WATCH: University of Virginia Students Call for Destruction of Israel During 'Walkout' Protest

October 25, 2023

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian students held a protest on the University of Virginia campus Wednesday demanding the administration condemn and defund Israel's efforts to defend itself against terrorism.

The Charlottesville, Virginia, event was part of a national "walkout" organized by Students for Justice in Palestine with a stated aim to "end to the U.S.-backed siege on Gaza and U.S. military funding and arms to Israel." The anti-Israel campus group has explicitly endorsed Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli civilians.

University of Virginia student protesters gathered on the Lawn in front of the Rotunda holding signs with slogans like "Free Palestine" and "End Apartheid." They chanted "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," a slogan that calls for the destruction of Israel. Many wore masks to avoid identification.

In addition to Students for Justice in Palestine at UVA, the event's sponsors on campus were the campus chapters of the Muslim Students Association, Queer Student Union, and Young Democratic Socialists of America.

Flyers advertising the walkout called for the university to "acknowledge the ongoing genocide" in Israel, and "divest from the weapons manufacturers" involved in providing military aid to the Jewish state.

The protest followed a series of anti-Israel demonstrations at college campuses across the country in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that killed over 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians, and prompted Israel to declare war on the terrorist group.

At the time, Students for Justice in Palestine at UVA released a statement praising the "resistance fighters in Gaza" for taking "a step towards a free Palestine." In response, Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares wrote a letter to the state's public universities expressing "deep concern for the rhetoric of some student groups that are sympathetic to Saturday’s terrorist attacks in Israel."