UA students walkout in support of Palestine, slam university president for condemning terrorism
On Nov. 9, demonstrators took specific aim at university president Robert Robbins, chanting, 'Robbie Robbins you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.'
The protesters also likened the situation in Palestine to issues at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Over 1,000 people participated in a recent “walkout” at the University of Arizona to oppose the school’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war.
The Nov. 9 protest was organized to allegedly show support for Palestine and took specific aim at university president Robert Robbins, with protesters chanting, “Robbie Robbins you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”
This comes in response to a statement from Robbins that condemned Hamas.
“As we continue to witness the horrendous acts of terrorism by Hamas in Israel targeted at innocent civilians, including children, this clearly is not just a political debate or incident related to geopolitical differences,” the statement read. “Let’s call it what it is: antisemitic hatred, murder, and a complete atrocity.”
Robbins also denounced the National Students for Justice in Palestine organization for making “statements endorsing the actions of Hamas in Israel, which are, of course, antithetical to [UA’s] values.”
He went on to acknowledge that “the First Amendment protects speech and demonstrations,” but that the school was “prepared” to ensure student safety during the protest.
Protesters also targeted defense contractor Raytheon, with whom the university has a partnership, for supplying weapons to Israel.
The protest was organized by several community groups, including Tuscon’s chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who posted a flyer advertising the event on Instagram.
The post declared, “No business as usual until Palestine is FREE!,” and called on students to “Talk to your professors, peers, colleagues, and see if they will stand up against genocide with you!”
In a separate statement, the group drew a comparison between the situation in Palestine to problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, noting, “Israeli company Elbit developed the surveillance towers that line the U.S.-Mexico border, modeled after those that maintain apartheid in Gaza.”
Protesters at the UA walkout echoed this sentiment, chanting, “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
Some Jewish students led a counterdemonstration. They noted the walkout coincided with the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass,” during which Nazis perpetrated deadly terror attacks against Jewish civilians.
“We’re here in the face of people who are defending those who attacked our friends and families,” one Jewish student told The Daily Wildcat. “This is not a fight against Palestinians, this is a fight against Hamas, to condemn them for what they’ve done.”
Campus Reform contacted the University of Arizona, UA’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, and Tuscon’s Party for Socialism and Liberation for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.