Rantz: UW Seattle students planning antisemitic encampment to mirror Columbia University

Apr 24, 2024, 5:50 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2024, 7:27 am

UW Palestine encampment...

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested at the University of Washington's Gerberding Hall in Seattle Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Antisemitic students at the University of Washington (UW) are planning to set up an encampment in support of Hamas and Palestinians. UW faculty are sounding alarms, warning that the administration must be proactive in stopping it from forming.

Digital flyers by various antisemitic student groups are promoting a “UW Palestine encampment” for 8 a.m. Thursday on the Quad. Activists with the UW Progressive Student Union said they are one group of many that are organizing the action, saying they were inspired by Columbia University.

According to one post, they are demanding the U.S. end aid to Israel, for the UW to “divest and materially cut ties with Israel,” and calling for “victory to Palestine.”

“Please come out and support; we will be going until the demands are met by administration. Food, water, tents and especially energy are welcome and appreciated,” the post states.

More from Jason Rantz: UW Seattle activist declares ‘we don’t want Israel to exist’

Will UW intervene if antisemites set up an anti-Israel encampment?

A UW spokesperson confirmed the administration has seen the calls for an encampment, but would not explain if they plan to intervene.

Sally Clark, Vice President for Campus Security and Safety, told Jewish leaders, according to a document obtained by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, that, “UWPD will monitor the event actively from the start and be prepared to respond if the event escalates and threatens life safety … The priorities are always safety for all and continuity of university operations.”

But there are some staff that wish they would.

“The disruption and chaos that will ensue will compromise student safety and the university’s educational mission,” lecturer Carol Schiller wrote on LinkedIn.

Schiller is asking UW President Ana Mari Cauce to “act now, before this tsunami of hate hits our campus and our city.” She’s specifically asking the administration to ban the student hate groups and their activities.

“Columbia’s campus is small and gated. UW’s Seattle campus is huge and open, with multiple entrances. The problems they are experiencing at Columbia are going to be exponentially worse here,” she continued.

‘Hypocrisy’ from the UW

Computer science professor Stuart Reges, who is currently suing the school for punishment he faced after mocking land acknowledgments, is also disturbed by students’ embrace of antisemitism. But he also notes the “hypocrisy.”

“If this were a group that was chanting ‘Jews will not replace us,’ what they did in Charlottesville, it would be shut down immediately. But this isn’t going to be shut down immediately,” Reges explained to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “They ARE going to be people who are saying, ‘Well, they’re peaceful, they should be allowed to stay there.’ Or ‘There shouldn’t be consequences for us.’ There used to be an understanding that if you had civil disobedience, you welcomed punishment. Now they kind of say, ‘Well, we should be able to do this and not be punished.'”

Reges is one to speak up against the hate but noted too few colleagues will join him.

“We have an echo chamber here at the University of Washington,” he said. “People just have no clue how different things are here versus elsewhere. And an awful lot of people just stay silent. You know, they just decide it’s not worth the risk of speaking up. They see what happens to people like me.”

The computer science professor said he worries the activists will disrupt students and staff trying to get to class to make their point. He also worries about this kind of antisemitism creating an even more inhospitable campus climate for Jewish students.

UW has become hotbed of antisemitism

The UW Seattle campus has been a hotbed of antisemitism, with students and faculty consistently demonizing Israel and using Hamas talking points to denigrate “Zionists,” those who believe Israel is the ancestral homeland to the Jewish people.

Some of the very activists planning the encampment previously vandalized the campus student activities center, the HUB, earlier this month. They caused at least $14,000 in damages.

They then commandeered the building and turned their vandalism into an overnight sit-in. UW Police did not intervene, even as antisemitic activists harassed student media members covering the lawlessness and as some in the group stole an Israeli flag from a student counter-protester.

“I will never forget the experience of being told that I am a ‘disgusting person of color’ and that my ancestors would be sickened by the person I am, among a slew of other dehumanizing statements,” a student editor at The Daily wrote of her experience covering the so-called “direct action.”

Meanwhile, student workers with the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion (OSDI) emailed students on Oct. 25 to accuse Jews of genocide and apartheid.

Students aren’t the only ones spreading hate and terrorizing Jews on campus.

Megan Ybarra is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and a radical. Just days after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, Ybarra spoke to a crowd of antisemites on campus. She asked, “Why does our timeline for justice start on October 7.”

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