To express solidarity with Palestinian students and respond to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, a group of professors at New York University (NYU) has formed a chapter named Faculty for Justice in Palestine. The announcement was made during a pro-Palestine protest on October 17, 2023, at Washington Square Park. This organization supports Palestinian students and promotes pro-Palestine speech among faculty members.
The group’s formation follows concerns expressed by NYU faculty about the lack of support for Palestinian students on campus. Professor Andrew Ross from the College of Arts and Science (CAS) endorsed the group’s statement. As well as underlined their shared concern as responsible community members. He mentioned, “We live in a country that has given full-throttle support to the Israeli assault in Gaza right now, and that should be a matter of concern and outrage on the part of most students in this country.”
The Faculty for Justice in Palestine has already gathered over 100 signatures from professors, illustrating the resonance of their message within the academic community.
Palestine Support Protest
The pro-Palestine protest, organized by NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine, called for ending Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, highlighting the intensified conflict between Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, and the Israeli military.
Recent events have escalated tensions in the region. Hamas launched a rocket attack on nearby Israeli towns. This attack was met with Israeli military airstrikes in Gaza and a total blockade. This affected over 2 million civilians’ access to essential resources such as food, water, and electricity. Reports also indicated the use of chemical white phosphorus in populated areas and the displacement of over a million Palestinians to southern Gaza.
The Voices of NYU on Supporting Palestine
Eli Pearl is a first-year student with an Israeli background. It conveyed his internal conflict about the protests, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of the complex situation. He said, “On one hand, my cousin is in the Israeli Defence Forces, and I don’t want him to die. On the other hand, when I read news of this hospital being bombed. I won’t support that because it is complete and objective insanity. When I hear about settlerism and people getting kicked out of homes, insanity is the only way to describe it.”
One anonymous junior who attended the protest in support of Palestinian students criticized NYU’s response and the university president, Linda Mills, for not addressing the Palestinian casualties resulting from the Israel-Hamas war. They stated, “NYU is vocal about what happened in Israel but not about what Israel is doing to Palestine.”
Faculty for Justice in Palestine Group
Over 30 on-campus student groups criticized Mills’ statement for not addressing the Palestinians’ enduring genocide!
Despite forming the Faculty for Justice in Palestine group, Professor Andrew Ross clarified that the group’s statement represents faculty members, not the entire university community. He acknowledged the challenges faced by those who express pro-Palestinian views on campuses across the country. Emphasizing that violations of academic freedom have occurred in response to external pressures placed on university administrations.
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