“A failure to stop this new McCarthyism would be to surrender to the forces of reaction that tragically are carrying the day.”

by Dylan Saba, n+1

On October 8, the morning after Hamas launched an attack from the Gaza strip that killed 1,400 Israelis, Ha’aretz—Israel’s paper of record—published an editorial laying blame for the massacre squarely on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government. “The disaster that befell Israel,” the editorial board wrote, “is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu.” Netanyahu “completely failed to identify the dangers he was consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation and dispossession” and “embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians.” It was a damning and powerful indictment.

Two days later, Ryna Workman, the student body president of NYU Law School, sent out a newsletter to classmates as Israel’s retaliatory assault on the Gaza Strip was well underway. Expanding on the Ha’aretz editorial board’s language, Workman wrote that “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.” Workman also affirmed their solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle against oppression.

Palestinian protesters at the Save Sheikh Jarrah rally for a Free Palestine, urging the UK government to take immediate action and stop allowing Israel to act with impunity.

Almost immediately, they faced a torrent of backlash in the form of online disparagement and right-wing media attention. In response to pressure, the dean of the law school publicly condemned Workman’s remarks. By the evening, the law firm Winston & Strawn, where Workman had planned to work after graduating, publicly withdrew their job offer without so much as a phone call. The university then unilaterally removed Workman from their position as student body president without any disciplinary process, and threatened further charges—all for daring to speak out.

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