LTTE: UConn promotes genocide, not human rights 

Pro-Palestine demonstrators raise their fists during a protest at Columbia University, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York. Hamas militants launched an unprecedented surprise attack on Saturday killing hundreds of Israeli civilians, and kidnapping others. The Israeli military is pulverizing the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with airstrikes. Photo by Yuki Iwamura/The Daily Campus.

This week, over two million people in Gaza lack access to food, refrigeration, medicine and electricity because a settler-colonial occupier is trying to exterminate them. For Palestinians, the conflict you see on the news is a war for liberation and freedom. For Israel, it is the last push in a long history of attempted annihilation of Palestinians through genocide. 

The Gaza strip’s history as an open-air-prison — established by Israel to clear the surrounding territory for Israeli settlers — has been defined by a denial of basic necessities and right to freedom of movement. This Monday, Israel cut off all electricity and water to Gaza amid an unprecedented bombing campaign specifically targeting public infrastructure, residential buildings and hospitals. Even bombing the crossing it told Gazans to evacuate through, Israel is attempting to enclose two million civilians without the necessities of life. 

When Palestinians protest the occupation peacefully, hundreds of peaceful activists are killed by Israeli Defense Forces. Due to their alliance with the United States, Israeli crimes face no international accountability. The armed resistance we see unfolding this week is the only meaningful address Palestinians have left against the occupation. It is this reality we must relate to in the United States, the principal nation directly responsible for propping up the apartheid regime through billions of dollars in foreign aid, countless weapons and military support.  

In this context, within the core of Israel’s greatest allied nations, institutions like the University of Connecticut are critical to the occupation through providing technicians, educational partnerships and indirectly, weapons to the apartheid regime.  

Boasting “one of the largest undergraduate and graduate programs in human rights in the country,” the Dodd Center for Human Rights, alongside the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute, exists as UConn’s primary medium for international human rights work. Established to commemorate Thomas Dodd’s involvement in the Nuremberg trials, the Dodd name reminds students of the individuals who held leaders of the Nazi regime accountable for the war crimes committed during WWII.  

There lies an inexcusable dissonance between the university’s celebration of justice and the perpetuation of war.

UConn’s failure to condemn the crimes committed by the Israeli government, coupled with vicious investments and connections to the Israeli military, the United States Department of Defense and military-industrial companies such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky, gravely overshadow the work and mission of the Dodd Center. A human rights center within a university openly in support of Israeli apartheid — as denounced by the Dodd Center’s own partner Amnesty International — completely nullifies any supposed commitment to human rights among the administration or broader community.  

Supporting Palestine and severing ties to an apartheid state are not attacks on Judaism. The Israeli military and government have strayed far from any Judaic or Abrahamic values in their actions both this past week and since the 1948 Nakba. As Jewish members of the UConn community, it is appalling to witness our university support and uplift Israeli crimes. The decades of economic oppression of the Palestinian people and the recent strategic bombing of Palestinian hospitals, mosques, schools and evacuation checkpoints demand UConn uphold its commitment to human rights and retract its involvement from Israeli genocide. 

Meanwhile, without further notice, UConn maintains their relationship with Israel. Our Zionist university president delivers statements implying that Palestinian resistance is unprovoked and implying that the “outburst of extreme violence and human tragedy” has not been the norm for Palestinians over the past century under Israeli occupation. Unsurprising, coming from someone who publicly said “I was there, and there was no bombardment” in response to students asking about Israeli bombing of Palestine. 

We must organize to divest UConn from Israel. Until this time the university cannot be associated with human rights. UConn should be known as a supporter of genocide. 

Harrison Raskin and Owen Silverman are 2023 graduates of UConn Storrs.  


  1. The inexcusable dissonance between condemning UConn while still gladly accepting a degree from them is laughable. Instead of writing about your solidarity with terrorists, you should show it by refusing your degree and withdrawing from your position at the DC. You’d be doing the Daily Campus and the UConn community a favor.

  2. Terrorism is never a viable tactic, nor should it be defended. Not only is it immoral, but it also is a desperate and ineffective means toward social progress.

    While it is true that the 2018 Gaza border protests were repressed, this does not mean that nonviolent mass resistance is futile. When innocent protesters are killed, it puts much more pressure on Israeli authorities by the international community than retaliatory violence, let alone terrorism, ever will. The latter not only reduces sympathy for the Palestinian cause, but also emboldens ethno-nationalist and far-right extremists in Israeli domestic politics.

    Any honest effort to respect the moral sanctity of human life must hold equal the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. You acknowledge past, present, and potential threats to Palestinian life, yet write off the depraved murders of innocents, including women, children, and the elderly, as a legitimate form of resistance.

    The occupation and blockade are barriers to peace, yet so is Hamas. Assuming that history has teleologically been determined by Israel or even the United States is also wrong – this ignores the historic and present agency of Palestinians – an omission that is flawed and arguably ethnocentric.

  3. Just clarfying, by “armed resistance” you’re referring to the slaughter of civilians and including the beheading of babies? The truth is, while Palestinians live in difficult circumstances, they are also an existential threat to Isreal which has not desired their genocide. If you doubt that fact, consider that Hamas will use children as human shields (like many countries in the middle east), cyncially recognizing and using Israel’s reluctance to kill civilians. Can you imagine Israel using their children as human shields? No, and we know that if they did Hamas would shoot all of them down.

    • The beheading of babies claim has been debunked multiple times, and the Israeli government has continued to spread similar misinformation and propaganda that has lead to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs. They have been spreading misinformation on Twitter, and have been paying influencers to put out statements like “Pray for Israel”, while these influencers probably cannot point to Israel on a map and honestly don’t care about the situation. Ben Shapiro was exposed for posting an AI generated image saying “this is a dead Israeli baby”. This is the type of propaganda that was used in the past, and people are falling for it to this day.

      A 6-year old in Chicago was stabbed 26 times and killed by his landlord for being Palestinian and Muslim, even though has no connection to Hamas and is thousands of miles away from Gaza.

      Saying that Palestinians live in “difficult circumstances” is downplaying the horrors Palestinians have faced at the hands of the Israeli government. Cutting off water and electricity supply, forcing families to leave areas they’ve been living in for multiple generations, killing Palestinian journalists, and placing limits on movement through a web of military checkpoints, fences, and roadblocks are just some examples of how the Israeli government has been oppressing and terrorizing Palestinians for more than 75 years. Israel is backed by the US Government, who frankly, does not care about a “Jewish homeland” but are just in the Middle East for their own benefit, while Palestinians do not have a government or military. This is not a “war” or “conflict” this is an outright GENOCIDE happening right before our eyes while government leaders care too much about power, money and geopolitics to intervene and oppose the Israeli government.

      Calling Palestinians, who have lived there for generations before settler colonists from Brooklyn and Europe came and kicked them out their homes, an “existential threat” to Israel truly reveals your true colors, that you, like many other Zionists, see Palestinians as subhuman.

      Shame on you for not recognizing a cruel apartheid system and genocide.

      • Hamas calls for the murder of all Jews in Israel in its founding charter (it also blames every revolution, World War, and even the Holocaust on Jews) and deliberately planned a terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. They don’t care about Palestinian lives or peace. Shame on you for excusing a depraved terrorist group. You are excusing evil because you believe one wrong (occupation/blockade) makes another (senseless killing of civilians) right. Embarrassing and shameful.

      • The baby beheading is an example. Put it aside and assume you’re correct – my point was about Hamas targeting civilians in this attack and the author claiming that it was justified. Typical college nonsense.

        My POV: Should Palestinians have more land, rights, dignity, etc. -yes.

        Is this conflict now generations old itself and involving now well entrenched groups that both need to share land (ie Jews have a place there now too) – yes.

        Do people like the author view Palestinians as the harmless oppressed and excuse any behavior, including when they conduct war according to the rules of war, but hold Israel accountable to a different standard – absolutely.

        Do Palestinians continue to deliberately target and kill Israelis? Yes

        If you compare the two cultures, does Israel have the more tolerant, inclusive and free society by their own values – by a wide margin. Do college liberals believe the opposite because their white liberal guilt – you betcha.

        To your point, is cutting off water, etc genocide – it certainly looks bad and Israel needs to let the Red Cross in and get the water running. Could they kill everyone tommorrow if they wanted – yes but they don’t. Was what Hamas did “war” as we can infer you believe – no that was attempted geonocide in its realest and most direct form, and they don’t even try to hide it – they glorify and celebrate it and plaster it on TV. That’s the point about the difference in these groups that you college liberals don’t seem to get.

  4. Stop putting words into my mouth, I was never excusing Hamas or the attacks on October 7th. You obviously did not read my reply as you still choose to be ignorant. I did not even mention Hamas in my reply. Hamas was not even created until over 40 years after the Nakba and the creation of Israel where millions of Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and made refugees overnight. Hamas was created to oppose the cruel Israeli government, and defend the stateless Palestinian people without a real military or government. The attacks, however, were not unprovoked. The Israeli government has been terrorizing innocent Palestinians for decades and you are surprised that a resistance group has emerged? Show me a historical example of a group that has been occupied and oppressed, getting their freedom without resistance and fighting their oppressor. The Haitian Revolution, Algerian Revolution, and the American Revolution all involved oppressed peoples fighting against their oppressor, resulting in them liberating themselves. Stop pushing your racist, white supremacist, Zionist agenda under the guise of “peace” or the idea that “two wrongs don’t make a right”. For you, peace is Palestinians continuing to get oppressed, occupied and kicked off their land. Palestinians, however, have not experienced peace since 1948. The fact that you, and many other Zionists, resort to talking about Hamas instead of addressing the obvious villain here, Israel, just shows how ignorant and truly uneducated you are about the history of both countries.

    If Israelis stop fighting then there will be “peace” and if Palestinians stop fighting there will be no Palestinians.

    • Are you implying Palestine had peace before or during 1948? History does not start at convenient time points for your argument. I am obviously not as knowledgeable as you are in this topic, so would you please help me understand when Palestine had agency over itself as its own Nation? It certainly wasn’t under the Ottomans or the numerous Empires before them. Was it only after the British left and they had decided to start a war for the area and then lost? I condemn the Hamas terrorists. I also see the plight of Palestinians, but what in your mind should the solution be? There are wrongs on both sides throughout their history but I’ve never heard of consolation prizes after losing a war or in this case multiple. Countless countries have lost their wars, whether right or wrong, and have been dissolved, integrated, renamed etc. What makes Palestine different from all the rest?

      • Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together, in peace, in Palestine in 1948. No, there has never been a time where Palestine had agency over itself as a nation, and that is the unfortunate result of British imperialism after the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. From the beginning, Palestinians have been getting the short end of the stick. They were offered half of the land, but the worser, less fertile, less abundant half! Imagine someone comes into your house, and then kicks you out claiming that they were there first, even though they’ve been gone for centuries!! You expect them to be okay with that? Israel is a product of western imperialism, countries only ally with Israel for their own political gain. All the major imperial powers responsible for so many horrible things in the past, USA, France, UK, all are supporters of Israel and will not condemn their war crimes. Does this not tell you enough? Also, I find so many issues with the fact that everyone asks pro-Palestinian people if they “support terrorism” and that they must support Hamas, but they never ask Zionists if they condemn the Israeli government and the genocide they’re imposing.

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