Anti-Israel Activity on Campus: 2009 in Review
Posted: February 1, 2010
Anti-Israel activity on campus in 2009 was marked by three notable campaigns, each fueling tension on campus surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Overt efforts to disrupt pro-Israel events reached a new level in 2009, resulting in some Israeli officials and other pro-Israel speakers being escorted out of their venues as a security measure after being heckled by audience members. These attempts to stifle pro-Israel views were often accompanied by campus demonstrations nearby.
Many colleges and universities also saw a spike in boycott and divestment activity targeting Israel in the wake of Israel's military action in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. Through petitions, resolutions and other efforts, students and faculty attempted to steer university and public support away from Israeli and Israel-affiliated institutions.
In spring 2009, George Galloway, a far-left British parliamentarian from the anti-Zionist Respect Party, spoke at a several American colleges and universities in 2009 to promote his Viva Palestina US convoy to Gaza. Many of Galloway's talks, during which he regularly advanced anti-Zionist views and voiced support for Palestinian "resistance," were organized by student groups in an effort to support and raise funds for the convoy.
Taken together, the promotional tour for Viva Palestina US, boycott and divestment initiatives targeting Israel, and increasingly confrontational behavior on the part of anti-Israel activists in 2009 only intensified the dialogue about Israel on many campuses.
As responses to the ongoing Middle East conflict unfold on campuses nationwide in 2010, a similar blend of anti-Israel tactics are likely to continue to be used by students and student groups seeking to advance hostile views towards Israel.