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Large crowd protests Binghamton University’s response to the war in Gaza

Over 100 students and organizers gathered in downtown Binghamton Tuesday, calling on Binghamton University to divest from Israeli institutions and companies that make military weapons.

The protestors also called for an academic boycott of Israeli universities and the formation of a Palestinian studies department. They say the university must do a better job protecting Arab students.

Mousa Tous, from Students for Justice in Palestine, said the university’s response has amounted to “inaction.”

“Our job here today, and every day for that matter, is to make sure that those who try to profiteer off of human suffering and mutilation and extermination, recognize the communities that they were meant to serve,” Tous said. “And recognize that we as a community are not going to let this go on any longer.”

They also demanded the university implement “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) policies on campus. BDS is a Palestinian-led boycott movement that calls for sanctions against Israel.

“The spineless nature of Binghamton University’s inaction has been cruel, vile and inhuman, but not surprising. After all, it is more convenient to stay silent than to speak when you know your words have an impact,” Tous said.

Groups organizing the protest included SUNY-BDS, Binghamton Solidarity for Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine, Veterans for Peace and Jewish Voices for Peace, among others.

The group marched across downtown Binghamton, chanting and waving flags. They hung a banner reading “Gaza must live” in front of Binghamton City Hall, which was removed by police shortly after.

“While the University encourages members of our community to speak freely, we will not tolerate racism, hatred or bigotry — nor will we tolerate attacks of any kind on individuals or groups, nor incitement to violence,” a spokesperson for Binghamton University wrote in a statement following the protest.

The university said its administration meets consistently with Jewish, Muslim and Palestinian student groups to “actively listen to and address these concerns.”

Tensions have risen on campuses since the start of the war in Gaza five months ago.

Last week, 24 Cornell University students and staff were arrested after staging a sit-in on campus.