The Crusader Newspaper Group

Reps. Davis, Jackson, and Pfleger proud of students’ anti-war actions

Representatives Danny Davis (D-7th) and Jonathan Jackson (D-1st) praised students who are calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East conflict, equating their actions to similar 1960s college student protests of the Vietnam War.

Jackson is calling for a national college debate on the continuing saga between Israel and the Palestinian people. Both Davis and Jackson see similarities between the 1960 college student resistance to the Vietnam War and the present nationwide student opposition to the Middle East conflict.

This time, the anti-war sentiments and demands for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have many more campus presidents on edge, with students nationwide digging in for the long haul at some of the most prestigious universities.

About 4 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, May 7, University of Chicago police dressed in riot gear removed the pro-Palestinian encampment tents at the University of Chicago four days after the University’s president, Dr. Paul Alivisatos, wrote a public letter saying the encampment “cannot continue.”

On Tuesday, May 7, Alivisatos wrote, “The University remains a place where dissenting voices have many avenues to express themselves, but we cannot enable an environment where the expression of some dominates and disrupts the healthy functioning of the community for the rest.”

On Sunday, May 5, Father Michael Pfleger said he is proud of the anti-war student protests, also likening it to the 1960s demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

“I am very proud of our college students,” Pfleger told his congregation, while admonishing those who infused peaceful protest with violence to do damage to property.

“Before we shut down the Dan Ryan, we shut down Lake Shore Drive,” he said, referring to his leading a protest on July 7, 2018 about rising gun violence and lack of action by elected officials. While some colleges are clearing students’ encampments, others on the nation’s campuses continue to protest the war in the Middle East.

When asked what can be done to end this war, Davis told the Chicago Crusader, “We can’t, but they (Israel and Hamas) can.

“It’s beyond our control. We can do things to try and influence the thinking of the leaders in that area, but they are the ones who have to change it.

“It is more than a governmental intervention. It’s what people think, what they feel and how they act and what will they do. It takes all of that to make it stop,” said Davis.

He thinks the students are trying to influence decisions politicians will make.

Saying the students have “good minds,” Davis believes they are trying to figure out what they can do.

“I am grateful to the students because they were the ones who “pushed the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King, C.T. Vivian and others. Students were very much the conscience of America,” said Davis.

“When things must change, it takes every avenue and every approach that can be generated. All of that combines to produce changes that can take place. It takes the bullet and the ballot” to make change, Davis said.

In an interview with the Chicago Crusader on Saturday, May 4, Jackson said the concept of having a two-state solution, that is an Israeli State and a Palestinian State, has been the answer to ending this conflict.

“Netanyahu has never fought for a two-state; so what is his solution?”

Jackson was referring to the concept of a separate Israeli state and a Palestinian state co-existing side by side in peace. That concept goes back to the 1947 UN Partition Plan backed by the international community, thought to be the solution where both states would share the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967 including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem where Palestinians live under military rule, came to a head on October 7, 2023.

That was when Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement, conducted a surprise attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, including about 35 U.S. citizens in Israel, according to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat.

On Saturday, May 4, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition held a panel discussion moderated by WVON’s Rufus Williams, whose topic was the “Price of Free Speech: Freedom is Never Free.”

Joining Williams were Rep. Jackson, University of Chicago student Taylor Pate, Reverend Cameron Barnes, National Youth Director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Attorney Kevin Fee, senior special litigation counsel for the ACLU of Illinois.

Representatives Davis and Jackson were among the first Congressmen to call for a ceasefire and are now supporting the student resistance to this Middle East conflict that is creating chaos on campuses across the nation.

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