OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
1:12 PM – Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Pro-Palestine supporters disrupted the testimonies of Jewish students and other witnesses who were addressing Congress on the topics of rising antisemitism and anti-conservative bias on college campuses.
The outbursts occurred during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday morning that was focused on “freedom of speech on college campuses.”
Connor Ogrydziak, a recent college graduate of the University of Buffalo, was reportedly giving his testimony when the protesters interrupted the session.
“Regardless of what side of the political aisle you reside on, it should be common ground that no student deserves to be threatened, mistreated, or silenced on campus due to their personal beliefs,” Ogrydziak said during his testimony.
As protesters began standing up in the hall, some shouted “free Palestine” and “free Gaza.” Others wore tape over their mouths and had the palms of their hands painted red.
One protester in the gallery even held a sign that read “pro Palestine does not equal antisemitism,” while loudly declaring that silencing anti-Zionist Jewish and Arab students was not about combating antisemitism.
Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called for order as the protesters accused politicians of “genocide.”
The expressive protester continued on, asserting that 10,000 Palestinians have died due to Israel’s military campaign that was launched in response to the Hamas attacks on October 7th, as reported by The Ministry of Health in Ramallah.
Soon after, police removed the protester from the scene. Meanwhile, another demonstrator began shouting about the censure of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her use of the anti-Semitic chant “from the river to the sea,” which implies the erasure of Israel from the map.
As the hearing went on, protesters continued interrupting and were promptly escorted out of the hall by security personnel. The main goal of the protest was “to create pressure for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war.”
In contrast, the Biden administration has advocated for “humanitarian pauses,” which is more limited and temporary than a cease-fire.
These pauses are intended to facilitate increased humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza, provide additional time for the release of hostages held by Hamas, and enable the safe passage of civilians out of the areas affected by the conflict.
Debates surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict have also created much tension on college campuses, leading to a reported increase of anti-Semitic incidents.
Republicans have been consistently advocating for restrictions on anti-Israel rhetoric, and in some cases, the removal of foreign students or staff who express support for Hamas or other Islamic extremist groups.
The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing was to examine free speech violations on college campuses, with GOP committee members arguing that conservative students are facing a “continuous uphill battle.”
The American public has been shown to be divided in their views of the Israel-Hamas conflict and the role of the United States’ involvement.
On Saturday, a massive protest saw tens of thousands of demonstrators marching throughout Washington, D.C., expressing solidarity with Palestine and calling for an end to “U.S. financial backing of Israel.”
According to a survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center, 43% of participants believe that the U.S. is offering the appropriate level of support to Israel. However, there was a notable division among respondents based on their political affiliation.
In the survey, Democrats tended to believe that the U.S. is providing Israel with excessive support and not offering adequate assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, whereas Republicans held the opposite view.
Additionally, a majority of respondents indicated that the U.S. should prioritize funding for humanitarian relief over funding for Israel’s military.
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