A student publication in Amherst College defends Hamas

"The Contra", the student publication that published the op-ed, is meant to be a platform for students with controversial opinions who wish to start a conversation around topics of their choice.

 Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in an anti-Israel rally over tensions in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in an anti-Israel rally over tensions in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

An anonymous student publication named The Amherst Contra in the liberal arts college Amherst College published an op-ed titled "In Defense of Hamas."

In the op-ed, the anonymous writer falsely described Hamas's stance towards Israel as "one of coexistence with Israel." The op-ed also called the IDF a "terrorist organization" and compared the State of Israel to historical practices of apartheid in South Africa decades earlier. 

The Contra - the student publication that published the op-ed, is meant to be a platform for students with controversial opinions who wish to start a conversation around topics of their choice.

The purpose of the publication is to combat what its founder Ross Kilpatrick called a feeling that "everyone at Amherst agrees on almost everything."

The new publication's future remains to be seen, as many students on the Amherst College campus expressed their concern regarding it, according to The Amherst Student newspaper.

 Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. (credit: DADEROT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS) Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. (credit: DADEROT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

College campus anti-Zionism

College antisemitism and anti-Zionism in the US have been on the rise lately, with some student groups calling for boycotts of Israelis and Zionists.

The Stop Antisemitism non-profit group recently released a report ranking 25 US colleges based on the environment and the level of hostility to Jewish students on campus. In the report, the organization claimed that antisemitic discrimination is being perceived as less serious than other types of discrimination against marginalized groups.

In the University of California Berkeley’s School of Law, some student groups have tried to pass a resolution banning Zionists to speak at the school, claiming it is for “the safety and welfare of Palestinian students on campus.” The attempted ban was unsuccessful, and the University of California Berkeley’s School of Law does not currently ban Zionists to speak on campus.