Video shows pro-Israeli counter-protester shout 'kill the Jews' to provoke police intervention at Gaza campus protests

Video shows pro-Israeli counter-protester shout 'kill the Jews' to provoke police intervention at Gaza campus protests
The pro-Israeli counter-protesters yelling of 'Kill the Jews' led to the arrest of at least 100 student protesters at Boston's Northeastern University.
3 min read
30 April, 2024
100 student protesters were detained at Northeastern University, after falsely being accused of using antisemitic language [Getty/file photo]

Witness statements and video evidence shared online have shown a pro-Israel individual deliberately shouting antisemitic slogans in a bid to smear and provoke a Gaza solidarity encampment at Northeastern University in the US on Friday.

A video circulating online showed a pro-Israel counter-protester yelling "kill the Jews" before asking the pro-Palestine demonstrators if "anybody was on board".

The video, posted on X (formerly Twitter) by Working Mass, a Democratic Socialists of America media outlet covering Massachusetts, showed two students carrying the Israeli flag shouting the antisemitic chant after pro-Palestinian organisers could be heard conducting a mic-check.

"You just chanted for it," the pro-Israel counter-protester can be heard saying.

Confusion could be soon heard, before pro-Palestinian protesters started booing and shouting over them, in reaction to the sentence.

Tori Bedford, a reporter for GBH, also confirmed that "kill the Jews" was said by a counter-protester holding the Israeli flag.

The reporter said the man said it was "seemingly as a provocative joke in response to the group's pro-Palestine chants".

In a follow-up video also shared by Bedford, the instigator can also be heard accusing the protesters of being "funded by the Qatar government". 

The incident was used by Northeastern as part of their reason to clear the encampment in Centennial Common before police in riot gear arrested around 100 individuals on the premises.

In a statement on X, the university said that "the action was taken after some protesters resorted to virulent antisemitic slurs, including 'Kill the Jews'".

"What began as a student demonstration two days ago, was infiltrated by professional organizers with no affiliation to Northeastern. We cannot tolerate this kind of hate on our campus," the university added.

The Boston branch of the Jewish Voices for Peace organisation, as well as IfNotNowBoston, condemned the students' arrest in a statement on Saturday. 

"We denounce Northeastern University's discipline of student activists and Boston Police Department's arrest of peaceful protesters. We denounce false claims that protests were infiltrated by professional organizers who used virulent antisemitic slurs."

The two organisations said that the video "clearly" shows that the "Kill the Jews" sentence was yelled by a pro-Israel counter-protester.

Pro-Palestine demonstrations and encampments held in solidarity with devastated Gaza have intensified in recent days across US university campuses.

On April 18, the New York Police Department arrested over 100 students for trespassing after they formed an encampment at Columbia University, following a complaint from the institution's president Nemat Minouche Shafik which called for the NYPD to remove the students.

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Since then, similar protests against universities' ties to Israel and against the indiscriminate war on Gaza have spread to other universities, with hundreds more students and protesters arrested.

Israel has killed at least 34,488 Palestinians as of Monday since October 7, as the war is nearing the seventh-month mark.

NGOs and activists have decried the publicization and focus on isolated incidents deemed "antisemitic", as well as the clampdown on pro-Palestinian expression on US student campuses.