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The flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was flown at the encampment on April 30. Credit: Derek Wong

More than one week into the encampment on College Green, with over 150 incidents of antisemitism and harassment reported to Penn Hillel, the public endorsement of two United States-designated terrorist organizations, and two American flags planted near the encampment being forcibly removed and damaged by protesters, students have had enough. It is time to end this antisemitic and anti-American encampment now. 

On April 26, pro-Israeli and Jewish students sponsored a screening of the Oct. 7 massacre adjacent to the Button on campus, broadcasting the screen in the direction of the encampment. Standing just outside the encampment when the video was playing, I heard three protesters clapping and cheering as a video of an Israeli woman getting raped and paraded in the streets of Gaza was displayed. The night before, I spotted a protester wearing a sweater with a Star of David and two rats depicted on the back, which imitates Nazi-style propaganda from the 1930s. 

The following night, protesters were recorded cheering “Al Qassem make us proud, take another soldier down.” Al Qassem is the military wing of Hamas, the group behind the Oct. 7 rape, mass murder, and abduction of Israeli civilians that has contributed to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians since it took control of Gaza in 2007

Last Tuesday, I walked near the encampment and saw a large PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) flag flying, which is a U.S.-designated terror organization. PFLP has been behind numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians, including the hijacking in 1976 that diverted a flight leaving Israel to Entebbe, Uganda, and the raid of a Jerusalem synagogue, killing four in 2014. PFLP also opposes all negotiations with Israel and only envisions a Middle East without a Jewish state.

Even worse, Penn’s anonymous social media app, Sidechat, has been filled with an increasing number of pro-Palestinian supporters at Penn speaking out against the encampment, citing the diversion of the encampment from the values of the protest. Instead of protesting for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the end of the war, the encampment has turned this movement into an antisemitic cesspool, where students cannot walk on campus with Judaica items without being harassed by protesters. Even worse, not all members are students. When I attempted to look inside the encampment several days ago, I was approached by two protesters acting as “guards.” They did not name themselves, but they both acknowledged that they were not students, just Philadelphia residents with no association to Penn. Why should people outside of the Penn community have the ability to use Penn property to sleep and harass Jewish students? Why are non-Penn affiliates determining who is and who is not allowed on parts of our campus?

On April 29, pro-Palestinian protesters stormed Hamilton Hall at Columbia University, shattering the front windows and taking one security guard hostage. NYPD then forcefully removed the protesters, facing instant backlash. With Columbia's administration being hesitant to clear up the protest, students were able to easily obtain access to the building and vandalize it. As the protests at Penn are continuing to radicalize, the administration must follow through on their promise to clear the encampment before it is too late. Penn could be next. 

Supporting the encampment and the groups they endorse is preventing any meaningful action and dialogue from occurring at Penn. Instead of speaking to diverse groups of students about their experiences with the conflict, the encampment is choosing to invite individuals outside of the Penn community to come to Penn and harass Jewish students. Instead of inviting leaders of the Jewish community to speak with students on the other side to discuss issues and common ground, the Chabad rabbi is being denied entry into the encampment because he is visibly Jewish. Instead of making Jewish students willing to talk to pro-Palestinian protesters about points of common ground, Jewish students are being harassed with Nazi-era rhetoric and praising of terrorist organizations that want to annihilate Jews from this planet.

If we want real action and dialogue to occur on this campus, continuing to support an encampment that has turned into an antisemitic hatefest continuing to harass Jewish students is not the answer. There is room for dialogue, there is room for peaceful protest, and there is room for change. There is a difference between a peaceful protest to endorse a cause, and cheering for terrorist groups that actively call for the elimination of Jewish students. Harassing Jewish students is not the best method to get community members to support your cause. Enough is enough.

BEN MESSAFI is a College first year studying economics and political science from Westchester, N.Y. His email is