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'Before Oct 7, There Was an Oct 6': Student Protests Continue Despite Media Spins

© AP Photo / K.M. ChaudaryUniversity students take part in rally against the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinian people, in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, May 10, 2024
University students take part in rally against the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinian people, in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, May 10, 2024 - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.05.2024
The incident at Duke University is the latest in a series of student protests that are occurring across the country. The protests have resulted in nearly 2,900 arrests at 57 colleges and universities, AP News reported.
On Sunday, a small group of Duke University graduates protested pro-Israel comedian Jerry Seinfeld during their commencement in North Carolina. It was reported by AP News that about 30 students left their seats while chanting “free Palestine”. Seinfeld, who was present to earn an honorary doctorate from the university, is a 70-year-old comedian and actor known for his namesake sitcom. The celebrity has also been publicly supportive of Israel since October 7.
On Thursday, Sputnik’s The Critical Hour spoke to Esther Iverem, an artist, author and independent journalist, about the ongoing protests. Iverem noted what she calls a “media spin” regarding stories which cover the student protestors.
“To say that the protests are dwindling while at the same time you're showing student after student waving flags at graduations and flashing the camera with pro-Palestine signs and doing all these other acts of, what the article says, defiance. All these acts of defiance during graduation shows the continued militancy of the protest,” Iverem explained.
“What else is this group of students to do? And as you said, over the summer they have a lot more time with finals over, with sometimes, for some of them, with diplomas over to really focus on this issue, which is the human rights issue of their time, the human rights issue of our time,” the artist and author continued.

“[The student movement] has placed Palestine and Palestinians at the center of the worldwide cause for social justice and at the center of the anti-imperialist movement," she added.

Since the war between Israel and Hamas first broke out on October 7 more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died, a majority of which have been women and children, the Gaza Health Ministry has said. This month, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, Cindy McCain, said that Gaza had entered a "full-blown famine".
“These students are seeing this government try to take away their TikTok, willing to trash our First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, to pass these dangerous laws equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism, just totally tear down what pretense we have of democratic institutions, for what?” She asked. “To shield Israel from facing the consequences of the genocide? And the students see that.”
Iverem then noted that Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica Seinfeld, reportedly bankrolled a pro-Israel counterprotest at UCLA. Seinfeld says she donated money to the group before the “peaceful” demonstration turned violent.

“To just say that you condemn Hamas without understanding that before October 7th, there was an October 6th. And 17 years of siege in Gaza and 75 years of this apartheid ethnic cleansing in Israel,” she added. “That is what's making the student movement so powerful because they're reclaiming all of that, and they're not letting the powers that be forget it.”

In a preliminary hearing in January, the ICJ ruled that there was enough evidence of a plausible risk of genocide to order Israel to take actions to prevent genocide, though it did not order an immediate ceasefire.
Sputnik’s Wilmer Leon noted that mainstream media continues to address the student protestors as “pro-Palestinian” as opposed to “anti-genocide”.
The Biden Administration has announced that it does not formally believe that Israel's actions against Gaza rise yet to the official definition of genocide. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2024
'Yes', But Also 'No'
“The thing I really appreciate about the students who I've interviewed and who I've heard speak is that they want to keep the focus on Gaza. They want to keep the focus on the genocide and not on them,” said Iverem.
“If you have the leaders of the country openly calling for genocide, if you have a mob openly declaring their beliefs that the people in Gaza should be wiped out, openly cheering the death of babies and children and pregnant women, then what else can you call it?” She asked. “But, obviously, that's a red line in terms of how they want to depict protesters.”
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