History may not repeat but rhymes as college administrators send ‘pigs’ in to break up student protests



Fig. 1. John Bolton and Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference. Office of U.S. National Security Advisor, August 20, 2018, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Adam Taylor, “The nuclear threats that loom over Iran and Israel,” Washington Post, April 25, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/25/iran-israel-nuclear-threat/


Fig. 2. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel,[1] fair use.

I am seeing lots of comparisons to the Vietnam War protests. I’d point to one difference: The kids in the 1960s didn’t have access to social media the way kids in the 2020s do. I suspect we’re going to find out—very much the hard way—what a difference that makes.

Something else I’d point to is that campus administrators, yet again on the wrong side of history, have evidently learned absolutely nothing from the unrest sixty years ago as they send in the “pigs” to disperse student protests violently.[2] Some of us, particularly in Ohio, should remember how that plays out.[3]

It’s been a while since I withdrew my prediction that Joe Biden would win the presidency, largely due to his complicity with Binyamin Netanyahu’s genocide and my expectation that this would crimp his support—which it has[4]—but even then, it is possible I underestimated support for the Palestinian cause, meaning there may be many more who refuse to vote for a war criminal than I expected.

Another difference from the 1960s: Joe Biden has not stepped aside as Lyndon Johnson did.

Abby Sewell, “Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established,” Associated Press, April 25, 2024, https://apnews.com/article/hamas-khalil-alhayya-qatar-ceasefire-1967-borders-4912532b11a9cec29464eab234045438

Ishaan Tharoor, “Israel could still force an exodus into Egypt,” Washington Post, April 26, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/04/26/gaza-egypt-exodus-rafah-invasion/

Rachel Siegel and Christian Davenport, “Campus arrests spread as students press on with pro-Palestinian protests,” Washington Post, April 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2024/04/27/protests-campus-arrest-northeastern-upenn/

  1. [1]Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/
  2. [2]Rachel Siegel and Christian Davenport, “Campus arrests spread as students press on with pro-Palestinian protests,” Washington Post, April 27, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2024/04/27/protests-campus-arrest-northeastern-upenn/
  3. [3]Joe Napsha, “The day ‘all hell broke loose’ – Local lives lost, forever changed in Kent State shooting 50 years ago,” Tribune-Review, May 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/the-day-all-hell-broke-loose-local-lives-lost-forever-changed-in-kent-state-shooting-50-years-ago/
  4. [4]Kelsey Ables and Andrew Jeong, “Over 100,000 Michigan primary votes were ‘uncommitted.’ What does that mean?” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2024/02/28/uncommitted-votes-meaning-michigan/; Charles M. Blow, “Arab American Fury Toward Biden,” Washington Post, February 28, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/28/opinion/voters-michigan-biden-gaza.html; Eric Bradner, “Biden and Trump will easily win Michigan primaries, CNN projects,” Cable News Network, February 28, 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/27/politics/biden-trump-michigan-primaries/index.html; John Cassidy, “Michigan’s “Uncommitted” Democrats Send a Message to Biden,” New Yorker, February 28, 2024, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/michigans-uncommitted-democrats-send-a-message-to-biden; Tony Diver, “Michigan primary results: Joe Biden wins but young and Arab Democrats rebel over Israel,” Telegraph, February 28, 2024, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/us/politics/2024/02/28/michigan-primary-results-polls-vote-republicans-trump-haley/; Caleb Ecarma, “Why Michigan’s Protest Vote Could Change Joe Biden’s Calculus: ‘There Will Be Political Consequences,’” Vanity Fair, February 28, 2024, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/michigan-vote-change-joe-biden-calculus; Lauren Fedor and James Politi, “Joe Biden faces dissent over Gaza as he wins Michigan Democratic primary,” Financial Times, February 28, 2024, https://www.ft.com/content/4dbd9253-5147-4bbd-9e09-276e48e3f799; Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign protesting Biden’s Israel support nets 100,000+ votes in Michigan primary,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 28, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/02/27/politics/campaign-protesting-bidens-support-for-israel-celebrates-as-tens-of-thousands-vote-uncommitted-in-michigan-primary; Ron Kampeas, “‘Uncommitted’ campaign opposing Biden’s support for Israel makes a mark in 5 more states,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 6, 2024, https://www.jta.org/2024/03/06/politics/uncommitted-campaign-opposing-bidens-support-for-israel-makes-a-mark-in-5-more-states; Shia Kapos and Adam Cancryn, “Arab, Muslim and Palestinian leaders refuse to meet with White House aides in Chicago,” Politico, March 14, 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/03/14/arab-muslim-and-palestinian-leaders-refuse-to-meet-with-white-house-aides-in-chicago-00147109; Rachel Leingang, “How the uncommitted movement rocked Biden over Gaza,” Guardian, March 17, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/mar/17/us-uncommitted-voters-biden-gaza; Ed Pilkington, “Pro-Palestinian protests hound Biden, casting shadow on his re-election effort,” Guardian, January 31, 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/31/biden-pro-palestine-protest-israel; Hafiz Rashid, “‘Unacceptable’: White House Cancels Event as Biden Struggles on Gaza,” New Republic, April 3, 2024, https://newrepublic.com/post/180409/white-house-cancels-event-gaza-outcry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.