Letter: Whether the cause is the slaughter of Palestinians, antisemitism or militarisation of police, protesting is the right thing to do

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Krystan Morrison joins fellow demonstrators outside the Huntsman Center in solidarity with Palestine after leaving commencement ceremonies when University of Utah President Taylor Randall began his opening remarks on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

Citing “antisemitism” and vandalism, many politicians and administrators of academic institutions are putting down protests against the war in Gaza. We have all had to witness police in riot gear restraining students and faculty in zip ties at many universities around the world, including the University of Utah, and taking them to jails in paddy wagons.

Is this political theater really a response to the protests against the war in the Middle East or is it actually the weaponization of “antisemitism” and the well-being of Jewish people? Or is it an attack on academic freedom and core values universities stand for? Universities have recently been widely challenged and blocked from teaching about slavery and climate change and conducting research on vaccinations and other pharmacological substances.

History validated the protests against the Vietnam War. Protesting the slaughter of Palestinians by Israel with weapons supplied by the United States is the right thing to do. Protesting against bigotry, especially antisemitism and Islamophobia is the right thing. Protesting the militarization of police is the right thing. Promoting debate and discussion and the search for truth and justice in universities is the right thing.

Carolyn Erickson, Salt Lake City

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