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Students protest at US universities to urge end in financial ties to Israel

The photo shows a pro-Palestinian demonstration encampment at Columbia University in New York, April 22, 2024. (Photo by AP)

Students at a growing number of US universities are gathering in protest encampments with a unified demand that their schools cut financial ties to Israel.

Demonstrations have been held at New York University, Harvard, MIT and other universities in Michigan, Minnesota and Colombia over the past 24 hours.

They are calling for universities to separate themselves from any companies that are advancing Israel’s savage military campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The students denounced companies profiting from the war on Gaza and demanded amnesty for students and faculty members who have been suspended for protesting. They included 26-year-old Catherine Elias, who returned to the protest camp following her release.

"We sit in the country that not only funds but also manufactures and creates a lot of the bombs that are dropping on Gaza," said Elias, referring to US support for Israel throughout the war.  

"Every piece of the weaponry that allows this genocide to continue is being funded actively by universities like Columbia through their endowments."

US President Joe Biden has signed into law a $95-billion aid package that includes $26-billion for Israel.

The protests against the genocide in Gaza began last week at Columbia University.

Similar protests were held across the country, with students being at the front.

Protesters on Wednesday also gathered near the residence of the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to call for the end of Washington’s funding for Israel. Protesters stayed there for several hours despite crackdown by police. Multiple arrests were also made, with some reports putting the number of the detainees to over 100.

The demonstration was organized by the Jewish Voice for Peace and was attended by several rabbis.

The recent protests in the States are inspired by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a decades-old campaign against Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. 

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