WHAT? Threats Against Jews Disappear From Pro-Hamas Protest Coverage

The evening network newscasts are barely into their second weeknight covering the violent, pro-Hamas protests outside Columbia University and throughout college campuses across the nation, and there is already a discernible shift in their coverage. Direct threats against Jewish students have all but disappeared from coverage.

In place of the threats and violence, we get a lot more militancy across the dial. Case in point and most emblematic is this snippet to close out CBS’s coverage of the protests:

NANCY CHEN: From coast-to-coast, campus to campus, protests are growing louder in solidarity. Students are also joining in at UC Berkeley.

MALAK AFANEH: Quite frankly, I think it’s important that people start to align themselves with the Palestinian resistance.

CHEN: Here at Columbia University, the seventh day of protests. Demonstrators want the school to divest from all business that supports Israel.

STUDENT: I think it’s time to divest from those weapons manufacturing and re-divest(sic) them into other important things.

CHEN: They are also demanding amnesty for all students who have been punished. 

Is the goal to stay here until those demands are met?

STUDENT: Yes.

CHEN: And as you can see behind me, demonstrators both on and off campus are still demanding to be heard. Meanwhile, there are growing calls for the university’s president to resign.

ABC and NBC were not that much better. 

Somebody got to the media, plain and simple. Just yesterday, newscasts were reporting on the young girl that stood in front of a group of Jewish counter protesters while holding a sign that read “Al Qassam’s next targets”. Today, those very real, tangible, and unresolved threats hung in the air as each of the networks reported nearly exclusively from the protesters’ perspective.

It would appear, judging from the coverage, that the media is inching towards a left-consensus position from which to cover the protests- that is, as Pro-Hamas as possible. What Jews were featured tonight were there only to discuss unspecified “discomfort”- not narrate getting poked in the eye with a Palestinian flag or having “go back to Poland” yelled at them. And in ABC’s case, immediately had that concern followed up with by a Jewish protester’s perspective:

AIDEN HUNTER: I don’t mean to diminish that, but I’d say the majority of my friends, especially Jewish friends, feel a sense of insecurity at this time.

STEPHANIE RAMOS: But among the pro-Palestinian protesters here are also some Jewish-Americans, like professor Alex Wolf.

ALEX WOLF: Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing. And that is one thing to have beliefs — beliefs of the Jewish religion, and it’s another thing to support the policies and actions of the Israeli state.

NBC’s Erin McLaughlin went off on a weird tangent as she described “a new flashpoint between free speech and hate speech.” 

MCLAUGHLIN: The university said many of the protesters were not affiliated with the school, and that they’d witnessed disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing behavior, pointing to intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported. The days of protests following congressional testimony from Columbia’s president, creating a new flash point between free speech and hate speech. 

What does that even mean? There is only “speech”.

Far from protecting Jewish students by keeping their stories away from the gaze of the viewing public, this increasingly pro-Hamas coverage actually puts them at risk. 

Click “expand” to view the transcripts of the aforementioned reports as aired on their respective network evening newscasts on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024:

ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT:

DAVID MUIR: We turn now to the violent scenes breaking out at campus protests across this country over the war in Gaza. Dramatic images tonight. Mass protests at Columbia, NYU, M.I.T., Yale, the University of Minnesota, Berkeley, and several more campuses. At NYU, New York City’s mayor blaming outside agitators for tossing bottles and chairs at officers. At Cal Poly Humboldt in northern California, protestors clashing with police in riot gear trying to get them to leave. ABC’s Stephanie Ramos at Columbia tonight on the scenes playing out across this country.

STEPHANIE RAMOS: Tonight, these images show protests turning violent, as police struggle to control students at Cal Poly Humboldt. Demonstrations spreading from coast to coast. Protesters facing off with police in riot gear. Using furniture to barricade themselves inside this academic building, as officers with shields try to move in. One protester bashing police with an empty water jug. It comes after more than 150 students and faculty were arrested at NYU overnight, when police moved in to clear pro-Palestinian protesters who refused to move. The crowd then marching to Police headquarters. New York’s Mayor Eric Adams blaming outside agitators for a violent turn in campus protests. Pointing to this video he says shows bottles and chairs thrown at officers.

ERIC ADAMS: People who peacefully protest for an issue, they’re not throwing bottles and chairs. The chair dented the helmet. Can you imagine if he didn’t have the helmet on?

RAMOS: Today, NYU ramping up security with a new barricade. Protesters are now digging in. From Berkeley, to the University of Michigan, to Minneapolis, where police today took down tents and made arrests. Colleges struggling under a new wave of solidarity protests inspired by the movement at Columbia University. The encampment here at Columbia University is at the center of this campus. Demonstrators are studying and sleeping here, all while workers try to set all of this up for graduation just three weeks away. Protesters are demanding colleges divest from companies they say profit from ties to Israel.

MARYAM ALWAN: We’re not planning on packing up and going home. We are here because people in Palestine are going through so much worse.

RAMOS: Columbia offering virtual learning for the last week of classes, after some Jewish students said they felt unsafe on campus. Like Aiden Hunter, who tells us he understands why people are protesting.

AIDEN HUNTER: I don’t mean to diminish that, but I’d say the majority of my friends, especially Jewish friends, feel a sense of insecurity at this time.

RAMOS: But among the pro-Palestinian protesters here are also some Jewish-Americans, like professor Alex Wolf.

ALEX WOLF: Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing. And that is one thing to have beliefs — beliefs of the Jewish religion, and it’s another thing to support the policies and actions of the Israeli state.

RAMOS: Columbia University says they are still in talks with protesters, adding, “that work continues in good faith.” David.

MUIR: Stephanie Ramos again tonight. Steph, thank you.

CBS EVENING NEWS:

MAURICE DUBOIS: Now to those escalating clashes and threats of violence on college campuses. Protests are growing as more students across the country are staging demonstrations against Israel’s war in Gaza. CBS’s Nancy Chen tonight on what protesters are demanding.

PROTESTERS: We are not afraid of you!

NANCY CHEN: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators clashed with police at Cal Poly Humboldt in northern California, after a group of students used chairs and other furniture to barricade themselves inside one of the school’s main buildings. At NYU, NYPD officers in riot gear cleared out a pro-Palestinian encampment last night after students defied the university’s order to leave

PROTESTER: We want to see an acknowledgment from our university that there is a genocide happening.

NYPD: Leave now or you will be arrested for trespassing.

CHEN: 120 people were arrested.

PROTESTERS: Free Palestine! Free Palestine! 

STUDENT: If you’re going to host a protest, you should host it in a spot that is not so busy and dependent upon students’ classes.

CHEN: Today, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said students who protest peacefully are not the problem.

ERIC ADAMS: We can’t have outside agitators come in and be destructive to our city. There was- someone wanted something to happen at that protest at NYU that police officers didn’t respond to.

CHEN: From coast-to-coast, campus to campus, protests are growing louder in solidarity. Students are also joining in at UC Berkeley.

MALAK AFANEH: Quite frankly, I think it’s important that people start to align themselves with the Palestinian resistance.

CHEN: Here at Columbia University, the seventh day of protests. Demonstrators want the school to divest from all business that supports Israel.

STUDENT: I think it’s time to divest from those weapons manufacturing and re-divest(sic) them into other important things.

CHEN: They are also demanding amnesty for all students who have been punished. 

Is the goal to stay here until those demands are met?

STUDENT: Yes.

CHEN: And as you can see behind me, demonstrators both on and off campus are still demanding to be heard. Meanwhile, there are growing calls for the university’s president to resign. Maurice.

DUBOIS: And no real end in sight tonight. Nancy Chen at Columbia University in New York. Thank you.

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS:

LESTER HOLT: Tonight’s other top story, the growing number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations and people being arrested on America’s college campuses from coast-to-coast. And there’s concerns over antisemitic rhetoric. Erin McLaughlin now with late developments for us.

PROTESTERS: Shame on you, shame on you!

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN: Clashes and arrests from the streets of New York to the University of Minnesota to Cal Poly Humboldt. As more universities crack down on pro-Palestinian protests citing safety concerns and antisemitic rhetoric. Pro-Palestinian encampments now across more than a dozen campuses as students call for universities to divest from companies connected to Israel.

PROTESTER: We’re paying a lot of tuition to be here. We want to know where our money is going. We want to know where the investments are going as students.

MCLAUGHLIN: Overnight at New York University, police say 120 protesters were taken away in zip ties. 116 were released with summons for trespass, including assistant professor Zach Samalin. 

Did you have the opportunity to leave?

ZACH SAMALIN: I did have the opportunity to leave, yes. But what I did instead was I linked arms with my colleagues on the faculty of New York University in order to protect our students from the police.

MCLAUGHLIN: The university said many of the protesters were not affiliated with the school, and that they’d witnessed disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing behavior, pointing to intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported. The days of protests following congressional testimony from Columbia’s president, creating a new flash point between free speech and hate speech. 

Why do you believe they stopped this protest?

SAMALIN: NYU has been engaged in a campaign of repressing pro-Palestinian speech for six months, seven months. That is- I’m unequivocal about that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Students insisting the protest was peaceful. Today with the NYU business school barricaded…

PROTESTERS: The people! United! Will never be defeated!

CHEN: Students gather in nearby Washington Square Park.

STUDENT: It’s really frustrating because they say they’re for free speech and they say they’re for academic freedom.

MCLAUGHLIN: At nearby Columbia University, classes are being offered online the rest of the year. The pro-Palestinian encampment still standing following last week’s mass arrests.

HAGAR CHEMALI: It’s not safe.

MCLAUGHLIN: Associate professor Hagar Chemali says the university needs to do more for Jewish students to feel safe.

CHEMALI: It shouldn’t be that we have to shut down classes and go virtual and force us to stay home and encourage Jewish students to stay home because the protesters have created an unsafe environment. It should be the other way around.

MCLAUGHLIN: Meanwhile, U.S. House Republicans demanding Columbia’s president resign immediately for failing to crack down. 

HOLT: And Erin joining us live now from New York, where demonstrations are taking place. Erin, the House Speaker will visit nearby Columbia University tomorrow.

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s right, Lester. According to his office, House Speaker Mike Johnson will meet with Jewish students on the Columbia University campus tomorrow. He’s expected to hold a press conference after that. Lester. 

HOLT: Erin McLaughlin in New York, thank you.

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