Anti-Israel Students Host DC Vigil For Hamas ‘Martyrs’

Anti-Israel Students Host DC Vigil For Hamas 'Martyrs'

WASHINGTON — George Washington University students held a “Vigil for the Martyrs of Palestine” on Tuesday evening where they mourned the Hamas terrorists killed attacking Israel.

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter gathered in Kogan Plaza as dusk fell on Washington, D.C., “for a vigil in honor of our martyrs.” Organizers encouraged the students to bring posters, flowers, flags, and a mask or keffiyeh (Palestinian headdress) to hide their faces.

Video footage captured by The Daily Signal team shows the leader of the group chanting various pro-Palestine and anti-Israel slogans into a megaphone, including “Zionism has got to go,” “Intifada! Intifada!” (Arabic for uprising or rebellion), and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will soon be free.”

As of February 2023, student Lance Lokas was the president of George Washington University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. Lokas was named in a federal civil rights complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights accusing the university of perpetuating anti-Palestinian racism.

His allegations against the university were related to a pro-Palestine protest that the university said “appeared targeted to members of our community based on their Jewish faith or their affiliation with Hillel” with signs and slogans such as “DECOLONIZE PALESTINE” and “SETTLERS F— OFF. STOP THE ANNEXATION OF PALESTINE.” 

“We were trying to disrupt the event to make clear that we don’t support war criminals and Israeli military leadership on our campus,” Lokas told Jewish Currents earlier this year.


Students attending Tuesday evening’s events largely covered their faces with medical face masks, apparently to obscure their identities. One young woman who attended the vigil with her hair and face covered told The Daily Signal that the masking would make it more difficult for authorities to track any attendees down.

George Washington University has not responded to requests for comment from The Daily Signal regarding the protest or a controversial statement put out by Students for Justice in Palestine.

“This past weekend, we witnessed them break free, tearing down the prison walls and making it known to the world: WE WILL BE CAGED NO LONGER,” said a statement from the student group aligning itself with Hamas. That statement praises the invasion as “history in the making” and “the beginning of a new era in our struggle.”

“GW Students for Justice in Palestine maintains unwavering support for our people’s resistance, in all its forms,” the statement said. “Every single act of resistance moves us closer to the liberation of our homeland. We will never capitulate to the colonizer or his sympathizers, and we stand firm and steadfast in support of our people’s right to resist. We call upon all our people and those in solidarity with us to join us in this struggle.”

Additionally, a toolkit released by the national Students for Justice in Palestine organization calls for the student movement to organize a national day of resistance on college campuses across the U.S. and Canada. The organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“We as Palestinian students in exile are PART of this movement, not in solidarity with this movement,” the toolkit messaging says in bold. “This is a moment of mobilization for all Palestinians. We must act as part of this movement. All of our efforts continue the work and resistance of Palestinians on the ground.”

At least six chapters of the student group have already announced such events for Oct. 12, according to the Anti-Defamation League: Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Butler University in Indiana, University of Louisville in Kentucky, University of Binghamton in New York, and the University of Virginia.

“We must continue to resist directly, through dismantling Zionism and wielding the political power that our organizations hold on our campuses and in our communities,” the toolkit says. “We are asking chapters to host demonstrations on campus/in their community in support of our resistance in Palestine and the national liberation struggle—one which they play a critical role in actualizing.”

If a protest is not possible, the national Students for Justice in Palestine encourages other forms of engagement, such as a sit-in, “disruption,” or “educational event.”

The Anti-Defamation League expressed concerns about such tactics: “Although these are all nonviolent tactics, they raise the real possibility of creating a hostile environment for Jewish students, and the confrontational spirit that permeates the toolkit raises the concern that these actions could lead to acts of harassment or vandalism targeting Jewish students and organizations.”

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.