The Contagion of University Pro-Hamas Protests. Something Must Be Done, and Soon.

The Contagion of University Pro-Hamas Protests


This piece was originally published on Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Substack, Restoration.

The situation unfolding across college campuses in the United States is a complicated one, and bears reflection. I do not propose anything definitive, but I wanted to share a few thoughts.

A Very Brief History of the University:

The first question we must ask is “What are universities even for?” It is not an easy one. They began as institutions to train clerics in theology and philosophy, and evolved gradually into places for training gentleman scholars. Oxford and Cambridge in the 19th century did not live up to the model St. John Henry Newman describes in The Idea of a University, but they did a much better job than we do today. Over time, led by the Germans, universities became multiversities, where scholars ceased to attempt to build a comprehensive view of the world, instead locking themselves in siloed sub-fields.

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Now we are witnessing the completion of the university’s unraveling. We hardly even produce professionals now, but activists who take a few Zoom classes on racialized communism and spend the rest of their time scrolling TikTok and indulging resentment. Middle managers may not be philosophers, but at least they do something useful. A degree in Queer Theory prepares you for no life beyond perpetual adolescent whining. The professors of the 60’s gave up the classics to focus on changing the world. Well, they succeeded. Moral formation has been replaced by sweet, glorious self-pity and the narcissistic pursuit of utopia. Beauty is something to be deconstructed by art and architecture students in ever-uglier buildings. And truth? In their minds, there is no such thing. Only power remains. How terrible it must be to see the whole of existence through culturally Marxist eyes! Terrible, but, at least, cognitively undemanding.

The radical cultural Marxists weakened universities and, by extension, society. They also made it easier for radical Islam to infiltrate universities, filling the moral vacuum the radicals created with their hazy relativism. This unholy combination of radicals and Islamists then preyed on the impressionable elite students entrusted to the universities. Long story short: We have future graduates of Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and beyond bleating Pro-Hamas slogans spoon-fed to them by hardened extremists. Students who fancy themselves freedom fighters shouting “Intifada and martyrdom.” In their obnoxious gullibility they fail to see what those slogans would mean if applied to their young lives. If you’re wondering, look at what happened to the Israeli students at the Nova festival on October 7th. So ignorant and out of touch are these Ivy League scholars that they do not know that the kids dancing at that ill-fated festival were young, liberal peaceniks.


What Can We Do?

In the immediate short term, public order must be restored. The local police forces were emasculated in 2020 by smears and calls to defund them. It is, therefore, a matter for the Feds. The inciters and organizers of these insurrectionist Pro-Hamas brownshirts must be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Condemnations are not enough. Prison.

In the medium term, there are no easy answers. It’s a mistake to think that these radical university students – aided and abetted by many of their own professors and administrators – are only targeting Jews. If it were not Israel, it would be something else. We must rebuild from the ground up.

But in the meantime, we can try to teach the students that there are consequences for actions. It’s not enough, but it will help the “protestors” learn and it will shield brave (but outnumbered) Jews from their worst excesses.


We need every single one of these corrupt institutions to undergo a thorough financial audit. How much Islamist funding have the Qataris laundered into our schools? Islamists are adept at doing a lot of subversion very efficiently. Look out for my upcoming article on dawa for more on that.

Sniffing around for money can be very effective. While I have no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party still engages in large-scale intellectual property theft in American universities, we at least managed to shut down their most naked infiltration: Confucius Institutes. Those were seeded across American universities under the guise of teaching Mandarin. Once we started paying attention to the way they furthered coercive Chinese encroachment, the government threatened to pull funding from universities harboring them. Now they are almost all gone.

Student radicals want to add new “Palestinian Studies” degrees at Berkeley and many other universities. This is a ridiculous idea, but it points in reverse to what we should be doing: Investigating the cultural studies departments already in place. You can bet that’s where a lot of the money that irrigates campus Islamism trickles in.

Financial audits are a good start, but we also need a curriculum audit. When I was a student in the Netherlands a couple decades ago, I was expected to work. Not on self-expression, or my trauma, or whatever else – but on difficult, important texts. Yes, young people should be able to have fun, but most only get four years to really focus on education. Most of that time ought to be spent on the eternal wellsprings that made the West great: The Bible, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Shakespeare, Descartes, Locke, Smith, Mill, Rousseau, Darwin, Tolstoy, and so on. Universities like Columbia receive a lot of federal money. Is it really the taxpayer’s responsibility to help young people waste their own time learning how to hate their own culture from unqualified Marxists and Islamists hired on the basis of their ideological purity and skin color? We should take our lead from Chris Rufo, who doesn’t just pick fights, but wins them. Rufo has gotten multiple states to completely shut down their DEI programs, and is in the process of restoring sanity to a number of universities across the country. Rufo has a Marxist background, which might explain why he seems so adept at action, rather than the constant hand-wringing I see among many conservatives.

Taxing Endowments?

Columbia – to take just one example – is a sickly dragon curled atop a $13,640,000,000 hoard. And compared to Harvard or Princeton, it’s not even rich. The proceeds of these colossal endowments are not taxed. Why not? Well, the old reason was that these institutions were fundamentally charitable institutions. Does anyone seriously think that Columbia provides a public service anymore? Does the United States owe anything to an institution devoted to destroying the American way of life? Columbia does not publish what it spends on cancerous DEI initiatives or Hamas propaganda, but some public universities do. The University of Michigan spends a staggering $85 million a year on DEI. About $1700 per student. Almost half, of course, goes towards paying an army of administrators, many of which make over $200k. Why, again, is it the taxpayer’s job to hand fat paychecks to people who hate our country? Of course, these universities and their employees ought to be free to think and to say what they like. But we ought to be free not to pay them for it.

Cleaning House:

If I had a child at Columbia, I would be tempted to sue the university. They charge eye-watering sums (necessary, no doubt, to pay for thousands of bureaucrats) to indoctrinate our best and brightest. Now they have canceled in-person classes for the rest of the year because they are too feeble to protect their Jewish students. If they cannot do their jobs, why should students pay them $66,139 a year? The university needs to give it back.

After they return tuition, they need to focus on finding presidents and boards who can restore order. Columbia’s Minouche Shafik comes across as incompetent. I hear growing speculation that she is a diversity hire. Surely, for an estimated $5 million a year, Columbia can find someone who can do her job properly.

None of these proposals are ironclad. As I said, a lot more reflection is necessary. But, as I reflect, I would love to hear from university students who may read this. I would love to talk to you about your typical week. What goes on in the madhouse? Contact me at and let me know!