Palestine protesters arrested during congressional hearing

November 9, 2023

A group of pro-Palestine college students were arrested Tuesday for disrupting a hearing in Congress about anti-Semitism and free speech on college campuses. 

The students were charged with illegally protesting inside a Congressional Office Building, and one was charged with assaulting a police officer.

The hecklers shouted demands for a cease-fire and an end to the "silencing" of students sympathetic to Palestine.

Palestine protesters arrested

They also condemned the bi-partisan censure Tuesday of Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who has come under fire for her passionate rhetoric - including the slogan "from the river to the sea," seen by many as a call for Israel's destruction.

The Wednesday hearing was led by Republican Jim Jordan (OH), chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Free speech is a regular concern for conservatives, but the progressives who crashed the event say their rights have not been respected.

"What is your right to speech if all of us are not free?" one protester asked as she was escorted by police.

Progressives have spent years backing the repression of conservative viewpoints. But in the wake of the conflict in Israel, many on the left have said their speech targeting Israel has been censored and falsely labeled anti-Semitic.

One protester at Wednesday's hearing held up a sign that said "Pro-Palestine does not equal Anti-Semitism."

But others say the anti-Israel protests - which have sometimes featured praise of Hamas - have created a hostile climate for Jews, who have faced rising threats since October 7.

Palestine protesters insist they are the real victims, however.

"The inaction by our universities is contributing to the dehumanization of Palestinians and creating an hostile campus climate that actively harms students,” said Hafiza Khalique of New York University and a member of Dissenters, an antiwar advocacy group.

Protesters swarm D.C.

Pro-Palestine protesters have rallied behind calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military response to the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,400 Israelis.

In recent weeks, thousands of protesters have converged on D.C. landmarks like the White House and the United States Capitol to get their message out.

The Biden administration has walked a tightrope, defending Israel on one hand while urging the Jewish state to consider "pauses" for humanitarian purposes.

Biden has also launched a campaign against "Islamophobia," angering those who say anti-Semitism is a bigger problem.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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