News   /   Conversations   /   Palestine

Letter by Iran's Leader serves as encouragement for American students: Analyst

By Alireza Hashemi

The letter by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei serves as encouragement for American students that has galvanized their support for the Palestinian cause and fortified their dedication to the pursuit of justice, says a Canada-based analyst. 

Robert Fantina, an author, journalist and activist known for his work on peace, human rights, and social justice, made these remarks in an interview with the Press TV website.

In his letter, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei emphasized the importance of understanding the root causes of global crises and the need for correct and honorable interaction with the Islamic world.

The letter has been received with tremendous interest and enthusiasm in Western academic circles, particularly among students and scholars concerned about the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Fantina said the letter is a good reminder of the “decades-long horrors of the Zionist occupation.”

“Ayatollah Khamenei, in his recent letter to Western students, clearly outlined the ongoing, decades-long horrors of the Zionist occupation of Palestine. He eloquently expressed Iranian solidarity with the students, emphasizing that they are standing on the right side of history,” he said. 

Fantina said the letter serves as an encouragement for these students to continue their struggle for justice, emphasizing that they are not alone in their fight.

He said this encouragement holds special value for American students and all other supporters of Palestinian rights as they come from the leader of a country that managed to overthrow the “heavy yoke of US imperialism” in its fight for self-determination.

 “It is vitally important for the students, and all supporters of international law and human rights, to hear world leaders encourage them, especially the leader of a country which overthrew the heavy yoke of United States imperialism in their struggle for justice and self-determination,” Fantina said.

“Today, it is the Palestinians who seek to rid themselves of the U.S.-financed oppression under which they suffer, and the encouragement of the Iranian people helps to strengthen their resolve. It also encourages other nations and people to work in solidarity for the liberation of Palestine.”

America horrified by its role in genocide

Addressing the recent wave of pro-Palestine campus protests in the United States, Fantina said that young Americans are active on social media and know that people are being killed and starved in Gaza in a genocidal war enabled by their own government.

“Western students, like their counterparts across the globe, are very involved in social media. They do not rely on legacy media – the corporate-owned and government-controlled news outlets – for their information. They see the horrific images of men, women and children suffering from bombs, starvation, lack of medical facilities and the other atrocities that Israel is committing,” he said.

“They recognize that this genocide can only continue with US financing, and the students are horrified that their government is enabling all this suffering. While they are concerned with their studies and their own future, they cannot ignore the horrific sufferings of the innocent Palestinian people,” he stressed.

Biden put on notice

Regarding the impact of the pro-Palestinian protests on American public opinion and policy discussions, the analyst said the protests have put President Joe Biden on notice ahead of elections in the US.

He explained that Democrats rely on young people in ‘swing states’, states that play a key role in determining the outcome of the country’s presidential vote.

“The presidential election is five months away, and the so-called ‘swing states’ – those that a candidate must win in order to be elected - are, at this point, posing significant problems for him,” he said.

“Democratic candidates, he added, rely on the votes of young people, who are generally more progressive than older voters.

“Many young voters in these ‘swing states’ are encamped at university campuses, and they are looking at third-party candidates as viable options for their votes. Biden and the rest of the elected Democratic officials cannot ignore this movement,” Fantina said.

History proves the correctness of protesters

Touching on the long-term implications of ongoing protests for US foreign policy, Fantina drew parallels between the current student movement and past movements, such as the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s, asserting that students have historically been on the right side of justice.

He said such movements have had significant achievements in the past and this can be repeated.

“During the 1960s, students were at the forefront of the civil rights movement. And while racism is still endemic in the fabric of US society, the students then were able to force the government to at least remove much of the racism that was part of US law,” the Canada-based analyst asserted.

“Also, in that and the following decade, the student movement brought about an end to the US’s brutal and criminal war against the people of Vietnam.”

Fantina noted that in both instances, authorities lashed out at the students and branded them as “ignorant tools of Communism”. However, time showed the students were on the right side.

“In each of those circumstances, the government and university officials condemned the students, saying they were uninformed at best, and were ignorant tools of Communism, at worst. Yet in both circumstances, history proved that the students were on the side of justice,” he stressed.

“The same is true today. While political officials decry the actions of the students, and some universities have used brutal methods against them, we can gauge the future by the past: history will show that these students supported human rights and international law, and the US government and the administrators of many universities were only interested in power and profits.”

Pro-Palestine protesters resilient

Fantina said the pro-Palestine student protesters face significant challenges when it comes to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly on campus.

He said these student protesters are already paying a big cost for their defense of the Palestinians, in violation of the principles of freedom of speech.

“At many universities, peaceful protests have been met with violence at the hands of campus ‘security’ officers, or the local police. Some have been denied graduation, and some corporations have said they will never hire pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Many have been arrested and brutalized,” he said.

 “Prominent Zionist officials in the United States have referred to them as Russian ‘plants’ – people who are inspired by Russia. This is an old trope, dating back to the Cold War when anyone who opposed US policy was considered a Communist.”

Despite facing violence and repression from university authorities and police, student resilience is growing, leading to more widespread protests, according to Fantina.

“Their resilience is inspiring; rather than diminishing the number of demonstrations, the challenges they face only motivate more and more students, and more and more universities, to fight for justice. In several cases, university administrators have been forced to retreat from their brutal oppression of the students,” he told the Press TV website.

Regarding the media portrayal of these protests, the analyst noted a shift in media coverage, with more reports highlighting the students' peaceful protests and the violent responses they faced, indicating increasing difficulty for mainstream media to misrepresent the movement.

“There has been a subtle change in some media reports on the pro-Palestine student protests, with more coverage of the eloquent words of some of the students speaking at their graduation ceremonies, and added news about the peaceful protests being disrupted by violent police interventions,” he said.

“Even ‘mainstream’ media today is having difficulty twisting the interpretation of this popular people’s movement.”

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku