I wonder how many students at colleges and universities across the country called home in recent days and asked their mothers to look in their clothing drawers for their keffiyeh and requested that she FedEx it to them so that they could wear them at the protest soon to be held on campus. I also wonder how many of them also asked that their brand-new, never-before-used, Palestinian flags also be sent. On the same note, I wonder how many individual orders for a particular tent were placed with Amazon at the same time.

I suspect that you and I both think the answer to these questions is “none.” So at least we don’t have to worry that any of that forgiven student debt went to pay for those items. Nonetheless, they were bought and paid for by someone or some organization or entity. All of which means that there is some nationwide co-ordination or conspiracy to disrupt the usual activity on college campuses at this time.

On some of these campuses Jewish students have reported acts of harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence directed against them. Many have said that they are afraid to go about their normal activity on campus.

These campus protests and demonstrations come on the heels of other pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 10, 2023, that “A pro-Palestinian rally at New York City’s Times Square drew crowds on Sunday afternoon who expressed support for the Hamas attack on Israel.” And that “Pro-Palestinian groups have scheduled demonstrations for Sunday in several other U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

On Nov. 11, 2023, CNN reported that “Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters snarled Manhattan traffic and curtailed people’s access to Grand Central Terminal as they demonstrated in New York City on Friday night, in part demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.”

On Dec. 28, 2023 the New York Post reported that “Thousands of anti-Israel protesters swarmed Manhattan on Thursday — with one group shutting down the front entrance to the World Trade Center’s Oculus and another organizing a funeral procession for children who were killed in Gaza.” The article further stated that “About 1,000 joined the ‘Flood NYC for Palestine’ emergency march as it overwhelmed several landmark Lower Manhattan sites, including City Hall, Zuccotti Park of Occupy Wall Street movement fame and the Bank of New York Mellon headquarters.” Also, “‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ the ralliers chanted for the destruction of Israel.”

In view of all of this, one might ask: where is the US Department of Justice and the FBI? Aren’t they concerned that all of this might be a form of domestic terrorism that calls for federal law enforcement intervention?

In the fall of 2021 a national organization wrote President Biden a letter alleging that threatening and aggressive acts against its members might be a form of domestic terrorism, and asked for federal law enforcement intervention. In response, on October 4, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a memorandum directing the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to meet with federal, state, and local law enforcement leaders to discuss strategies for addressing this disturbing trend. 

In his memo, the Attorney General alleged that in “recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against members of this group. Accordingly, he asserted that “The Department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.” He concluded his memo by saying “The Department is steadfast in its commitment to protect all people in the United States from violence, threats of violence, and other forms of intimidation and harassment.”

Do you recall who these people were that were alleged to be engaging in a form of domestic terrorism that required federal intervention? They were parents of school children who were speaking out at school board meetings. These were parents who were concerned about age-inappropriate materials in their children’s school or political indoctrination by teachers. Does that even remotely suggest the existence of a nationwide conspiracy of domestic terrorists? Can you imagine the chilling effect on free speech of such a directive to federal law enforcement officials?

As of this writing I have not heard of any similar directive from the US Attorney General regarding the massive nationwide protests on college campuses. So I ask you, who presents a greater danger of domestic terrorism: parents of school children or those we are seeing disrupting college campus activities? 

Our current Department of Justice apparently views parents as the greater threat. Think about that.

Howard Lurie is Emeritus Professor of Law, Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova University

17 thoughts on “Howard Lurie: When is a terrorist not a terrorist?”

  1. So Howard Lurie has created an article typical of the MAGA culture. Which includes sarcasm, conspiracy theories, and fake outrage.
    The sarcasm was as expected, pretending that college students asked their parents to send them their keffiyeh and Palestinian flags that were in their bedroom at home.

    Then of course there was the fake moral outrage about protests with the usual demands of Federal investigations and the implied fantasy that someone should go in a crack some skulls to break things up.

    My personal favorite was the shadowy, yet unnamed, organization that must be behind all of this because many of the protestors have similar tents. As if it was absolutely impossible for these students to share the link for the them they bought on Amazon. Or that these protests were not organized locally and information was shared with other groups. Its always easier to believe that there is some vast conspiracy as to why these things happen. I have no doubt the British Monarchy and government felt the same way about the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. Along the way claiming that the Boston Tea Party happened because of outside agitators.

    Yes American Jews have been and continued to be harassed and threatened. Not only by protestors, also by Donald Trump who stated that American Jews were disloyal if they did not vote Republican. However the universities have lost many of their large donors, the most recent being Robert Kraft withdrawing his financial support from UPenn. They are also facing investigations and fines from the Federal government and lawsuits from Jewish students.

    These protestors are the tip of the iceberg. The people I am truly concerned about are those who have been outed by @stopanitsemitism. I am much more concerned about Donald Trump who stated that American Jews were disloyal if they did not vote Republican. Or his refusal to disavow groups the KKK and the Proud Boys.

  2. I do not believe that Howard Laurie’s outrage at the goings on at the college campuses that have been hijacked by those who sincerely desire the destruction of the State of Israel and extermination of Jews there and elsewhere anymore is faked than mine is. While I have pledged to never give another dime to Penn, my alma mater, Bob Kraft is refusing to donate further to his alma mater which is Columbia – not Penn – and Bill Ackman is doing the same at Harvard.

  3. Its very simple. Follow the money and it will lead you to Soros and China, both sworn enemies of USA that want to destroy our country from within. All the blabbering of white nationalists and Trump is a red herring, and Judah knows it. The democrats, the justice departments and the Universities are beholden to Soros Open Society and China’s fentanyl money created by our open border, which Trump tried to stop. These ‘students’ are paid, trained and orchestrated activist actors, the same mob that the democrats allowed to burn and vandalize cities under the guise of BLM and Occupy Wall Street. This isn’t conspiracy theory. It’s all documented.

    1. And there we have it George Soros. Tell me why a Jewish Holocaust survivor would be supporting the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews world wide?

      1. You’re going to have to ask George that. Seems illogical, but there is plenty of records you can peruse regarding the money he has spent and on what.
        Here’s what Israel had to say: Civil right organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have described critics of Soros as being driven by far-right, anti-Semitic ideologies. However, the state of Israel seems to have pushed back against this notion in 2017 when the Hungarian government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban ran a billboard campaign featuring statements such as “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh.” The move was in response to Soros’s advocacy of increasing refugee resettlement within the European Union. Israel’s ambassador to Hungary initially denounced the campaign, saying that it “evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear.” Hours later, the Israeli foreign ministry clarified that “In no way was the statement meant to de-legitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”
        I guess George, an admitted Atheist, doesn’t care about Jews.

        1. Regarding Jan. 6th: It depends on who you believe and what you read. I’d say zealous patriots enraged by the indifference of the courts, malfeasance at democratic voting centers, outside interest targeted PAC money, inconsistent and illegal election rules, mail-in votes, etc. You could also say government entities, insufficient safeguards, purposeful lack of protection, media, etc.
          Who would you say orchestrated it?

          1. Trump, his staff, and high level supporters like Ginny Roberts. Trump filed 61 lawsuits all of which were rejected because they lacked any actual evidence, including by Trump appointed judges. It was U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr who stated that the 2020 election was the most secure election ever. Many of the states had automatic recounts and then there was the Arizona recount by Cyber Ninjas that found 300 more votes for Biden. It was Trump who allowed the rally to be organized, propagated the lie of election fraud, chose to speak before the crowd encouraging them to march on the capital, refused to call in the National Guard, and waited over 6 hours before telling the mob to go home.

        2. So you offer no proof that Soros is any of what you have claimed other than “Google it”.

          Viktor Orban is nothing more than a dictator who needed a boogeyman to blame for his oppressive laws and punishment of anyone who disagrees with him.

          As far as the quote regarding Viktor Orban, that’s die to policy and diplomacy. Not reality.

          Soros is an atheist?? According to who? All I could find were the usual collection of nebulous sources that like to portray George Soros as a man of evil. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Soros has been used as the boogeyman for decades. Including claims that he was a Nazi, served in the German army, and controls the world due to his vast resources. All of which have been debunked.

          Lets face it, the world has changed and instead adapting to that change you cling to the past through conspiracy theories that you offer no actual proof of. If George Soros were involved in world domination that would require a vast amount of people to help him along with a document trail. That by now would have been leaked by a disgruntled participant.

          1. Is that your version of “Nanny nanny poo poo”? Victor is a bad boy? Why? Because you don’t agree with him?
            Here’s a source on Soros. InfluenceWatch. Next you’ll come back and question the source as right wing. Not so – look at the people. Look at the references. No proof? Who has their fingers in their ears now?
            You asked me who was responsible for organizing the J6 rally. I answered your question. It isn’t up to Trump to disallow any rally.
            You state that the election was the most secure ever. There’s proof now that it wasn’t. Some studies show that 255,000 Biden votes should not have counted. All this takes time to sort out.
            The Army and the D.C. National Guard were coordinating with the federal Capitol Police contact. USCP Chief Sund told the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight that besides intelligence failures, the U.S. National Guard had also been instructed not to assist Capitol Police out of concern for political “optics.” Sund also told the panel that he was stymied in efforts to have National Guard troops assist U.S. Capitol police. He’d asked the sergeant at arms of each chamber of Congress on Jan. 3 for permission to call in the National Guard, but was denied in deference to the “optics” of having National Guard troops at the Capitol, he said. This was reported in Sept. 2023. That has Pelosi’s name all over it.

        3. As far as January 6th and the National Guard goes. The only people authorized to call out the National guard who the authority to activate the D.C. National Guard has been delegated, by the President, to the Secretary of Defense and further delegated to the Secretary of the Army. Not Nancy Pelosi. This per the District of Columbia National Guard Website, found in the “about us” section.

          ” Some studies show that 255,000 Biden votes should not have counted” Which studies would those be?
          “You state that the election was the most secure ever. There’s proof now that it wasn’t. ” – Which studies would those be?

  4. .You are exactly correct, all they do is any and every organization that oppose organizations that are not aligned with their beliefs
    As far as George Soros conspiracy theorists have latched onto the fact that he speaks Esperanto, which all good conspiracy theorists believe is an attempt to create a One World Government. Mr. Soros also speaks English, which is used an an international language for; Aviation, Business, Finance & Banking, Hospitality & Tourism, Energy. So while we, the One World Government distracted you with Esperanto, we have secretly made English the true language of the One World Government. Personally I that everything is stated in the true language of communication, Klingon, which is much easier to understand. targhlIj yab tIn law’ no’lI’ Hoch yabDu’ tIn puS!

    And contrary to the claims that the ADL thinks that George Soros is a right wing antisemite, here is what the ADL thinks of George Soros:
    “The Antisemitism Lurking Behind George Soros Conspiracy Theories” – 2018
    “Soros Conspiracy Theories and The Protests: A Gateway to Antisemitism” – 2020

    1. Ut-oh, now you’re a trekkie speaking Klingon. OK then! Mic drop. I rest my case.
      You’ve proven yourself to be a TDS infected Hamas sympathizer anti-semite who is on George Soros’s payroll.
      255,000 votes – Washington Times. Read and weep.
      81 million votes. Yeah – right.

      1. So when faced with actual facts about George Soros you claim that I am a TDS, Hamas supporter??
        I have yet to see any proof that there is some shadowy entity behind them. I am more concerned when Trump stated that American Jews are disloyal if they don’t vote Republican. That is antisemitism.

        I noticed you were very silent on who can call out the Washington, DC National Guard.

        As for being a Trekkie, Star Trek has inspired more people to get involved in the aerospace industry. Isaac Asimov’s book, “I, Robot”, not the movie, should be mandatory reading for anyone who works with AI.

        1. I’ve given you plenty of facts, testimony and proof regarding the National Guard and Soros. You just choose to ignore and dismiss it. There’s a river in Egypt named after you. What are your facts regarding Soros? His favorite color? Every local DA that has been funded by Soros, including our own disaster Krasner, has been soft on crime. He pumps money into open border non-profits (Alainza, etc.) and several that circumvent established government’s laws and traditions. Here are the facts of what he spent and what they support. https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwiotqPs4JSGAxUPSf8BHdVaC0oYABAAGgJtZA&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqLaj7OCUhgMVD0n_AR3VWgtKEAMYASAAEgK_evD_BwE&ohost=www.google.com&cid=CAASJeRoSk7rngM-rnVH7dlzeZ_G_XVSSHx6d9kSVNSJIwcYkgXE6RQ&sig=AOD64_3Nb6ypr95gVC6eA8cRrcZO_epLhw&q&adurl&ved=2ahUKEwiChJ7s4JSGAxXQjYkEHeLyBKkQ0Qx6BAgDEAE By all means – refute and ignore away. Need more? Left leaning Politico: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://www.politico.com/news/2024/05/05/pro-palestinian-protests-columbia-university-funding-donors-00156135&ved=2ahUKEwjL6ILd4pSGAxVnpIkEHWRuDBIQFnoECDAQAQ&usg=AOvVaw34AwXMbVfd85j11u8eq2qF
          Regarding your weak salute to trekkies everywhere, I’d argue that war and transportation have spurred more inspiration regarding aerospace than Mr. Spock, and way earlier than Star Trek. Right now I’m giving you the Vulcan Salute – just slightly modified. Earlier in one of your weak responses you mentioned that the world has changed and I should adapt. If open borders, runaway debt, biological men in women’s sports and locker rooms, failing schools, crime, loss of constitutional rights, politically weaponized government, identity politics are the changes you think we should accept, you’re pushing a losing agenda. America will not live long and prosper with that agenda, but that’s the plan, right?

  5. Frank, FedUp, and Judah:
    Why do you believe anything you read or see in the digital world?
    Go outside and bask in the sunshine.
    Life, be in it. Press on!

    1. Michael, There are two constants in life; time & the truth. And the first usually results in the second.
      I spend plenty of time outdoors. Just make sure you wear your sunscreen.

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