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College protests reveal alarming terrorist support. And jihadis cheer them on

OpinionCollege protests reveal alarming terrorist support. And jihadis cheer them on

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As the academic year draws to a close and commencements take place across the country, the universities are hoping that the energy of the anti-Israel protests is fading, despite declarations of intent to remain active this summer, including at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.   

The protests have revealed something significant that must be monitored and addressed: Not only does part of the U.S. student population who participated at these protests openly support designated terrorist organizations and spreads this ideology on campus, but these terrorist organizations are unreservedly backing and encouraging the students and their protests.  

America’s avowed enemies have been gleefully cheering on the campus protests that have swept the U.S. Information behind the planning, instigation and funding of the protesters is now beginning to emerge and in the future much more will become known.  

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Additionally, while that antisemitism at the protests, denied by their organizers, participants and defenders, is circulating so widely on social media that it is now undeniable, one major element remains unreported: the jihadi and terrorist features on full display. 

An anti-Israel agitator on Stanford University’s campus

An anti-Israel agitator on Stanford University’s campus on Friday, April 26, 2024. (Obtained by Fox News Digital)

When the protests broke out at Columbia University and spread to campuses across the country, it was only natural for terrorist organizations to express their support. The flags, logos, signs, posters, patches, headbands and other paraphernalia of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), are visible and have often gone viral on social media.   

Students have shouted their praise for figures such as Abu Obeida, the commander of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades that spearheaded the October 7 attack. At one Columbia protest, students chanted: “Oh Al-Qassam, you make us proud, kill another soldier now!” This soon became more explicit, escalating, on April 19, to: “Hamas we love you … we support Hamas’s fight!”  

In response, designated terror organizations have been expressing support for the American student protesters. These include senior Hamas official ‘Izzat Al-Rishq’s April 24 assurance to them, via his Telegram account, that they are “standing on the correct side of history.” He also stressed, “Today’s students are the leaders of tomorrow.”  

The Hamas-affiliated Gaza Now outlet, recently sanctioned by the U.S. and U.K. for fundraising, called, also on Telegram, on U.S. and European students to “protest for the sake of the people of Palestine in Gaza,” telling them on April 26: “Let disobedience begin everywhere.”  

In an April 24 statement in both Arabic and English, the PFLP – another participant in the October 7 attack – underlined its appreciation for the “solidarity and support for the struggle of our people in various American universities.”  

Hezbollah officials also continue to salute American students. On May 3 on the organization’s Al-Manar TV, deputy secretary general Sheikh Naim Qassem called the protests “important, especially because they will have an impact on the U.S. elections” and added that President Joe Biden is “taking actions because of the protesters’ influence on him.”  

Hezbollah Executive Council member Ali Damush, in a May 5 interview, praised the students for the “great victory” they gave to the entire resistance axis, noting: “The U.S. has spent billions of dollars to tarnish the image of the resistance, and today their flags are being flown at American universities.”   

The Iranian regime itself strongly supports the protesters. In an April 24 X (formerly Twitter) post that garnered over a 1 million views, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei mocked the U.S.’s designating of organizations in the Iran-led “resistance front” as terrorist, since protesters “flew Hezbollah’s flag in a street in the US.” 

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei mocked the U.S.'s designating of organizations in the Iran-led "resistance front" as terrorist, since protestors "flew Hezbollah's flag in a street in the US."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei mocked on X that the U.S.’s designating of organizations in the Iran-led “resistance front” as terrorist, since protesters “flew Hezbollah’s flag in a street in the US.”

In an April 28 X post featuring a video compilation of protests, he celebrated: “[I]n states across the US itself, people are coming out in huge numbers to chant slogans against Israel and America. US & Israel’s reputation has been ruined.”  

Meanwhile, other Iranian-backed proxy militias have also published statements of support for the American students. The Saraya Fatemiyoun channel on Telegram, which supports Iran-backed militias in Iraq, posted, on April 30, a collage of photos of Hezbollah flags at protests in the U.S.  

Earlier, on April 26, the Sonia channel on Telegram, also affiliated with these militias, shared a photo of students at Princeton University with Hezbollah flags.  

Ansar Allah – the Houthis – in Yemen referred to the Columbia protests as the “starting torch” in an April 26 statement and called the “intifada [uprising] of American universities” a “scream in the face of American support for the war of genocide on Gaza.”  

A few days later, on April 30, the Houthi-controlled Sanaa University in the Yemeni capital announced that it was opening its doors to “all academics and students who have been unjustly dismissed from their institutions” for their protest activity. Houthi leader Abdul-Malik Badreddine Al-Houthi also praised the protests; in a May 9 speech  he said that “this voice has exposed the Zionist in the West…  who used to speak about liberal values, and about freedom rights, and all that.” He added, “These oppressive pro-Zionist regimes in the West have turned to targeting the student protests with violence, cruelty, humiliating arrests, and strong beatings. They have launched offensive media campaigns and have made offensive statements by officials against the students.” 

Also lending its support to U.S. students was a coalition of jihadi Gaza student organizations representing Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and others. Its statement of “solidarity” with the “Student Intifada in the United States,” translated into English and published by the PFLP affiliate Samidoun on April 25, saluted the American students who are “rising up to put an end to the Zionist-U.S. genocide” and lauded their “work to transform their universities into ‘Popular Universities for Gaza.'” Commending them for leading the fight against imperialism, it touted this as evidence that “a new generation is rising that will no longer accept Zionism” and that stands for “liberation from the river to the sea.”  

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Additionally, on May 12, the Sabereen News channel on Telegram, which supports the Iran-backed Shi’ite militias in Iraq, posted a photo of a billboard in central Baghdad depicting American students in keffiyeh and carrying Palestinian flags confronting armed police, as ultra-Orthodox Jews appear to film the events.  

There is cause for concern about the jihadi elements at the protests, which are not getting the attention that they deserve. For example, an April 22 video from the Columbia University protests showed a crowd being taught to express the desire, in Arabic, for “martyrdom.”   

Vandalized Chancellor's building

Protesters stamp red handprint stains on the Chancellor’s building at UNC Chapel Hill, Saturday, May 11, 2024. Earlier in the day, students vandalized the Chancellor’s building in protest of the Hamas-Israel war. (The Image Direct for Fox News Digital)

More evidence that elements at the student protests are espousing jihadi concepts to students includes on the Telegram chat channel for New York University protest organizers which the administrator wrote “make sure you are plugged into” the Resistance News Network – an unofficial mouthpiece for terrorist organizations.  

It publishes propaganda from Hamas, the PFLP, Ansar Allah (Houthis), Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – all of them U.S.-designated terror organizations. 

Of additional concern is the fact that activists on social media platforms used by jihadis are now urging student protesters to take their activism to the next level: lone wolf attacks. 

Ansar Allah – the Houthis – in Yemen referred to the Columbia protests as the “starting torch” in an April 26 statement and called the “intifada [uprising] of American universities” a “scream in the face of American support for the war of genocide on Gaza.”  

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An April 30 post in English by a prolific Al-Qaeda supporter, titled “Message to the Youth of the Ummah Among College and University Students,” shows three hooded operatives standing before a burning building with an Israeli flag, with the message: “Target the Zionists with your sharp daggers, slit their necks and cut off their supports, and show them neither pity nor compassion…” 

A very real danger is emanating from these online platforms used by the terrorist groups cheerleading for the anti-Israel student protesters. Using the same platforms as many U.S. and Western students, these groups, some of which were involved in the October 7 attack as well as in terror attacks worldwide – are just a click away.  

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