Anti-Israel organizers at George Washington University issue new demand as campus takeover reaches 13th day

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Anti-Israel agitators at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. are urging administrators not to call police to clear their encampment, which has remained on the campus for 13 days.

Protesters in GWU’s U-Yard have erected tents and displayed Palestinian flags at their encampment. They also defaced a statue of the campus’s namesake, former President George Washington, with Palestinian iconography, which includes slamming “Free Palestine” stickers onto the statue.

The raucous crowd are demanding that the university divest itself of all companies that trade with Israel, as well as reveal all the university’s investment information to students — and now, they do not want the university to call D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to clear the encampment.

“We are very disciplined and organized. We’ve instructed all of our participants not to engage with agitators. Not to engage with police,” student organizer Reem Lababdi told 7News. “We have a peaceful study. We have political education. We have religious services. There is absolutely no reason for MPD to get involved.”

GWU LAW PROFESSOR CALLS ON ANTI-ISRAEL STUDENTS TO LEAVE ‘MOMMY AND DADDY’ PAID DORM ROOMS, GO TO GAZA

An image of President Joe Biden with the words “Genocide Joe” was projected on an American flag at GWU Law School’s Lisner Hall during an encampment at University Yard at George Washington University on May 3, 2024, in Washington, D.C.   (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

The anti-Israel encampment has vowed not to disperse until their demands are met.

“They made it abundantly clear that, unless the school complies 100% with their demands, they will not be leaving,” Skyler Sieradzky, a senior at George Washington University, told Fox News.

Sieradzky said she participated in a counterprotest where she and others stood silently and held an Israeli flag. The anti-Israel protesters responded to their demonstration by harassing and spitting at her, she said.

University President Ellen Granberg said over the weekend that the ongoing encampment was unlawful.

George Washington statue

The statue of George Washington at the GWU was defaced with Palestinian flags, kefiyeh and stickers in a Gaza solidarity encampment now on its 13th day.  (ALLISON BAILEY/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

“I fully support and encourage our community to speak out and engage in controversial and critical dialogues on these crucial issues — as long as they occur within the limits of our university’s policies and the District’s laws,” she said in a letter shared online. “However, what is currently happening at GW is not a peaceful protest protected by the First Amendment or our university’s policies.”

She added: “The demonstration, like many around the country, has grown into what can only be classified as an illegal and potentially dangerous occupation of GW property.” 

Granberg said the university has asked for support from the MPD to provide security assistance on and around the campus.

Students at GWU

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser continues to refuse GWU’s request to clear the camp, citing the students’ right to peaceful protest.  (ALLISON BAILEY/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

People praying at GWU

Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability invited DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to testify to Congress. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Last week, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer, R-Ky, announced that his committee would hold a full committee hearing titled “Oversight of D.C.’s Response to Unlawful Activity and Antisemitism,” which will examine the university and city leaders’ response to the anti-Israel demonstration.

The committee has invited DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith to testify on how they responded to “the ongoing radical, antisemitic, and unlawful protests occurring at George Washington University and surrounding public lands.”

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“The House Oversight Committee is deeply concerned over reports indicating the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department rejected George Washington University’s request for help in removing the radical, antisemitic, and unlawful protestors occupying the campus and surrounding public lands,” Chairman Comer added. “MPD’s refusal to assist GWU in their efforts to protect the Jewish student body is disturbing and unacceptable.”

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8. It is expected to be held at 2154 Rayburn House Office Building at 1 p.m.

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