Students, activists who oppose Israel's fight against Hamas vandalize University of Washington during sit-in

A student who had an Israeli flag ripped out of his hands and stolen said that he was told that campus police were too understaffed to respond.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Students and activists opposed to Israel's fight against Palestinian terror group Hamas staged a sit-in on Thursday during which they vandalized the interior of a building at the University of Washington. Students who were accosted by the mob claim they were told that campus police were too understaffed to respond.

At 6 pm, approximately 100 demonstrators made up of students and area activists from UW United Front for Palestinian Liberation and Students United for Palestinian Equality & Return UW (SUPER UW) marched through the campus chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and other antisemitic slurs.

As the activists gathered in front of the Husky Union Building (HUB), one non-Jewish student walked through the crowd with an Israeli flag chanting “Am Yisrael Chai” (The Nation of Israel lives) and “Bring them home,” a reference to the over 134 hostages, including 5 Americans, still held by Hamas.

In a video of the incident, the activists began booing the student when they saw the flag. A person approached him and orders him to leave. Another activist ripped the flag out of the student’s hand and ran away as the crowd cheered.

The student told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI that he called campus police but was told they were too understaffed to respond.

After projecting "Free Palestine" on the exterior of the HUB, the mob entered the building and some created a human chain to prevent removal. The activists remained in the building after it closed at 10 pm for an all-night sit-in and vandalized the building with antisemitic and anti-police graffiti.

They also vandalized the artwork of students hanging on the walls of the HUB.

UW students told Hoffman that the activists remained in the building until 6 am when campus police finally arrived. No arrests were made.

On Friday morning, sections of the building were closed as workers removed the graffiti and repaired walls.

A spokesman for the university told Hoffman in a statement, “The vandalism of the HUB is unacceptable, it is counterproductive and it is a crime. Time and money will now have to go toward cleaning up this vandalism instead of serving students. UW police are investigating and anyone found responsible will be held
accountable,” adding “Regarding the student group that organized this event, as with all incidents involving student organizations, the University will review the facts and make a determination on how to proceed. No determination has been made at this point.”

In December, activists targeted a Chanukah menorah lighting on campus and staged a sit-in of the administration building for over 9 hours. Some also vandalized the campus. At the time representatives of the school said they were weighing actions against the participants but ultimately decided not to press charges or pursue disciplinary hearings.
The spokesperson disputed the claim of the student whose flag was stolen that UWPD did not respond and claimed the department “prioritizes calls based on the reported details and threats to personal safety.”

When confronted with the student's timeline of events the spokesperson said that the school would “review the dispatch calls to hear what was said.” The Post Millennial has also filed a Public Disclosure Request for the recording of the call.

The spokesperson also claimed despite months of pro-Hamas rallies, vigils for terrorists, antisemitic graffiti, antisemitism being spewed by professors, and harassment of Jewish students that “The UW aims to provide a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, and staff to learn and do their academic work.”

UW President Ana Marie Cauce called the occupation and vandalism “a crime.”

Citing the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza but ignoring the Oct 7 attacks and ongoing rocket fire and terrorist attacks against Israel, Cauce said in a statement, “There is no excuse whatsoever for the vandalism and property destruction that took place in the Husky Union Building – our HUB – last night by demonstrators occupying the building. The damage was wide-ranging and included violent, threatening slogans and epithets on the office doors of UW student organizations and staff. It also included damage to many of the student artworks proudly on display." 

Cauce noted, "Student journalists covering the situation shared on social media experiences being harassed and threatened by some of the people, not all of whom were students, occupying the building,” referring to the university's left-leaning campus paper The Daily.

She added, “Such conduct not only damages buildings but is also criminal and counterproductive, doing nothing to attract people to the cause being represented. Rather than focusing our attention on the very real suffering in Gaza, it only creates conflict and divisiveness in our own community, which has already been so affected by increases in hateful incidents against Jewish, Muslim, and Black community members.”

“Free expression and the right to protest are values that we support and protect as an institution committed to free speech,” Cauce continued. “Threatening and harassing people, scrawling graffiti on walls, furniture, and carpets, and damaging student art is unacceptable and wrong. UW police are investigating, and any individuals or groups found responsible will be held accountable.”

“Time, effort, and money – which should be serving students – will instead be required to clean and repair the damage, and I am grateful for the staff from the HUB, Student Life, UW Facilities, and other units who are working to reopen the HUB as quickly as possible.”

“Our University community is better than this. I remain confident that the overwhelming majority of us will continue the brave and necessary work of engaging in reasoned, civil debate in service of a more peaceful and equitable world.” 
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