Trucks circling the campuses of Columbia University and Harvard University publicly list the names and show the faces of students who signed a letter calling on the university to cut ties with Israel. These trucks are now being parked in front of students’ homes. Another truck is at the University of Pennsylvania calling on university president Liz Magill to resign, following complaints the university fostered antisemitism by allowing for a pro-Palestinian festival in September. Major donors to these universities, including billionaire Marc Rowan, the chief of the private equity giant Apollo Global Management, who donated $ 50 million to the University of Pennsylvania’s business school, have announced they will withhold donations and demand the resignation of university presidents. The prominent law firm Davis Polk rescinded three job offers it had made to students suspected of signing the Harvard statement and a similar statement at Columbia University.
This public harassment is only a tiny illustration of the widespread campaign to silence anyone who decries the siege of Gaza and calls for a ceasefire. Hundreds of social media say the world’s largest social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and TikTok – are censoring accounts or actively reducing the reach of pro-Palestine content, a practice known as shadowbanning. Authors, activists, journalists, and filmmakers contend that hashtags like “FreePalestine” and “IStandWithPalestine” as well as messages expressing support for civilian Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are being hidden by the media platforms.
Major conferences on the Middle East have been forced to cancel. The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, for example, successfully pressured Hilton hotels into cancelling the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights event in Houston at which the congresswoman Rashida Tlaib was to be the main speaker, calling it “a conference for Hamas supporters” and “Jew haters.” The chamber is campaigning to force Starbucks to close stores and dismiss thousands of workers “who support Hamas” after their union posted a statement on X saying “Solidarity with Palestine.” It has launched a boycott of the coffee chain under the slogan: “Drinking a cup of Starbucks Is Drinking a Cup of Jewish Blood.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair) was forced to cancel its annual banquet in Arlington, Virginia, after receiving bomb threats. The rare Palestinian voices that get through the media blockade, such as Noura Erakat, a Palestinian American human rights lawyer, who appeared live on CBS and ABC, are often erased. Erakat saw the segments in which she spoke removed from playbacks of the shows online. The Frankfurt book fair was accused of “shutting down” Palestinian voices after an awards ceremony to honor a novel by the Palestinian writer Adania Shibli was cancelled. Meanwhile, official Israeli spokespeople and politicians, as well as supporters of the Israeli siege of Gaza, are given ample airtime to accuse anyone who objects to Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza as being apologists or spokespeople for terrorists. Joining me to discuss this censorship is Dylan Saba, a staff attorney with Palestine Legal. Commissioned by an editor at The Guardian newspaper to write about the campaign to silence voices critical of Israel’s assault he was informed shortly before the piece was to be published that the newspaper would not run it.Thanks for being a supporter of the Chris Hedges Report.