The Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, Students Without Borders, and NYC Students for Justice in Palestine had called for a protest against Iddo Netanyahu, brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iddo Netanyahu served in Sayeret Matkal (a special forces unit of the terrorist IDF), supports the actions of his brother as the leader of the settler Zionist state, and publicly says Iran is Israel’s biggest threat. Iddo is producing a play at City College throughout the month of September, about a family facing the predicament of whether or not to escape Berlin in the 1930s.
CUNY students from many campuses came to protest and speak out against him despite the rain, outraged that Netanyahu could make a play about the terrible crimes committed against the Jewish people, while supporting the same thing being done to Palestinians today. Students spoke about how CUNY is also guilty, for hosting Netanyahu, as well as other reactionary figures; CUNY hired ex CIA director David “Death Squad” Petraeus, hosted NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, named a school after Colin Powell, brought the head of the empire Barack Obama to Lehman College, hosted a private Democratic Party function for Andrew Cuomo at Hostos Community College, etc. The university is not a neutral center of education and the free exchange of ideas, it is where the ideas that legitimize the ruling class and its systems are reproduced. That is why war criminals and supporters of genocide can be protected and promoted by CUNY, while progressive and revolutionary students are repressed.
Students who came to protest faced hostility the entire time. A Zionist spectator spat on a member of NYC Students for Palestine, while CUNY security was recording the protest. Later that night after the protest had ended, many students returned for what was supposed to be a public question and answer forum with Iddo Netanyahu. CUNY Public Safety officers began changing the rules about who could go to the Q&A forum as soon as they saw students who had been at the protest arriving. Students showed public safety the email they had received about the play, which clearly stated that it was an open public forum. The higher ranking commanding officers made fools of themselves as they blatantly did not know the rules despite trying to change them, bumbling to make excuses about overcapacity and needing a ticket to get in. A few students who were attending the play stepped out to observe what was going on and sided with the protesters, arguing with public safety that everybody had a right to attend the public Q&A forum and ask a question. One of these students returned to the play to consult with the Dean of Humanities, and was arrested and given a summons. Her court date is on October 30th, and the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee calls on all progressive and revolutionary students to come support her (more information will be posted at a later time).
Public Safety kept on stalling in this manner until 9pm when all classes were over, and began threatening to arrest the protesters if they did not leave. Sergeant Washington, an especially foolish officer was waving his hand in circles to push the protesters out of the building despite receiving orders from his commanding officer to not touch the students. Students wondered if he was trying to do his job, or resemble a fan. It is possible that due to frustration and a long day at work, Sergeant Washington believed he could blow the students out of the building.
It has always been clear that CUNY Public Safety is not here to protect the interests of the students, the staff or the community. They are the repressive apparatus that reinforces the ruling class agenda which is carried out by the Board of Trustees and Administration. In 2013 they violently beat and arrested students, they constantly stop progressive and revolutionary students from simply passing out a flyer, and are now arresting students who demand that they at least abide by the rules of the institution they work for- not to mention other heinous facts such as Public Safety officers sexually harassing students. The class struggle is sharp in CUNY, and RSCC, Students Without Borders, NYC SJP and all other progressive, radical and revolutionary groups will continue to fight until we liberate the university and take away the power and prestige that reactionary ideologies, such as Zionism have right now.
Zionism is fascism!
From Warsaw to Palestine, Genocide is Genocide!
Liberate CUNY, Liberate Palestine!