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Pro-Hamas Student Group Hijacks UN Ambassador’s Lecture with Hate Speech at George Washington University

An anti-Zionist student group at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC staged an unprecedented protest of a talk by US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday at the school’s Elliot School of International Affairs.

Zionist imperial puppet,” “imperial and blackface,” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” were among the chants yelled by members of the Student Coalition for Palestine (GWSCP) outside the building — a clamoring which could be heard throughout the Elliot School, GWU senior Sabrina Soffer told The Algemeiner on Friday. In addition to the demonstration, the group managed to access the roof of the building next door and drape a Palestinian flag across its front perimeter.

“They were explosively loud,” Soffer said during an interview. “You could hear them all around the building, where students were taking exams or trying to study. They clearly violated community standards on disturbances and discriminatory harassment, and they’re taking advantage of the university’s weakness in enforcing the rules.”

She continued, “Questions remain about how they managed to hang a flag over the building. That was an act that clearly took a lot of logistic coordination, and its strange that no one in security knew about it beforehand. As for the way they spoke about the ambassador, it’s absolutely disgusting.”

Thomas-Greenfield was at GWU to speak at an event held to encourage Black youth to pursue careers in foreign affairs. GWSCP protested her appearance because she has vetoed multiple UN Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel has been waging a military campaign against Hamas following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli civilians.

In pamphlets distributed to everyone who showed up to the event, the students accused Greenfield of being a “puppet,” alluding to the fact that she is a Black woman holding a distinguished presidential appointment. GWSCP seemed to suggest that the color of Greenfield’s skin excluded the possibility that she is an agent of her own destiny.

“For as long as we have been here, we have resisted these systems of oppression, but the United States of Amerikkka [sic] has always used Black bodies as puppets to carry out repression and dissent,” the pamphlet said. It also compared Greenfield to Black enslaved persons who had been assigned, against their will, to work as overseers of other enslaved persons on cotton plantations.

According to the GW Hatchet, Greenfield-Thomas address the demonstration during her remarks, saying that she commiserates with both Israelis and Palestinians affected by the conflict. Referencing the racial attacks hurled at her, she said, “I think once you’re in a position of power, you’re no longer a marginalized person.”

The paper added that after the event concluded, GWSCP encircled GW Dean of Student Affairs Colette Coleman outside the building. One member of the group began “clapping in her face” while others screamed that she should resign.

“The university is aware of the demonstration activity at and around GW’s Elliot School of International Affairs on Thursday, in protest of an appearance by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Some protestors demonstrated outside of the building on the public sidewalk, while others stood quietly inside the lobby,” GW spokesperson Josh Grossman told The Algemeiner on Friday. “The protest did not block the school’s entrance, nor did it disrupt the event itself, though the university is investigating reports that classes on lower floors of the building were disrupted due to amplified sound.”

Grossman added, “The university is investigating the flag incident, as well as reviewing the demonstration activity generally, and will take further action in accordance with university policies as warranted. GW is committed to peaceful assembly, provided it does not impede access to university buildings or the space itself, does not disrupt university activities, and doe not incite violence, or otherwise violate university policy. This is an important policy meant to protect free expression and an open environment for learning and inquiry in our community.”

GWSCP is a front group formed to circumvent the university’s suspension of its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, a punishment handed down after the group repeatedly violated school rules. In February, several of its members were charged with committing additional infractions, including community disturbance and disorderly conduct, after holding two unauthorized protests at the school’s Kogan Plaza.

Last semester, just weeks after Oct. 7, SJP projected a series of messages on the eastern perimeter of the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library. They said: “Free Palestine from the river to the sea,” “GW the blood of Palestinians is in your hands,” “Divest from Zionist genocide now,” and “Glory to our martyrs.” The scene attracted dozens of students, Jewish and Muslim, who spectated while the GWU Police Department and a campus official negotiated terms for an end to the demonstration.

Students told The Algemeiner at the scene of the incident that the act was laden with symbolism. Before her death in 2009, Estelle Gelman was a GWU board of trustees member and board member of the United States Holocaust Museum and other Jewish nonprofits. Her husband, Melvin, was an endowed chair in GWU’s Judaic Studies Program.