rhetoric surrounding it pro-Gaza encampment on the South Lawn, where incidents have included a young woman holding a sign with an arrow pointing to Jewish students stating “Al-Qasam’s Next Targets,” and anti-Israel agitators shouting “We are Hamas” and “We don’t want no Zionists here,” police officials said that Columbia University leadership “does not want NYPD on campus.” Yet, a strong police presence was seen outside Columbia’s gates, where officers appeared to start making arrests on Monday afternoon, according to photos from the scene. 

Another similar demonstration popped up outside a New York University building. 

Unlike Columbia, which locked its gates amid the protests, NYU does not have an enclosed campus space.

Tents with the anarchy symbol and a sign attempting to connect Black Rock to “Israel Apartheid” were seen pitched along the sidewalk near the NYU building, as anti-Israel agitators banged pots and pans and picketed in a circle. Other signs at the NYU demonstration, captured in footage shared by FreedomNews.TV, read “Honor the Martyrs of Palestine” and “We are all SJP,” a reference to the anti-Israel group known as “Students for Justice in Palestine.” Columbia notably suspended its SJP chapter for staging an “unauthorized” die-in event on campus back in November. 


Encampment-style demonstrations were also erected at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emerson College. 

Photos showed tents near Emerson’s Boston campus with signs reading “from the river to the sea,” the antisemitic phrase calling for the eradication of the Jewish state, as well as “No more money for Israel’s crimes,” “drop all charges on student activists” and “neutrality” is complicity with the Palestinian flag. 

Emerson tent against Israel

Aerial footage captured by CBS Boston over MIT showed anti-Israel agitators setting up an encampment on the campus lawn. Notably, the MIT president was the only one to keep her job when she and the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania failed to explicitly condemn calls for the genocide while testifying before the House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing in December.  


Columbia’s president testified before the same committee on Wednesday, and on Thursday, allowed the NYPD onto campus to arrest more than 100 people for trespassing. They have since been released from custody. 

On Sunday, Elie Buechler, a rabbi for the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Learning Initiative at Columbia, sent a WhatsApp message to nearly 300 Jewish students recommending they go home because campus police and the NYPD “cannot guarantee Jewish students’ safety in the face of extreme antisemitism and anarchy.” 

Yale Protest Inset

A New Haven, Connecticut, police spokesperson said about 45 protesters were arrested at Yale on Monday morning and charged with misdemeanor trespassing. 

All were being released on promises to appear in court later. 

Protesters set up tents on Beinecke Plaza on Friday and demonstrated over the weekend, calling on Yale to end any investments in defense companies that do business with Israel.

Anti-Israel encampment by Emerson College

In a statement to the campus community on Sunday, Yale President Peter Salovey said university officials had spoken to the student protesters multiple times about the school’s policies and guidelines, including those regarding speech and allowing access to campus spaces.

“Putting up structures, defying the directives of university officials, staying in campus spaces past allowed times, and other acts that violate university policies and guidelines create safety hazards and impede the work of our university,” he said. School officials said they spoke with protesters over several hours and gave them until the end of the weekend to leave Beinecke Plaza. They said they again warned protesters Monday morning and told them that they could face arrest and discipline, including suspension, before police moved in.


A large group of demonstrators regathered after Monday’s arrests at Yale and blocked a street near campus, a police spokesperson said. There were no reports of any violence or injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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