Pro-Hamas activist stage sit in at University of Washington president's office during campus menorah lighting ceremony

The university had allegedly discouraged the Jewish Studies department from holding public events in the wake of the Oct 7 massacre because it might “provoke conflict on campus.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Pro-Hamas activists targeted the office of the president of the University of Washington in Seattle on Thursday, the first night of Hanukkah, in advance of the campus menorah lighting.

Approximately 50 members of the activist groups United Front for Palestinian Liberation and Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return (SUPER) entered the Gerberding Hall administration building and occupied the office of UW president Ana Marie Cauce, refusing to leave until the UW president agreed to their demands. They also vandalized the building. Those demands were to "materially divest from Israel, end the repression of pro-Palestinian students and faculty," and to "cue ties with Boeing."

About 100 more protested outside the building and called for the destruction of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians living in Israel in English and Arabic.

The groups claimed they were not targeting the campus menorah lighting but UW authorities moved the ceremony away from its original planned location. According to the university, "36 protesters were removed from the building and processed for investigation of criminal trespassing,“ and by 9:30 pm the building was cleared.

A spokesperson for the UW told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk RADIO 570 KVI, "The group indicated it would not leave the building until a list of demands were met. The group was told multiple times that if they stayed in the building beyond its closing time, they would be trespassed from the building. While we did not anticipate or have any reason to believe there would be conflicts between the two events, the decision was made to wait until the menorah lighting event was complete before removing the protesters from Gerberding Hall. The process of removing the protesters, one at a time, around 7 p.m. Each person was photographed, identified, and removed from the building, and that process was complete around 9:30 p.m."
"We coordinated with the menorah lighting event organizers to set up a very short distance away from where it was originally planned in order to ensure everyone’s safety, and we appreciate the collaboration with Rabbi Mendel Weingarten which helped the festive event take place without disruption."

None one was arrested. The spokesperson told Hoffman, "Each person was detained for investigation of criminal trespass, identified and photographed. Citations were not issued immediately and no one was taken to jail. There are also student conduct proceedings that may apply, and we’ll be following up on those." However, when asked, the spokesperson did not elaborate on what those proceedings were.

Earlier in the day, it was revealed that Brendan Goldman, the Interim Associate Director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the university, had written a letter to the administration alleging that they had discouraged the department from holding public events in the wake of the Oct 7 massacre based on the notion that this would “provoke conflict on campus.”


“I am writing to ask you to condemn and disassociate our university from the 'week of learning and reflection' on the Gaza War that would explicitly tie our faculties' scholarship to furthering a specific agenda of anti-Israel student activism. Even a cursory glance at the titles of the presentations makes clear this is a political rally masquerading (poorly) as a pedagogical endeavour," the associate director said.

“If you subscribe to the premise that academic institutions are supposed to teach people how (not what) to think, then these events are antithetical to everything a university is meant to represent," the associate director continued.

“Before the attacks of October 7, I was proud to serve as the acting Associate Director of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies after two years spent at UW as the Hazel D. Cole Postdoctoral Fellow. In the aftermath of 10/7, top UW administrators discouraged Jewish Studies from holding public events based on the notion that this would provoke conflict on campus. Stroum Center leadership refrained accordingly, acting in good faith as a partner to the administration. Yet the school had no problem with Hamas rallies on campus including vigils for terrorists."

“Even as academic programs whose members have no expertise on the region did (e.g., Ethnic Studies and the Counselling Office(!)) issued statements describing Israel and its supporters in the crassest terms, we said nothing. We instead turned to assisting our students and providing them safe spaces. We did so because we believe that the role of the university is not indoctrination; it's education.”

“This situation is not sustainable. Swastikas have been scrawled on campus boards. Violent graffiti appears again and again in our public spaces. I believe it is time for your administration to articulate a robust defense of dispassionate academic analysis and uphold the university as a place that accepts and fosters diverse perspectives. It is time to condemn on-campus antisemitism and put together a task force to address it. If you can not do that, I and others will no longer be able to associate with this institution in good conscience.”

The building housing the department has been vandalized with pro-Hamas graffiti as has other parts of campus, including Husky Stadium.

Though the school allegedly told the Jewish Studies department to refrain from public events, it has continued to allow pro-Hamas rallies on campus which have included vigils for terrorists.

Campus Police, the Seattle Police Department, and FBI agents were reportedly on-site during Thursday’s rally.

In stark contrast, students participating in the menorah lighting sang and danced while enjoying potato latkes with the university’s mascot Harry the Husky.

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Its time for any of these activists, if they're not American citizens, to be thrown out of the country. How dare they threaten others with their hateful Islamism! This is America, leave your hate at the border!

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