by maRco Elliott

The ongoing student protests and counter protests on campuses across the country show us that beyond the use of physical force, intimidation and arrests, another form of violence is at play. I write these lines on May 4th. the 54th anniversary of the Kent State  shootings of 13 students protesting the Vietnam War( 4 dead.) At the time Ronald Reagan is said to have suggested “if it takes a blood bath, let’s get it over with.” 

Words do matter! 

This war of words for the hearts and minds is in full daily display again.It can be observed with the naked eye. In the mainstream press the forces of cerebral repression are actively modeling the play dough of our innocent minds. Better be vigilant in the spirit of resistance. Turn on your crap detectors.

1 . The narrative is frequently obscured not always by clouds of tear gas but by a photoshopped description of what is occurring.

The campus protests might be far more than opposing pro Palestinian activist against pro Israel students. The binary view that this is a struggle between two camps is a divisive propaganda tool hinting at anti-Jewish bigotry as the prime motivation for the protests. Open minded Jewish students are often involved in the mostly peaceful protests condemning the indiscriminate murder and wounding of tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank in the pursuit of eradicating Hamas.

What if the conflict were described as pro Justice vs. pro status quo? Students at UCLA  were reportedly heard chanting during the brutal attack by masked  anti protesters  “You want peace, we want Justice.” One doesn’t need be a Los Angeleno above forty five to remember and understand the Rodney King uprising moto ” No Justice No Peace.”

2 . Another way to obscure the picture is the frequent strategic use of the term “antisemitism”. The term has often been appropriated to shame and ostracize anyone expressing opposition to the policies of the state of Israel, suggesting something hideous like Holocaust denying . Finding the Netanyahu patchwork coalition’s actions despicable doesn’t make one an antisemite. This word approriation selfishly denies that violence, discrimination or forced displacement against Arabs might also be antisemitic. If a genocide is happening in Gaza isn’t it also a blatant expression of antisemitism? Isn’t it a fratricidal struggle between Semites? What is a Semite? Oxford Languages: relating to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.

The courageous Gen Z students who stand up in opposition to antisemitism everywhere and war crimes against Arabs will no doubt be remembered as being on the right side of history. What they are learning after their protest encampments are demolished and found ” illegal” is perhaps the most important lesson: we do live under a repressive form of government, a government that fears the people and is threatened by opinions that go counter “the official program” whether it be led by the former president or the present one. The riot police called in  to maintain an unjust status quo wear the same uniforms, the same Darth Vader armor. Its effectiveness has proven to be remedial and short term. When will they ever learn?

Who in their right mind really  believes that the security, safety and well being of the people who live within the borders of Israel can be bought over and over with the blood and tears of Arab children and of their grieving parents? Will the unconditional “over the top” free flow of made in America weapons of destruction be part of a lasting solution to a long festering problem?