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Vantage Point Vignettes
Comments and Commentary by Dr. Ron Daniels

A determined new multiracial, multireligious generation of college and university students, including a substantial number of Jewish students have launched a powerful multifaceted movement demanding a permanent ceasefire to halt the “collective punishment” of Palestinians in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ savage October 7th attack on Israel. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed by the all-out assault of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the vast majority of whom have been innocent women and children. The horrific human carnage and suffering is unjustified and unconscionable.

Despite being labeled anti-Semitic; thousands of students and young people nationwide have had the courage to persist in the demand for a permanent ceasefire and justice for the Palestinians in the form of a two-state solution which will finally result in the Palestinians having a homeland, a nation. Students are risking their education for a cause they fervently believe in, setting up encampments on college and university campuses and demanding that these institutions of “higher learning” divest, as in ending investments in Israel in a manner similar to the Free South Africa Divestment Campaigns that contributed to the end of apartheid and the birth of a multiracial democracy in South Africa.

These are righteous and just objectives, but the movement is potentially being jeopardized by the reckless behavior of a minority of protesters dedicated to using violence to resist police efforts to dismantle the encampments on campuses or the arrest of demonstrators engaging in civil disobedience. Let me be crystal clear, I am opposed to police dismantling encampments and arresting peaceful protesters. But I am deeply concerned about the negative impact of protesters using violence to advance the cause.

The images of protesters hurling and hitting police officers with barrels and projectiles that could result in injuries or worst is not helpful; it evokes memories of the January 6th Insurrectionists attacking the Capitol Police; comparisons which will almost inevitably be used by reactionary forces in a bogus effort to discredit a righteous cause.

I applaud the student leaders from the encampments and protests who have come forward to distinguish and disassociate themselves from the minority of individuals who are committing acts of violence in pursuit of a just cause. They should also condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Intimidation of Jewish or Palestinian students is unacceptable. In the spirit of Ghandi and King, I strongly recommend that the leaders of this powerful movement for Justice for the Palestinians embrace the principles of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience to achieve that which has eluded the world for decades, peace in the Middle East based on the peaceful coexistence of the nation of Palestine and the Nation of Israel. #FreePalestine

Dr. Ron Daniels

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, York College City University of New York. His articles and essays appear on the IBW website and His weekly radio show, Vantage Point can be heard Mondays 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM on WBAI, 99.5 FM, Pacifica in New York, streaming live via To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at