On Thursday, Oct. 12, over a hundred students and faculty members gathered outside Parrish Hall for a protest supporting Palestinian resistance, hosted by six student groups including Swarthmore Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), and Swarthmore’s Afro-American Student Society (SASS). The protest comes in the midst of mixed student reactions to the events unfolding in Israel and Palestine and how the Swarthmore administration is responding.
During the protest, students advocated for a free Palestinian state and called attention to human rights violations by Israel. SJP serves to “end our college’s financial complicity in the Israeli occupation and to spread awareness of the Israeli government’s human rights violations with the hope of bringing justice to the Palestinian people,” according to the group’s website. The protest organizers did not wish to be associated with the Swarthmore administration and believe the administration to be “complicit with the war crimes committed against the Palestinian people,” according to an event organizer.
“All across college campuses in the Greater Philadelphia area and North America, Palestinian students and their allies have expressed unwavering solidarity with the Indigenous Palestinian resistance against the Israeli settler colonial project,” a student speaker said. “In response, we have been silenced, ostracized, and shunned by institutions on and off campus. That [response] is for Palestinians who have already faced the brunt of the violent displacement, executed by the Israeli settler colonial project and have been once again positioned as the aggressors. Despite these efforts of fear-mongering and censorship, we will not be silenced.”
At the protest, keffiyehs — traditional Arabic scarfs worn by students as a showing of Palestinian solidarity — were handed out by SJP. In the coming weeks, SJP plans to organize teach-ins and other events, urging student involvement. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, they held a rally in Kohlberg Courtyard criticizing the college for their position on the conflict.
“It is incredibly important for students to be involved in this because there is power in numbers and the youth are the changers of the world today,” said an event organizer. “Their solidarity with us ensures the conversation about the humanitarian crisis in Palestine is a constant conversation within society. The actions and the solidarity shown here today are a representation of the world’s view on [Palestinian] freedom.”