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Protesters hijack college Zoom with ‘anti-Semitic’ rhetoric: students

Protesters hijack college Zoom with 'anti-Semitic' rhetoric: students

A group of pro-Palestinian students allegedly hijacked a Zoom lecture at Hunter College to make anti-Semitic comments “completely demonizing” Israel — including claiming that the Holocaust has been used as a “tool” in the conflict in the Middle East, classmates said.

Several students at the Silberman School of Social Work abruptly changed their backgrounds to Palestinian flags and their names to “Free Palestine: Decolonize” in the middle of the required session, as some read statements speaking out against the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Fox News reported.

Professor Simone Gamble also allegedly joined students in changing her name to “Free Palestine: Decolonize,” the outlet said.

“They were totally and completely demonizing Israel, and I was so horrified, I was sick to my stomach. I was so taken aback, and to be honest, this is the most anti-Semitic I’ve ever seen with my own,” one Jewish student told the outlet.

“There was absolutely no room for anyone to talk against what they were saying … There was absolutely no voice for anyone pro-Israel at all.”

The protest occurred during the final session of a course titled “Practice Lab,” which focuses on forms of oppression seen throughout history, on May 20 — the day that Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire after more than a week of deadly fighting.

Screenshot taken from a video of the Practice Lab lecture on May 20 provided to Fox News.
Screenshot taken from a video of the Practice Lab lecture on May 20 provided to Fox News.

Footage from the Zoom call showed students taking turns reading a lengthy prepared statement that said, “Anti-Zionism is not equivalent to Anti-Semitism,” Fox reported.

Others involved also praised Black Lives Matter for “condemning the deadly, racist attacks from the Israeli state” and claimed the US had caused the “colonization of Palestine through funding.”

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In the comments section, one of the participants allegedly wrote, “The Holocaust has been used as a tool.”

“The fear of anti-Semitism as the fear of ‘this could happen again’ is being used preemptively to oppress and kill others,” the comment continued.

A second student, who didn’t want to be identified, told Fox News the remarks were “absolutely horrendous and really advocating for this mob mentality and this one side of a very complex issue.”

A third Jewish student blasted Gable, the professor, for allegedly partaking in the stunt.

“For professors who are the experts in this anti-oppression curriculum to not stand up or do anything or say anything to intervene was quite shocking,” the student told Fox. “What violence could have taken place if this happened in person? Because it really felt like a virtual mob.”

The Silberman School of Social Work said in a statement that it “takes very seriously any allegations of anti-Semitism,” Fox reported.

“In a recent, end-of-year virtual class on Zoom, the discussion went in an unplanned direction as students expressed strong and, at times, heated opposing viewpoints and sentiments about the recent conflict in the Middle East,” the school said.

Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash with in Times Square and adjacent streets.
Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash with in Times Square and adjacent streets.
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

“After this exchange, the lead instructor asked for mutual respect and empathy for all points of view, and reminded students they could continue their discussion in smaller class sections. The virtual course continued to its conclusion as planned.”

The statement continued, “While we respect the principle of an open and free exchange of ideas, we will not tolerate hate speech in any form.

“As the oldest and largest public school of social work in NYC, we will continue to work earnestly with our students, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure our school remains a safe and inclusive environment for all,” the statement said.

Hunter College is part of the City University of New York public college system.

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About the author

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Raymond Hicks

With a knack for storytelling, Raymond started The Madison Leader Gazette about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the US & World section, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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