The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

Taliah Carmona, class of 24
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Le Moyne Students Walk Out in Support of Palestine

via @peaceaction_lemoyne on Instagram

On Thursday, November 9th at 3 p.m., roughly 100 students and faculty gathered on the Grewen quad to “walk out” in support of Palestinian citizens amidst the conflict in Gaza. Standing outside in the chilly and wet conditions, the crowd listened as members of Peace Action Le Moyne (PALM) and the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club led the group in protest against the Israeli government. 

The AP stated that the recent fighting began on October 7th when Hamas launched an attack on Israel. In response the Israeli government has retaliated with airstrikes and bombings on the Gaza Strip. According to CNN, “More than 1,400 Israelis died in the initial assault, Israel says, with about 240 more held as hostages in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health told CNN that more than 10,000 people have died in the Gaza Strip since then, due to Israeli attacks, as of earlier this week.”

According to senior and co-president of PALM Ayeh Hajjari, the “Palestinian youth movement released the national call for the shutdown for Palestine,” which was the impetus for the walkout. Similar protests have taken place at Syracuse University in response to what protesters said were SU connections to the Israeli military, so SU students reached out to PALM to encourage a walkout in solidarity. She spoke about how she wanted Le Moyne to become a “safe space” for Syracuse students who feel that SU is “ignoring the abuse of Palestinians.” 

Palestinian students spoke out about their experiences and feelings regarding the conflict, and the change they hope to see. SJP president Fatima Abraham passionately expressed her frustration with the insensitivity regarding the attacks on Palestine. “We see news channels interviewing pro-Palestine politicians and asking them, ‘Do you condemn Hamas?’ And yet we see no one condemning Israel’s terrorism and destruction of Gaza,” she said. The lack of empathy from world leaders is something she hopes walkouts like this will call attention to.

Yusef Amer pointed out that Le Moyne strongly supports Ukraine in their war against Russia, but “the only thing we saw about Palestine is the horrific attack that Hamas did on Israel.” He goes on to say that he would like to see the administration “acknowledge that the Palestinians have been dying,” and spread awareness across campus. 

Along with the student body, some faculty joined in on the walkout. Among them was Father Jason Downer, who joined in remembrance of his college days when he protested against the war between the US and Afghanistan. “Protesting for peace is a public way of saying you won’t stand for injustice,” he said. “We should all be calling for a ceasefire.” 

Le Moyne administration has issued two statements regarding the conflict calling for peace and support among their students and the Le Moyne community. Director of Communications and Public Affairs Joseph Della Posta shared this statement in response to the walkout: “Le Moyne welcomes all political perspectives within the bounds of civility and civil rights, and we encourage the student body to seek people and views with which they disagree. It is the right of every Le Moyne student to exercise freedom of expression and protest peacefully.” 

Toward the end of the event, Hajjari listed off some of the changes that the students would like to see from the administration, the first one being a condemnation of the violence on Palestinians by the Israeli government and acknowledgment that this has taken place for many years. Secondly, she stated, “We want a clear condemnation of the attacks on academic freedom from neighboring universities and universities across the United States that explicitly target Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims,” and emphasized the importance of the right to protest and the right to equal education. Finally, she demanded an endorsement of an academic boycott in support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. 

Another student, Lujain Hammoud, also calls for the student body to educate themselves on the conflict through the teach-ins organized by PALM and SJP. She speaks about her personal connections to Palestine and the difficulty she faces returning to the state. She hopes through PALM and SJP students can inform themselves on the conflict itself and the differences between Zionism and Judaism. 

Overall, at the walkout, students expressed their desire for support of Palestinian students here and at universities across the world and emphasized the importance of educating oneself on socio-political matters. “Le Moyne students unequivocally and unapologetically say no to genocide,” Hajjari said. “Our campus is not going to stay quiet. We are not going to stay quiet when it comes to genocide.”

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