by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Hours after Hamas launched its Oct. 7 terrorist assault on the Jewish state, a Brown University student group called an “emergency meeting” to plot its public response. The group’s members during that meeting argued that Hamas’s attack was “justified violence” and “in fact a victory,” according to internal documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Ivy League school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter throughout its Oct. 8 meeting defended Hamas’s terror attack and subsequent kidnapping and killing of Israeli women and children. At one point, meeting minutes show, members discussed the importance of “recognizing that this was in fact a victory” and “a big moment for Palestine.” Members also argued that their group should not be “condemning violence” or taking on a “tone of mourning” in response to the attack, which they said was “justified” by Israeli “oppression.”
“In reality the root of the violence comes from the side of the oppressor,” group members wrote in their meeting minutes. “Recognizing that this was in fact a victory, a statement that dismisse[s] violence kind of dismisses the resistance. … Tone of mourning maybe inappropriate?”
The group’s private deliberations provide a window into the anti-Semitic demonstrations that have exploded on Ivy League campuses since Oct. 7. While the Brown Students for Justice in Palestine chapter eventually released an Oct. 11 statement that blamed the attack on Israel’s “settler colonial regime of apartheid” and expressed “solidarity with Palestinian resistance,” that statement omitted much of the extreme rhetoric expressed during the group’s “emergency meeting.”
At one point, for example, the group’s members argued that Hamas did not slaughter innocent Israelis, citing the “difference between an ‘innocent’ civilian and a settler.” Hamas’s attack did not target West Bank settlements. Members went on to argue that their group “as a foundational principle” should never condemn “Palestinian resistance,” even as they acknowledged that Hamas in its attack killed children.