Campus, News

BU Students for Justice in Palestine rally, march to bring attention to violence in Gaza

Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine held a march Monday morning to call on BU to address their demands about divesting money and ending some Israel-affiliated programming.

BU Students for Justice in Palestine members and supporters at Marsh Plaza. SJP held a rally to raise awareness for violence against Palestinians in Gaza on Monday. MATTHEW EADIE/DFP STAFF

The march began outside the George Sherman Union, where roughly 100 students gathered.

An organizer who wished to remain anonymous due to safety concerns said SJP is calling for BU to divest from weapons manufacturers and end BU programs including the BU Hillel’s Birthright, Israel Uncovered and the Haifa study abroad program.

Chanting continued down Commonwealth Avenue as the protestors walked from the GSU to the Center for Computing and Data Sciences, through BU Beach and then up onto Marsh Plaza. At Marsh Plaza, more students took up the microphone to speak to the group.

Faisal Ahmed, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, described the march as “emotional.”

“It seems a lot of pro-Palestinain efforts are student-led rather than admin-led, and that speaks to frustration in the student body and the need and necessity for something like this,” he said. 

Ahmed said the “level of harassment” the movement has received is “ridiculous.”

“BU has been silent with respect to what’s going on and we feel like this silence, especially coming after the early emails [from BU], [has] empowered a certain population,” he said.

In response to an email sent by the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College’s Director Melissa Holt last week, Ahmed led a boycott along with Adam Shamsi, a senior in CAS, urging Kilachand students not to attend their Kilachand-affiliated classes until she issued an email giving into their demands. 

“The administration has opened itself up to conversations, like they never have been before which we’re appreciative of,” Ahmed said. “But talking is one thing and taking action is another.” 

Anna, a senior in CAS, said they decided to speak at the protest, despite receiving online hate over a video of them at a past protest circulating, because they do not want to be stopped from speaking out.

“I think it was important to show people that that should not stop us from being able to speak out in support of Palestine,” said Anna, who is a member of BU’s Revolutionary Marxist Students.

Luke, a senior in CAS and a member of Revolutionary Marxist Students, said his Marxist beliefs inspired him to protest.

“Any principled Marxist is taking a stand against what’s happening in Palestine right now,” he said. 

Both Anna and Luke requested their last names not be shared because of recent doxxing events at other universities. 

Not all students participating in the protest belonged to a specific organization. One protestor, who chose to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, said they came to protest both to show solidarity with Palestinians and to send a message to the University, which they believe is not doing enough to protect its students that choose to protest.

“The BU administration hasn’t been very receptive, or hasn’t done a good job of protecting their students for speaking up for Palestine,” they said.

The anonymous protester said they hope the protest raises awareness about the issue.

“It’s important to show solidarity and to show support to every single person supporting this cause,” they said. “It’s a sign of solidarity for one another.”

Maria Pemberton and Bailey Scott contributed to the reporting of this article.

2 Comments

  1. Free the hostages.

  2. It appears to me that these are not pro-Palestinian protests rather anti-Israel protests. I don’t hear anything about protecting the people of Gaza from their brutal leadership. I don’t hear anything at all that doesn’t involve Israel.

    Israel would like nothing more than Gaza to become a great place like Singapore. Gaza has two million Arabs but so does Israel have two million Arabs that are full citizens and serve on the Supreme Court, in the legislature, run hospitals. When speaking of Palestinian rights, the Israeli Palestinians are left out. Perhaps because they have a far better life than in most of the Arab world?

    As I see it, this BU protest is part of the orgiastic antisemitism gone wild of late. I don’t see anything pro-Palestinian. here. Why not even mention the evil of Hamas that destroys the soul of their own people and uses them as targets. There is plenty of water, food, and fuel in Gaza. Does anyone in their right mind think Hamas hasn’t stored several years worth of these things. I don’t see any calls for Hamas to help the people they “govern.”

    I graduated from Boston University in 1977 at the age of 20. I am not happy to see my school and others like it as the indoctrination factories they have become.

    The students certainly have a right to protest and in fact should protest for that which they believe strongly. That said, I vehemently disagree with their demands and I do not see that they are showing any practical concern for the people of Gaza in any productive sense rather they are seeking power for themselves.