Palestinian Terrorists Declare Support for Columbia Encampment, Call for 'Escalation'

Columbia protests have included declarations of support for Hamas

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University) Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
April 24, 2024

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a senior Hamas leader declared their support for the unsanctioned tent encampments roiling Columbia University and other elite American universities.

The Popular Front, a U.S.-designated terror group, released a statement Tuesday evening affirming the group’s firm support for "our students at American universities." The statement called for "the escalation of their struggle" and condemned university administrators for implementing "policies biased with the occupation." The terror group specifically praised the student protests at Columbia and Yale University.

The terror group’s statement coincided with a separate statement from a senior Hamas political leader, Izzat Al-Rishq, published Wednesday morning by the Resistance News Network. Al-Rishq’s statement likened Israel to Nazi Germany and declared support for American student protesters. The Resistance News Network frequently releases English translations of communiques from U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations located in Palestinian-controlled territories, according to the Anti-Defamation League. "Today's students are tomorrow's leaders," Al-Rishq noted.

The terrorists’ support for the student protests comes as tensions at Columbia have remained high, as university administrators have struggled to put an end to the unsanctioned tent encampment. The protesters have clashed with university administrators and police trying to clear them out, resulting in more than 100 arrests. Jewish students at Columbia have indicated they do not feel safe on their campus amid the protests, which have included anti-Semitic chants and at least one assault of a pro-Israel individual. Protesters were captured shouting "We are Hamas" and "Zionist pig" at pro-Jewish bystanders, while another keffiyeh-clad individual held a sign pointing toward a group of Jewish students with the caption "Al-Qassam’s Next Targets," a reference to Hamas’s military wing. Students at Yale and other universities have formed similar encampments in solidarity with the Columbia protesters.

Students at Columbia have expressed fear for their physical safety and some have indicated to media outlets that they have decided to flee campus amid the anti-Jewish sentiment that is rearing its head during the ongoing protests. A rabbi who heads Columbia’s Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus recommended to Jewish students that they leave campus due to the anti-Israel agitators. A number of people on Columbia’s campus have called on the school to bring in the National Guard to quell the unauthorized protests.

On Wednesday, Columbia released a statement indicating it was "making important progress" in its negotiations with student protesters, which the school said had "committed to dismantling and removing a significant number of tents." Nonetheless, the protests have remained ongoing at Columbia and other campuses.

"Jewish students at Columbia University don't feel safe. It’s become so dangerous that students were forced out of the classroom," said Republican speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who is expected to meet with Jewish students at Columbia Wednesday afternoon. "Let’s be clear: these are not peaceful protests, these are antisemitic mobs."