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Yale students hold hunger strike over Gaza war

Group of Yale students hold hunger strike over Gaza war
2 min read
Washington, DC
14 April, 2024
A group of around a dozen Yale students launched a hunger strike on Saturday in protest of Israel's war in Gaza and their university's weapons investments.
A group of graduate students at Yale are leading a hunger strike against the university's weapons investments [Getty]

A group of around a dozen Yale students launched a hunger strike on Saturday in protest of Israel's war in Gaza and their university's weapons investments.

The hunger strike, which came about after months of pro-Palestinian student activists making multiple demands for the university to take steps to oppose Israel's indiscriminate military assault on the Gaza Strip, is being led by the group Graduate Students for Palestine. The Yale students said the strike is being done in coordination with students at Dartmouth, Brown, McGill and other universities.

"We've really exhausted our modes of communication with [Yale President Peter] Salovey. We've held walk-outs, rallies, protests, reading groups and other events. We've disrupted the Yale versus Dartmouth game," a Yale graduate student taking part in the hunger strike told The New Arab on condition of anonymity.

Also speaking anonymously, a Yale faculty member supporting the student hunger strikers echoed the sentiment, telling TNA, "The last thing they have left is their own bodies and well-being."

The students and their supporters emphasised that the health risks they are taking do not compare with the experience of Palestinians in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 33,700, and led to mass internal displacement.

There are growing reports of malnutrition, dehydration and preventable illnesses due to the breakdown of the enclave's healthcare system. Multiple human rights groups have described Israel's actions in Gaza as genocide.

The group of students had threatened to go on strike earlier this month if the university did not divest from its investments in weapons manufacturers.


According to a report by The Yale about the hunger strike, "While Yale adopted a policy in 2018 which forbade the University from investing in weapons retailers, the Yale Corporation has not divested from weapons manufacturers."

The New Arab contacted Yale University for clarification on its weapons investment policy, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

This is not the first time members of the Yale community have gone on hunger strike. In 2017, a group of graduate students led a four-week hunger strike over labour negotiations. At the time, the university president expressed concern for the students' health and well-being.

"Everyone has committed to doing this voluntarily," the anonymous graduate student said. "We'll have care and medical teams nearby."