Daily Review: Pro-Palestinian Protests, and Crackdowns, Spread Globally

Daily Review: Pro-Palestinian Protests, and Crackdowns, Spread Globally
Students take part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the American University of Beirut on April 30, 2024 (NurPhoto by Fadel Itani via AP).

Pro-Palestinian protests that have reached a fever pitch across the U.S. in recent weeks have now spread globally, with students at universities across the Middle East, Europe and Australia occupying central locations on campuses this week to call for an end to the war in Gaza, as well as divestment by their universities from companies that do business with Israel. (Washington Post)

Our Take

It was immediately clear when the war in Gaza began that the conflict would have an intensely polarizing effect, as every flare-up of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has, particularly in the West. Not only has that been the case, but the war has also had a profound impact on U.S. domestic politics. Pro-Palestinian protests have divided the left while galvanizing the right, which has characterized them as antisemitic and called for police crackdowns on the rapidly spreading student encampments.

The protests have created a conundrum for U.S. President Joe Biden, in particular, for two reasons. To begin with, he can’t afford to further alienate the largely pro-Palestinian progressive wing of the Democratic Party if he is to win the U.S. presidential election in November. But beyond that, the crackdown on campus protests seen across the U.S. in recent weeks undermines his own rhetoric about the importance of freedom of expression in the defense of democracy abroad.

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