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USC bullied further by anti-Israel activists, now cancelling entire graduation ceremony

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The University of Southern California (USC) is cancelling the entire graduation ceremony for the class of 2024 after it received backlash from pro-Palestinian activists over an earlier decision not to allow valedictorian Asna Tabassum to deliver a speech at the ceremony.

“We understand that this is disappointing; however, we are adding many new activities and celebrations to make this commencement academically meaningful, memorable, and uniquely USC, including places to gather with family, friends, faculty, and staff, the celebratory releasing of the doves, and performances by the Trojan Marching Band,” the university said in a statement announcing the decision to cancel the university-wide May 10 graduation, which was expected to draw some 65,000 people.

However, 23 satellite graduation ceremonies at USC’s schools and colleges will proceed as planned. The university said it will require tickets for “all commencement events taking place on May 8–11” and direct “all campus access through specific points of entry.”

Tabassum’s Instagram profile featured a link to a pro-Palestinian website that said, “Zionism is a racist settler-colonialist ideology,” and, “One Palestinian state would mean Palestinian liberation and the complete abolishment of the state of Israel” so that “both Arabs and Jews can live together.”

National Review reports that Provost Andrew T. Guzman said in a campus-wide letter on April 15 that the university had learned of threats of an “alarming tenor” after Tabassum was announced as the valedictorian and named a scheduled speaker. The threats “escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement.”

Tabassum has defended her views, claiming she does not support antisemitism and instead claimed the school is targeting her as a hijab-wearing Muslim woman.

National Review details that many other elite institutions around the country have faced on-campus protests by pro-Palestinian students over the Israel–Hamas War. Student protesters formed an encampment at USC to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and divestment from weapons manufacturers with ties to Israel. The protest led to dozens of arrests.

NYPD officers arrested 108 anti-Israel protesters on Columbia University’s campus last week after the university’s president asked law enforcement to step in and break up the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

Columbia University Apartheid Divest organized the encampment and asked students to gather around the lawn to block police from entering. The group led chants calling for an “intifada revolution” and for Hamas to “kill another soldier now.”

As police carried out arrests last week, a crowd of some 500 students looked on and shouted at officers. Officials said the students likened police to the Ku Klux Klan and told officers to go kill themselves.

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Leader of the radical pro-Palestine group Manolo De Los Santos arrested in New York

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The head of a radical organization in favor of the Cuban regime and that also openly supports the Hamas terrorist group in New York, was arrested Tuesday after the NYPD evicted an anti-Israel camp at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan.

A video posted by The People’s Forum (TPF) on X, formerly Twitter, depicts Manolo De Los Santos, executive director of TPF, an anti-Israel organization that sympathizes with the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested by several NYPD officers wearing riot helmets near the institute’s campus on West 27th Street.

On April 29, more than 100 masked activists met in Manhattan at the office of the TPF, an organization backed by American businessman Neville Roy Singham, a self-proclaimed socialist known for financially supporting left-wing causes, to plan their next moves, while protests Anti-Israel protests reach a fever pitch across the country, reports ADN America.

Manolo De Los Santos urged the group to “give Joe Biden a hot summer” and “make it unsustainable for politics as usual in this country.” Likewise, he asked to recreate “the summer of 2020,” in reference to the violence that besieged major cities in the United States months after the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

A few hours after the meeting was called, dozens of protesters illegally broke into Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall and gained entry through a glass-paneled door that one of those involved broke with a hammer.

Police arrived at the scene after being called by Columbia President Minouche Shafik. In total, 44 people were arrested, including two university staff members and 13 “outsiders” who were not affiliated with the school, Columbia confirmed in a news release Thursday.

The People’s Forum, an organization that describes itself as “a movement incubator for working class and marginalized communities,” has been a mainstay of anti-Israel protests since Hamas’ attack on the Jewish state on October 7, 2023.

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